The Angry Birds Movie just made $150 million and gave Rovio a vital lifeline in the process

Wilhelm Rovio
Wilhelm Taht, executive vice president of Rovio Games. Rovio

“The Angry Birds Movie” has just given ailing Finnish gaming startup Rovio a vital lifeline.

Rovio, traditionally a mobile gaming company, has had a tough time over the last couple of years, cutting 213 employees last October and losing its CEO last December. In 2014, Rovio’s revenue dropped 9%, and its operating profit fell a catastrophic 74% as a result of declining interest in its products. Financials for 2015 are yet to be released.

Rovio, founded in Espoo, Finland, in 2003, has struggled to capitalise on the success of “Angry Birds” since it launched in 2009. None of the other games in its portfolio have come close to the “Angry Birds” franchise in terms of download numbers or revenue, leading critics to believe the company may be little more than a one-hit-wonder.

But this weekend, Rovio Animation knocked “Captain America: Civil War” off the top of the US movie charts, taking $150 million (£103 million) in the process, according to The Guardian.

The movie only cost around $73 million (£50 million) to make — so Rovio has already made a healthy profit on it, and proceeds will likely go up in coming weeks and months.

Rovio, headquartered in Rovio, created the film to help diversify its revenue streams.

Wilhelm Taht, executive vice president of Rovio Games, told Business Insider in January 2016 that “The Angry Birds Movie” would also help the company to build brand awareness. “The movie is a commercially driven exercise but also a brand driven exercise,” he said. “It’s not all about the money. It’s about creating a beautiful piece of entertainment that hopefully will last for some time and delight the fans and at some level.

“It’s important but it’s not the be all and end all of Rovio. I’ve seen the movie a few times and it’s really good. It’s a lot of fun. It’s good comedy, good action.”

Josh Greenstein, Sony’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution, told The Guardian: “It’s very difficult turning a video game property into a successful movie. To use a bad pun, we are flying high.”

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