'Best Fiends' wants to be Hollywood's next 'Angry Birds'
- Seriously Digital Entertainment, developer of the “Best Fiends” mobile games, is branching out into video entertainment with the debut of an animated series based on the app’s characters. The two “Best Fiends” apps have been downloaded 70 million times and have more than 2 million daily players, Variety reported.
- Andrew Stalbow, CEO and co-founder of Seriously, is following the strategy of his prior employer Rovio, the Finnish developer of the popular game “Angry Birds” that was turned into a movie franchise. Seriously has annual revenue of $40 million in advertising and in-app purchases.
- "Best Fiends Boot Camp” debuted on Thursday as the first of four episodes produced by studio Reel FX, which created the “Ice Age” movies. The 3.5-minute show is available on the “Best Fiends” apps and YouTube channel, which has about 368,000 subscribers.
The news points to how mobile-first brands with strong followings can leverage that awareness for some cross-platform sunvery.
A hit video game rarely becomes a critically acclaimed TV and film franchise, as movies like "Super Mario Bros.," "Assassin’s Creed" and "Resident Evil" have demonstrated. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make money from kids who never read movie reviews; the “Angry Birds” movie was panned by critics on the way to raking in $350 million in global box office receipts last year. Sony Pictures plans to release a sequel in 2019 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the popular mobile game.
This shows that marketers need to carefully consider their audience's likelihood of actually wanting to check out the mobile-game-turned-motion-picture. An audience that appears receptive to webisodes or other content and merchandise beyond the game itself would provide a solid groundwork toward developing a feature film, as Seriously Digital Entertainment's Stalbow told Variety. The media company is making judicious steps in developing an entertainment franchise with its animated shorts that have writing talent from “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” along with voiceovers from stars like Mark Hamill from Star Wars.
Rovio bore most of the risk in producing the “Angry Birds” movie, paying $173 million to make and market the film, The New York Times reported. The marketing push reached an estimated $400 million including promotional partnerships, according to executives at Sony per the Los Angeles Times. Seriously’s "Best Fiends" has some pretty big shoes to fill.