Former Disney veteran Clay Kaytis and Sony animator Fergal Reilly will helm the 3D CG-animated feature, to be released into theaters by Sony Pictures Entertainment on July 1, 2016.
Espoo, Finland -- Rovio Entertainment announced that Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis will direct Angry Birds, the upcoming 3D CG-animated film based on Rovio’s bestselling app. The film is being produced by John Cohen and Catherine Winder and executive produced by David Maisel; the screenplay is by Jon Vitti. The movie is slated for a July 1, 2016 release and will be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures.
Reilly and Kaytis are both animation veterans, making their directorial debuts with Angry Birds. Kaytis began his career as an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In his 19 years at Disney, he served as animation supervisor of Tangled and the follow-up short, Tangled Ever After. He also conceived and oversaw the end credits sequence of Wreck-It Ralph and animated on that film; in addition, he was the supervising animator of the character Rhino in Bolt. Kaytis also animated on the upcoming film Frozen and the Oscar-winning short, Paperman. Reilly joined Sony Pictures Animation in 2003 as a storyboard artist, contributing to the films Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. He was a director and Head of Story on several development projects at Sony Pictures Animation. Previously, Reilly was a storyboard artist on films including Spider-Man 2 and The Iron Giant.
Commenting on the announcement, Rovio Entertainment CEO Mikael Hed said, “I’m very excited that Fergal and Clay have joined us, bringing with them their vast expertise. They are two of the brightest rising talents in animation, and I’m confident we are building the right team to tell the story of Angry Birds and deliver an amazing movie experience to our fans.”
Producer John Cohen commented: “David, Catherine and I are thrilled to welcome Fergal and Clay to the Angry Birds filmmaking team. They both have an extraordinary range of talents, and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring the birds and pigs to life on the big screen.”
Angry Birds is one of the world’s biggest entertainment franchises, starting in 2009 with the original mobile game that remains the number one paid app of all time. Angry Birds has expanded rapidly into entertainment, publishing, and licensing to become a beloved international brand.
The upcoming movie marks Rovio’s first foray into feature films, although fans have already been introduced to the Angry Birds world with the weekly Angry Birds Toons animated series. Rovio launched the series in March through its Angry Birds apps, as well as on select video-on-demand channel providers, Smart TVs, connected devices, and on select TV networks around the world. Paving the way for a full-length feature film, Angry Birds Toons has been a massive success for Rovio and has surpassed more than 1,000,000,000 views in its first seven months. In addition, Rovio successfully launched a sequel in the Angry Birds Star Wars saga in September accompanied with Hasbro’s Telepod toys. The game immediately topped app store charts in over 100 countries.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.