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The last decade was a boom for superhero comic and gaming movies. Theatergoers were treated to several hits a year, ranging from Spiderman (2002, 2004, 2007) to the groundbreaking Avatar (2010) and revenue smashing Dark Knight (2008). These three movie franchises alone combined for a whopping $6 billion dollars. On the gaming side, moviegoers were treated to movies such as Resident Evil, Street Fighter as well as the two movies from the Final Fantasy series, Advent Children and The Spirits Within.

Movie making has always served to be a voice of what the rest of society is thinking, feeling and experiencing and serves as a convergence of media and popular culture. Now, moviegoers will be treated to a new type of convergence, that of mobile apps and movies, with the April 15th release of Rio. The movie was paired up with the popular app by Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds Rio, that has been downloaded more than 10 million times since its release in late March. The movie came out of the gates running by taking the top spot at the box office opening weekend with $40 million dollars in revenue and $284 million dollars worldwide. While none of the famous Angry Birds characters appear in the movie, the partnership signifies just how far the Angry Birds franchise has come since its initial launch in December 2009 and the more than 100 million times the game has been downloaded.

A Continuation of the Mobile Revolution

Mobile devices today are what the television and personal computer were in the last decade. They have become an ingrained part of our daily lives, and in many cases, have replaced the need to have a television or personal computer. In a survey we conducted in December 2010, we found that not only smartphones but apps as well, have truly become a part of our daily lives; the average smartphone user spends 2.8 hours/day using applications and 3 in 5 people first turn to an app before searching the web.

The Angry Birds franchise of games has shown us all how smitten we are with mobile apps – while the game is no more than just the tossing of birds to seek revenge on pigs who stole their eggs, the theme of the game resonates with the good versus evil parallels in our daily lives.

The naysayers of mobile apps and the mobile industry will have their say, as some have already. However, statistics show otherwise as the IDC predicts 76.9 billion apps are to be downloaded by 2014 (up from 10.9 billion in 2010) and mobile advertising to hit $3.3 billion dollars this year as well. These two numbers support what everyone needs to know: Mobile apps and technology are hardly a fad.

So as you sit back and watch the opening credits of Rio, consider how far we’ve come and the influence mobile apps are providing for popular culture. The comic book and movie adaptations we see now will soon be joined by movie adaptations featuring apps, providing more entertainment for all and further deepening the convergence between mobile apps and film.

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