Here comes the Angry Birds film, but why can’t a game just be a game?

Big-screen adaptations of computer games, with A-list cameos, produce big cash. Some of it could be used to produce groundbreaking art

Back in 2009 a Finnish company called Rovio launched its 52nd video game. Its premise was simple: players would use their smartphone touchscreen – still a relative novelty two years after the first iPhone came out – to control a catapult. Swine flu was in the news, so the enemies would be pigs. The missiles? A flock of angry birds.

That game reportedly cost less than £100,000 to make. The numbers involved in The Angry Birds Movie, which arrives in cinemas 13 May, are rather larger. There’s an estimated $80m production budget and $100m set aside for marketing. Sony has even splashed out on the ultimate status symbol: an A-list cameo. Sean Penn, we were informed in April, will play a bird called Terence who communicates only through low, rumbling growls.

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