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Fox Hunts For More Than Just Game As 'Rio' Hooks Up With 'Angry Birds'

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Fox Hunts For More Than Just Game As 'Rio' Hooks Up With 'Angry Birds'

Games and Gamers

Fox Hunts For More Than Just Game As 'Rio' Hooks Up With 'Angry Birds'

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")


Robert, I'm going to be with you in just a second. I'm just trying to finish this game of "Angry Birds" here. Sorry.

SIEGEL: She's Melissa Block.

BLOCK: I am.

SIEGEL: Yeah. And...

BLOCK: I'm a little distracted right now.

SIEGEL: Yeah. "Angry Birds."

BLOCK: "Angry Birds," addictive - an addictive game that I'm playing on my iPhone right now.

SIEGEL: A game that has been downloaded - a hundred million downloads in 15 months.

BLOCK: "Angry Birds," it is the most downloaded app ever, Robert, and all you do is you pull a slingshot back.

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

BLOCK: You catapult this angry bird...

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

BLOCK: ...toward a crowd of ornery green pigs.

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

SIEGEL: And...

BLOCK: Missed.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: birds and no pigs were harmed in the making...

BLOCK: Absolutely.

SIEGEL: ...of that game. "Angry Birds" has a new version out. It was created by a small company in Finland that's become the envy of the entertainment business.

BLOCK: And NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports that it's helping 20th Century Fox promote a new animated movie, "Rio."

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

ELIZABETH BLAIR: First, why are they angry?

Mr. PETER VESTERBACKA (CEO, Rovio): The birds are angry because the pigs steal their eggs.

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

BLAIR: Peter "Mighty Eagle" Vesterbacka of Rovio, the makers of "Angry Birds."

Mr. VESTERBACKA: You know, if somebody would steal your eggs, you would be really angry too.

(Soundbite of game, "Angry Birds")

BLAIR: The physics-based game is addictive, getting the arc off the catapult just right.

Mr. ANDREW STALBOW (Senior Vice President, Mobile, 20th Century Fox): It looks pretty simple, but it's pretty hard to master.

BLAIR: Andrew Stalbow is senior vice president of Mobile for 20th Century Fox. He thinks Rovio got everything right with "Angry Birds": the degree of difficulty, the fact that it appeals to both kids and adults, the marketing...

Mr. STALBOW: They've created these kind of adorable little videos that just spread virally across social networks, and it's something that we really aspire to in terms of the games that we've created here at Fox.

BLAIR: The American behemoth 20th Century Fox wanted something from this little company in Finland. So Stalbow and another Fox executive flew to Helsinki. They showed Peter Vesterbacka and the team at Rovio clips of their new movie "Rio," which is also about birds.

(Soundbite of movie, "Rio")

Mr. JESSE EISENBERG (Actor): (as Blu) Oh, how I wish I was back in my cage with my mirror and my little bell. Aah.

Ms. ANNE HATHAWAY (Actress): (as Jewel) Bobo here can't fly.

Mr. GEORGE LOPEZ (Actor): (as Rafael the Toucan): Don't worry, Blu. It's in your DNA.

Mr. VESTERBACKA: Our creative people really, really liked what they saw.

BLAIR: So Rovio agreed to create a new game featuring the angry birds and the exotic birds from "Rio."

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLAIR: Now, remember, "Angry Birds" has been downloaded over a hundred million times. Fox would be thrilled to get that audience for "Rio." Plus, a lot of those gamers are not moviegoers.

Mr. VESTERBACKA: There will be a lot of people that will go and see this that wouldn't normally maybe take their time to go and see a movie, so it's going to be very, very interesting to see.

BLAIR: And what's in it for the "Angry Birds"?

Mr. STALBOW: The marketing power that we can bring to promote the new game on the platforms.

BLAIR: Billboards, posters, a hidden code in a Super Bowl commercial.

(Soundbite of TV commercial)

Unidentified Man #1: From the creators of "Ice Age."

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (as character) Welcome to Rio.

Unidentified Man #1: A bird who never learned to fly.

BLAIR: It's hard to say who has more to gain from the Fox-Rovio partnership. The "Angry Birds" got a free ride in an expensive Super Bowl ad, and "Rio" might reach a whole new audience when its birds are part of the massively popular video game.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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