Fox buys spot for 3D toon, 'Angry Birds' app

Twentieth Century Fox has bought a last-minute spot during the Super Bowl to promote “Rio” that includes an embedded code for the 3D toon’s tie-in with Rovio’s hit cellphone game “Angry Birds.”

The 30-second ad will air during the fourth quarter of the NFL championship game on Sunday. Most film spots air within the first three quarters of the Super Bowl or in the pre-game show.

The ad buy is surprising considering Fox, which is broadcasting the championship match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, had reportedly sold out of its Super Bowl inventory in October. Twentieth Century Fox purchased its “Rio” spot last week, the studio said.

Network is charging between $2.8 million and $3 million per ad in the game, up from the $2.5 million-$2.8 million per spot CBS charged in 2009.

The code within the “Rio” spot — a first for a Super Bowl ad — will direct viewers to a special level in “Angry Birds,” which will offer gamers the chance to enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to the “Rio” premiere March 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Date is the same day that Fox and Rovio will release their “Angry Birds Rio” game to promote the pic that flies into theaters April 15, and was produced by Blue Sky Studios (behind the “Ice Age” franchise).

The studio had planned to sit out the Super Bowl again this year, along with Warner Bros., as they have over the past several years (Variety, Jan. 19).

Last year, the majors bought ads for eight films that ran during the pre-game show in the Super Bowl and post-game show. In 2009, they promoted eight films. The “Rio” ad gives Hollywood 14 films this year, a record.

The “Rio” Super Bowl spot will unspool on YouTube after the game.

(Rachel Abrams contributed to this report).

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