And it will be happy because — yes, there will be an Angry Birds: The Movie!. Okay, you will have to wait three and a half years for those chicks to hatch (yuk, yuk – can you tell I used to write press releases?) but in the summer of 2016 one of the most downloaded games in the history of that stuff will be released at a multiplex near you.
Here’s part of the just circulated announcement of that already anticipated film:
December 11th, 2012 — Santa Monica, California — On the third anniversary of the release of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment announced that Despicable Me producer John Cohen has signed on as producer of the upcoming Angry Birds movie. David Maisel, former Chairman of Marvel Studios and executive producer of Iron Man, will be executive producer of the feature film, coming to theaters in summer 2016. The film will be produced and financed by Rovio Entertainment. John Cohen most recently produced Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me in 2010 and executive produced Illumination/Universal’s Hop in 2011. Prior to Illumination, Cohen was VP of Production at Twentieth Century Fox Animation. He worked closely with Blue Sky Studios on films including Ice Age, Robots, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. Cohen had the idea to reimagine Alvin and the Chipmunks and developed the 2007 film.
Now — here is what I created a year and a half ago for my students. This wholly fictional creation was in order for them to do an outlandishly fake movie marketing exercise:
March 28, 2011 – Los Angeles, California
As you all know, Pendleton Productions has purchased the rights to Angry Birds and has set up “Angry Birds: The Movie” as our first animated/live action tent pole film with Pixar Studios. It will, of course, be directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles). We have cast Angelina Jolie, Paul Rudd, Andrew Garfield, Willow Smith and Kim Kardashian as our birds. Our pigs will be played by Zack Galifinakis, Hugh Jackman and Jack Black. In the time remaining, we’d like you to develop a detailed marketing plan to launch our film. Actually, it’s more than a film. It’s an event. Or will be if we decide to hire you because that will be your responsibility. The marketing plan should reach across all media and be as creative and out-of-the-box as possible while still staying within the realm of reality. Whose reality? That’s up to you. But it should include publicity and promotion plans for the launch, advertising ideas, tie-ins, merchandising, product placement and any other means of creating public attention (but not backlash). It should also take into account platforms in film, television, music, new media and all social media. Because we want to reach, well – EVERYONE!!
What can I say? That this is when you know you’ve been in the entertainment industry too long? Or not long enough because you’re still surprised by it?
Bottom line — There is NOitem, idea or concept that cannot become a movie - especially if it’s one that has proved uber-successful in another medium. In fact, it’s preferable that the item, idea or concept has already done well somewhere else. Because that means there is something called “brand recognition,” which ups the elusive financial “X” factor that will ensure your movie blockbuster status. I mean, look at the box-office receipts of Aeon Flux, The Dukes of Hazzard, Tekken, Battlefield Earth, The Mod Squad, The Honeymooners, Super Mario Bros. and Bewitched alone and you can see I’m correct, right? Okay, perhaps those are bad examples. Well, they’re at least bad somethings.
Note: Please do not write in with either the box-office grosses or reviews of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (especially since two friends of mine wrote that one), Mortal Kombat, The Brady Bunch Movie or The Prince of Persia because I’m not interested in anything that disproves the cynical yet obvious point I’m trying to make.
It was not always thus so. I mean, can you imagine The Seventh Seal in this kind of climate? But conversely, there could perhaps be The Seventh Seal video game or phone app if that Bergman film were a post millennium release and one were trying to tweak the bounds of taste just a tad.
What to do? In keeping with the holiday spirit, we’d like to make a modest proposal of some titles that Hollywood could perhaps consider for future Christmas time seasonal announcements of films in the future.
1. Swiffer: The Film – It’s the animated adventure of a lonely mop who finds itself jettisoned back in time to a Mad Men-like 1950s reality where being disposable is seen as a negative and lack of proper refills ensure its extinction. How will Swiffer cope and stay alive? Can it adjust to going from top dog prince to Eisenhower-era pauper? Stay tuned.
