Rovio Bets on 3-D Movie as Angry Birds Profits Plummet

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Finnish mobile games maker Rovio pinned its hopes on Thursday on a costly 3-D movie project helping it return to growth, after a 73 percent profit drop in 2014 gave the latest sign its mainstay Angry Birds brand is losing appeal. A decline in its business of licensing the Angry Birds brand for toys, clothing and sweets is adding to the problems of Rovio, which has yet to repeat the success of its original slingshot-based game which became the number one paid mobile app of all time after its launch in 2009. Rovio said total sales fell 9 percent last year to 158.3 million euros ($169 million), although revenue from mobile games grew 16 percent to 110.7 million on the back of new offerings.

"As (Rovio's) franchise begins to falter, the question of whether it is a one-hit wonder rears up again," said Steve Bailey, games analyst at IHS Technology. Rovio, whose aim is to become an entertainment brand on a par with Walt Disney, has also expanded Angry Birds into a spin-off TV series and is backing an animated movie set to premiere in May 2016. Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala said the production cost of the Angry Birds movie will be about $80 million, and marketing costs, which will be partly paid by Sony Entertainment, would total more than the production budget.

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