This Friday, the lucrative Finnish Angry Birds app-game franchise takes the relentless battle between ball-shaped birds and pigs from the smartphone to the cineplex. Complete with a star-laden voiceover cast and an absence of other animated kids fare on the silver screen to compete with, producers Sony and Rovio Entertainment are optimistic in the movie’s ability to perform with the public, forecasting a $40m opening weekend for the film.
Despite such sunny financial forecasts, The Angry Birds Movie has already experienced its share of consternation from the movie-going public as yet another example of brand-driven dreck being thrust upon the masses. However, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 51%, the film is already head and shoulders above even its most successful brethren within its critically-panned genre: The Movie Adapted From A Video Game.
Often in spite of good storytelling or memorable performances, movies adapted from video games have a decades-long history of hedging their marketing almost solely on brand recognition and fan-service. The low quality of these films is reflected in their Rotten Tomatoes scores, with nary a “Fresh” rating in sight within the top 20 box-office successes. Even among the five most successful at the box office (visualized above), the most critically acclaimed of them all, 2010′s Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, was only able to conjure a 36% rating.
Of course, these movies aren’t made in the interest of pleasing critics. Getting the video game’s sizable fanbase to fill in seats at the theater has always been the strategy (one that has even greenlit plans for an upcoming, live-action Tetris movie, of all things). But even with a rating still in the “Rotten” spectrum, The Angry Birds Movie‘s current 51% score might spur interest beyond the game’s fan following, allowing the unusually positive critical response to successfully transition the movie’s public perception away from the stigma of video game adaptation and onto further financial success.