The Angry Birds Movie is one of this year’s most anticipated animated features – with voices by the likes of Sean Penn and Peter Dinklage.
Based on the smartphone game series of the same name, the movie – out on May 20 – is about what we all want to know – why the birds are so angry!
When their island gets a visit from dim but funny green pigs (including Earl, voiced by Blake Shelton), it’s up to three of the birds, Red, Chuck, and Bomb to find out what’s going on.
Here are 10 lesser-known facts about the movie.
1 The birds have arms
While in the games the Angry Birds are decidedly wing-less, in the movie they have arms.
They can’t even be classed as wings as they have fingers which allow the characters to hold things.
This was no doubt an easy decision for the animators to make – as it allows the birds to do so much more than they would without them.
2 It was originally scheduled for a July 1 release
Angry Birds fans rejoice! Because thanks to a decision by distributors Columbia Pictures, the release date was moved forward by almost a month and a half from July 1, 2016 to May 20.
It’s thought this could have been so that it doesn’t coincide with the release of Disney’s The BFG, based on the Roald Dahl children’s classic, which is also released on that date.
However, it now opens the same day as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, the sequel to 2014’s Neighbors and starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron – which is also expected to be a huge hit.
3 It’s written by a writer for The Simpsons
The success of The Angry Birds Movie obviously hugely depended on the script — so the producers pulled in some truly top talent in Jon Vitti.
Vitti is most famous for his work on The Simpsons. He penned 25 episodes for the series, making him the third most-used Simpsons writer.
He was one of 11 writers used on 2007’s The Simpsons Movie and has also had gigs writing for The Office, Saturday Night Live, and The Larry Sanders Show, as well as the movies Ice Age and Robots.
So, you don’t need us to tell you that The Angry Birds Movie is going to be funny…
4 The games have been downloaded over 3 BILLION times
The original Angry Birds game was released in December 2009 and was pretty much an immediate hit — with around 12 million copies being downloaded in the first nine months alone.
But makers Rovio Entertainment knew they were on to something and the original spawned 11 different sequels, including everything from Angry Birds Star Wars to Angry Birds Transformers, as well as several spin-offs.
There have now been more than 3 billion collective downloads of the games – equivalent to almost half the world’s population downloading a single copy each.
5 It’s the third film Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad have been in together
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage voices the Mighty Eagle in the movie – while Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in Frozen, is speedy Chuck, one of the three main characters.
The pair are pictured above with Jason Sudeikis, center, promoting the film.
But it’s not the first time that Dinklage and Gad have featured in the same movie together. They also both added their voices to 2012’s Continental Drift – with Dinklage as Captain Gutt and Gad as molehog Louis.
Then in 2015, Dinklage voiced Eddie Plant and Gad was Ludlow Lamonsoff in Pixels.
6 More is being spent on marketing it than making it
The Angry Birds Movie has a reported production budget of $86million (€75million), which was pumped into hiring celebrity voices, and doing the animation – actually making the movie.
However, an extra $114million (€100million) is said to be being spent on marketing it.
The production budget makes it by far the most expensive film ever to come out of Finland (Angry Birds’ creators Rovio Entertainment are Finnish).
There is ten times more cash being spent on making it than on the previous record holder, 2014’s Big Game starring Samuel L. Jackson, which cost $9.7million (€8.5million) to produce.
7 The film features global YouTube stars Smosh
Smosh, aka Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, are one of YouTube’s most successful pairings — with nearly 22 million subscribers to their channel.
People have viewed their videos more than 5.4 billion times. So getting them to add their voices to The Angry Birds Movie was a coup for the producers.
The pair have seen a meteoric rise ever since Padilla started posting animated flash videos on the website Newgrounds — a hotbed for emerging creative talent — back in 2003 under the Smosh name.
It’s the second movie that the pair have been in, the first being Smosh: The Movie, which was released in July 2015.
8 The makers are pretty confident in its success
Rovio Entertainment are pretty sure the movie is going to be a hit. According to the Wall Street Journal, CEO Mikael Hed said that despite its large budget “it is the one that I don’t lose any sleep over”, calling the story “tremendously strong”.
Not everything is all moonlight and roses at Rovio, however. The company laid off around a third of its workforce in 2015 — cutting 213 out of 670 staff during a massive round of restructuring.
The only area of the company not affected were those people working on the movie.
The firm also posted a loss of $14.78 million (€13 million) last year after pumping cash into the movie.
9 The directors have never directed a movie before
The movie is being co-directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly — who are both masters of animation. But neither of them have actually been in charge of making a movie before.
Prior to their Angry Birds project, Clay worked at Disney for nearly two decades and was involved in both Tangled and Bolt.
Meanwhile, story artist Reilly has worked on hits including Spider-Man 2, The Smurfs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
10 There’s a 45ft tall balloon version of Red
To promote The Angry Birds Movie, Rovio Entertainment had a massive balloon version made of the main character Red to take part in the 2015 annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The balloon measured 45.5feet tall and 44feet long, and showed Red running forward with a egg under one of his arms.
An estimated 50 million people watched the parade, with over 3.5million along the streets of Manhattan alone. In other words, other than the Super Bowl, it’s hard to get better publicity.
Do you know any other interesting facts about The Angry Birds Movie? Let us know in the comments section below.