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Angry Birds and A Happy Box Office

Angry Birds iPhone app
Source: Apple
Angry Birds iPhone app

Angry Birds should make 20th Century Fox very happy about its animated 'Rio,' which opens across the country on Friday.

The hit mobile video game is about sling-shotting angry birds at angry pigs - a natural fit for Fox's animated film about far happier birds which are carted away by smugglers.

Fox and the Finnish game developer behind Angry Birds, Rovio, are working together in an unprecedented marketing partnership, designed to drive the millions addicted to the game into theaters, and moviegoers to download the game.

Fox reached out to the makers of Angry Birds, the most downloaded game ever this past fall. And in March 'Rovio' launched 'Angry Birds Rio,' a spin-off based on the film. It's been downloaded more than 20 million times, faster than any prior Angry Birds game.

Fox is providing tens of millions of dollars in marketing exposure - featuring the game in its ads and billboards. And in exchange the studio will share in the revenue - from ads and paid downloads - generated by the new game.

This latest game brings the number of Angry Birds downloads to 130 million, generating $40 million in revenue for Rovio and the partnership has already yielded huge results for Fox.

Rio had a huge international debut, grossing $55 million last weekend, the biggest international debut of the year. And the game should lead *directly* to U.S. ticket sales through an unprecedented Fandango ticketing partnerships. Starting today everyone playing any Angry Birds game will see a link to buy tickets. This will give Fox access to the game's 40 million plus active monthly US players.

Will see if players turn out at theaters this weekend. But one thing's for sure - this is just the beginning of Angry Birds' role in Hollywood. Rovio's working on a TV series as well as a feature film.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.