Sony to release 'Angry Birds' film in 2016

Sony has won the global distribution rights to an animated film based on the hit game "Angry Birds," to be released in 2016, the entertainment giant announced Wednesday.

The film is being produced and financed by Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio, which has said the movie could result in it establishing an animation studio rivalling global giant Walt Disney.

Sony Pictures Entertainment beat several major studios to win exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the 3D movie, it said announcing a deal with Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment.

"Despicable Me" producer John Cohen and "Iron Man" executive producer David Maisel will work on the movie, scheduled for release on July 1, 2016, they said in a statement.

"Sony impressed us with their great attitude, determination, and professionalism," said Hed. "They convinced us that we have found the right partners and team to help us market and distribute our first motion picture."

"Angry Birds," which started in 2009 as a mobile game, has become one of the world's biggest entertainment franchises. It involves using slingshots to launch little birds at fortresses built by green pigs.

Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton and chairman Amy Pascal said in a joint statement: "Every studio in town would love to add 'Angry Birds' to their slate.

"There are few titles out there that bring this kind of excitement, brand awareness and built-in audience to the table.

"We're thrilled to be distributing this film and we hope this is just the beginning of what will be a long relationship with Rovio as we look for ways to work on future projects together."

In December Hed told AFP that the "Angry Birds" movie could lead to Rovio setting up a movie studio that would compete with California-based Walt Disney Animation Studios.

"If this goes very well, that is what is going to happen. Certainly we are structuring this in a way so that it's possible for us to continue to produce more movies after this one," he said.

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