Alex Lambeek, chief commercial officer at Rovio, reveals how the Angry Birds movie will incorporate a digital experience, as well as what the film will do for the brand.

Rovio’s Alex Lambeek on long-term movie plans, Piggies potential and new IP

How important is the Angry Birds movie in the grand scheme of things for Rovio?

We have always been about our fans. Since 2009 with the first Angry Birds game, the guys who created the game have been about making cool stuff. ToonsTV was also all about the fans. It was never a moneymaking thing.

These birds, up until soon, have never said a word. With the film, they start talking; they start having feet and wings. So, the emotional connection between our fans and us is going to go to a whole new level; from the small screen to the big screen and from an in-game experience to experiencing a whole world. That’s what the movie does for us. And of course, there will be new opportunities after the movie in terms of what we can do with this IP. It will be incredible.

The film is an evolution. It doesn’t mean that the look from Angry Birds 2 will go away. It will stay, but on top of that we’ll have the movie one.

Is Rovio’s venture into movie making a long-term strategy?

It’s very much part of a long term plan. We call ourselves an entertainment company with games at our heart. In future, it’ll be much more broad entertainment with more media components, be it games, movies or TV animation.

How have licensing partners reacted to the movie?

Only a select few have seen the movie but you really don’t need a PowerPoint presentation after you’ve seen parts of the movie. Seeing believing.

The trailer gives you a feeling for it and everyone that has seen parts of the movie are sold on it.

The LEGO Movie came out and did incredibly well. As a result, we now have a vast slate of toy-based movies on the horizon. Video games have experienced a chequered past with movie adaptations, but could Angry Birds kick-start a wave of mobile game movies?

Possibly. LEGO was very successful but we’re not LEGO.

Through our games and through ToonsTV, we already have a direct relationship with hundreds of millions of our fans. We’re a digital company, we have those relationships and we know what they want. Many other properties don’t have this.

We’re working with some great digital partners on leveraging the movie experience and the digital experience. For example, if you go and see the movie, in the theatre there’ll be a code on the screen. When a smart phone registers the code, there’ll be a digital experience there for you. We’re also able to offer those kinds of digital experiences to retailers and to licensees. They’re all getting on the bandwagon with digital value-add and digital connection. That’s something we can offer through our different touch points, whether it’s through ToonsTV, games or physical products.

You’ve teamed with Shakira for the new Love Rocks game and brand. How did that partnership come about?

She’s a big Angry Birds fan and her husband, Barcelona player Pique, is as well. We started a discussion together and were brainstorming ideas, and she loved where it went.

Is this the start of more new IP coming from Rovio?

Angry Birds remains the focus, as well as spin-offs. Watch the Pigs. I can’t tell you too much but they’ll be featuring much more heavily in years to come.

90 per cent of what we focus is Angry Birds but we’re trying new IP all the time, whether it’s Shakira or Nibblers, a game we launched a few months ago. We’ll expand them into licensing when the time is right.

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