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'Angry Birds' to invade screens in new Sony Pictures 3D film

Angry Birds products are displayed during a news conference in Hong Kong July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Angry Birds products are displayed during a news conference in Hong Kong July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The popular video game "Angry Birds" is jumping off smart phones and onto the big screen in a new animated 3D film due to be released in 2016, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Wednesday.

The film will be a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Finnish game-maker Rovio, and follows the game's foray into television with an animated weekly series that began in March this year.

"Sony impressed us with their great attitude, determination, and professionalism. They convinced us that we have found the right partners and team to help us market and distribute our first motion picture," Rovio Entertainment CEO Mikael Hed said in a statement.

The animated 3D film version will be made by the Sony Pictures Animation unit, which has a roster including recent films "The Smurfs" and "Hotel Transylvania."

"Every studio in town would love to add 'Angry Birds' to their slate. There are few titles out there that bring this kind of excitement, brand awareness and built-in audience to the table," Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Amy Pascal, co-chairman of the unit, said in a statement.

Producers David Maisel, the executive producer of "Iron Man," and John Cohen, the producer of "Despicable Me," are both on board for the project, which is yet to announce a director or cast.

The "Angry Birds" video game, where players use a slingshot to launch birds at green 'bad piggies' in an attempt to rescue their eggs back, launched in 2009 and has become the top paid application of all time with more than 1.7 billion downloads.

The weekly "Angry Birds Toons" animated series was launched through the app and select video-on-demand providers and TV networks around the world, with 150 million views within the first six weeks.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a unit of Sony Corp.

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Paul Simao)

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