2 The Adventures of Abed and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With at a Party - Popular post-modern man-child Abed from the soon to be defunct NBC cult hit Community goes on the road with Cecily Strong’s soon-to-be breakout character from the new 2012 season of Saturday Night Live. Together they travel the terminally unhip worlds of America they inadvertently make hip because of their own unintentionally po-mo hipness factor.
3. The Church of Stefon – SNL’s Stefon (because SNL always suffers from film spinoff overkill) flies solo and crash lands into red state America where he helps a group of down-on-their luck fundamentalist pastors rebuild a Church that was destroyed by the first super Tsunami-tornado ever recorded on U.S. soil. While the preachers blame the emergence of the LGBT community for the aberrant weather, Stefon teaches them through determination and humor that God’s creatures all only have one religion — Clubbing.
4. Game of De-Thrones – What happens when Mitt Romney, Hilliary Clinton, Michael Dukakis and Sarah Palin look-a-likes team up to topple their more famous counterparts? Do they take their place in the hierarchy of American political leaders who almost were and institute their plan to once again run in national elections, backed by a shadow rogue group of disgraced Wall Street bankers, in order to recreate the once greatest world power of the U.S. in their own unique vision? Stay tuned.
5. The Pet Rock Musical – Desperate for a Broadway hit, a group of both young and has-been producers team up to create an original musical embracing the beauty of played out sociological trends with hopes that it will be just bad enough to capture the public fancy. Featuring tributes to not only the pet rock but to Cabbage Patch Dolls, Game Boys, Beanie Babies, Nehru Suits, Furby (wait, is that back?), Zhu Zhu Pets, Razor Scooters and the 8-Ball.
6. Super Nerds and Real Housewives – A new romantic comedy featuring three couples from the various cities of Bravo’s Real Housewives fame who find themselves in Silicon Valley married to everything from well-meaning bores to abusively damaging computer nerds. In the end one couple divorces, one stays together and a third takes in a third partner. Not yet determined if addition to third couple will be male or female or some combination of both.
7. Pandora’s Box – A store clerk’s Pandora account will only play songs loved by his ex-girlfriend, prompting the young man to go on a journey to find the woman (whose name is also, coincidentally, Pandora) and stop her from marrying a phony entrepreneur (who is only using her for her name) before it’s too late. Starring Michael Cera (obviously).
8. Twit Her – The super-villainess Twit Her must hack into the accounts of the 10 people with the most Twitter followers, who were discovered to have been abusing the system and illegally creating an unauthorized list of unwilling fans. Her mission: reduce their followers to zero and have the real taste makers finally assume their rightful place in the echelon of who and what is important.
9. Instagram and Other Unworldly Events – Pictures from a man’s past, present and future lives begin coming alive in the room at the worst possible moments, threatening to ruin his life. He must hunt down the reclusive real creator of Instagram to dismantle the service before he himself is eventually reduced to merely a series of endless, three-dimensional photos in time.
10. A Honey Boo-Boo Christmas – Low-budget, independent film where the rural family travels to California looking for The Beverly Hillbillies and instead run into Lindsay Lohan and take her under their wings to teach her the true meaning of holiday spirit without money. Lindsay Lohan has, in fact, just been signed to play herself. (I’d watch this).
I’m not sure what the marketing campaigns will be on any one of these films. However, I do know that 18 months ago my students came up with this kind of fun stuff for the then fictional Angry Birds movie.
a. A real life Angry Birds game with some of the stars of the film (Jack Black was specifically cited in this one).
b. A real life board game (which might actually already exist) in American landmarks like Times Square and St. Louis’ Gateway Arch.
c. ABC partners to do an Angry Birds version of Wipeout.
4. A master guerilla marketing guru who out text messages to a bunches of people in a given room saying things like “Knocking out pigs and pass it on”
5. A cirque du soleil type show at premiere.
Stay tuned to see if any of our predictions or strategies come true.
In the meantime, Have fun, be safe and go see a movie. In a movie theatre, that is.