When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

Sony Pictures


You never know what a Hollywood studio will throw at the wall to see if it sticks. Well, here is a case where what they threw at the wall was an animated comedy based on what started as a wildly popular phone app, about flightless pissed off birds that are thrown through the air to smash structures. And while a lot of video games take so long to make it to the movie screen that white-hot interest in the young demo fades, this one arrived quickly enough to score well at the box office. The film, a prequel to the game, was directed by first-timers Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, from a script by Jon Vitti. They populated the film with such familiar voices as Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage. The plot takes place on Bird Island and focuses on a reclusive bird called Red, who is sent to an anger management class for his ill temperament. It gets worse when pigs arrive and…how about we get to the financial tally of this film to ascertain whether or not Sony got to wet its beak in profits?


Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:


Give Sony credit for moving quickly and being opportunistic in finding a seam in the marketplace. It’s something they are trying to accomplish this summer with The Emoji Movie. Some critics cried fowl over Angry Birds, but from a financial standpoint, Sony’s pop culture play took flight. On a very reasonable $73 million production budget, Angry Birds grossed $107.5 million domestic, $166 million foreign, and a whopping $75.87 million in China to reach a $349.78 million global total. The Participations and Off-the-Tops were a reasonable $26 million. That amounted to $72 million in net profit and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.32. That’s enough for a nice nest egg even Albert Brooks would appreciate.