Mobile-game sidekick apps have become a standard element of tentpole movie releases. And while such games can generate a nice chunk of change in their own right, a prime directive for studios is getting butts into theater seats.
For “Ice Age: Collision Course,” 20th Century Fox cut a licensing deal with game developer Zynga to produce a match-3 game (a la “Candy Crush”) featuring the zany critters from the fifth installment of the animated franchise. The game, “Ice Age: Arctic Blast,” was released over the past week for iOS and Android devices, a month ahead of the film’s July 22 theatrical debut.
Fox inked a pact with Regal Entertainment Group to let players purchase movie tickets through the game, and during the first two weeks of the film’s U.S. release the game trailer for “Ice Age: Arctic Blast” will run in the lobbies of 572 Regal theaters in the U.S. In addition, a game download call-to-action will be included with every “Ice Age: Collision Course” movie ticket. Ticketing through the app also will be available at partner theaters in the U.K., Germany, Brazil, France and Mexico.
“Our key goal with Zynga was to produce a fun and exciting game that immerses players into the world of Ice Age and its wonderful characters,” said Rick Phillips, executive VP of Fox Digital Entertainment. “Whether you’re a longtime Ice Age fan or a newcomer just learning about Scrat, Sid, Manny and the rest of the herd, Ice Age is one of the top animated movie franchises of all time.”
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The game features two movie scenes from “Ice Age: Collision Course” that will be exclusively available to players for 72 hours, marking a first for both Zynga and Fox Digital. “Arctic Blast” features original voices and sounds from the upcoming movie including voiceovers by stars John Leguizamo, Simon Pegg and Josh Peck. Zynga and Fox plan to add new content from Ice Age to the game on a weekly basis.
“Ice Age: Arctic Blast” features new characters such as Brooke (voiced by Jessie J) and Shangri Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), unique power-ups, and offers new worlds to explore across six chapters and more than 100 levels at launch. Fan-favorite environs such as Dino World and the Dodo camp are included as well, and it’s the first game that incorporates content from all films in the Ice Age franchise dating back to the 2002 original. The app is free to download from Apple iTunes and Google Play and offers in-app purchases for additional content and premium currency.
The game’s social tie-ins include integration with Facebook, which lets players connect with friends and send them lives, power-ups and other gifts to help buddies complete their quests. In addition, players will be able to journey outside of the match-3 progression map to embark on mini-adventures in Ice Age’s Geotopia and Sprawling Valley.
Zynga developed the app with game studio Eat Sleep Play, whose work includes video-game series “Twisted Metal.” “Ice Age: Arctic Blast” is available in 16 languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Turkish, Japanese, Russian and Korean, which Phillips says reflects Ice Age’s global fan following.