In what might be the corniest product tie in since Owl City performed a song in the animated owl movie Legend of the Guardians, game developer Rovio has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to release a Rio branded version of Angry Birds on Android, iPhone, Nokia (Symbian), and possibly other platforms, this March. The move is an effort by Fox to help Rio, an upcoming original CGI animated film, compete at the beginning of this year’s summer box office season.
Angry Birds Rio will feature 45 levels and more detailed graphics than previous versions of Birds, says the developer. It will also likely sell millions in its first day of release. Rovio is currently working on a console version of the immensely popular game series, and is exploring a possible TV deal and feature film as well. The series has been downloaded more than 75 million times since its release on the iPhone App Store in 2009. It’s popularity is not limited to North America either. In November, an Israeli sketch comedy show parodied the game.
Lately, Hollywood has been fearful of releasing any film without a brand attached to it. This tie-in will likely benefit Fox more than Rovio. Rio hits theaters April 15. It tells the story of “Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota,” who “meets the fiercely independent Jewel,” and “takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams.” The blue domesticated bird is voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his performance of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. His love interest is voiced by Anne Hathaway.
For those interested, Wired has a good writeup on the history of Angry Birds. Rovio believes it could be the next Super Mario.