Architect behind Marvel film division eyes similar strategy at Rovio
producer credit on the “Iron Man” pics, “Hulk,” “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Maisel saw the opportunity in growing “Angry Birds” given the worldwide popularity of the game across a wide demographic. “People are interacting with these characters six inches from them each time they play, and that creates an emotional connection,” Maisel said. “This is not an American thing. It’s not even a Finnish thing. It’s a global thing that’s something I’ve never seen before. It will be exciting to expand (this intellectual property) within Hollywood.” The games themselves would be used to market the film when ready for release, giving Rovio “the ability to speak directly to its fanbase,” Maisel said. Rovio has already been making moves to step up its expansion plans for the property, buying Finnish animation studio Kombo last month and raising $42 million in financing last March from Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures (formed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom). Kombo will start working on a series of short films starring the “Angry Birds” characters that will eventually lead to the feature film. “We’re building a media company and have always been interested in moving further into the entertainment space,” Hed said. “But we are taking it one step at a time so that we can use our strength to build an important entertainment presence from outside of the major studios.” That strategy doesn’t exclude working with the studios, however: The company is eventually looking to partner with a major to distribute films. Hed compared Maisel with George Lucas. They are “two people I know that have gone outside the studio system and built a very significant entertainment business that managed to break through on the movie side. Since that’s our aspiration as well — and George Lucas was unavailable — David was really the best person we could have hoped to work with.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!