While nobody can deny the massive popularity of Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise, there are plenty of skeptics who question whether Rovio’s cash cow will remain popular forever.

And for good reason: in today’s fast-paced and highly-competitive gaming market, which now includes millions of social and casual ‘gamers’, producing hits is difficult but keeping them hits is often even more difficult.

But those predicting that Angry Birds will jump the shark, if it hasn’t already, will have to wait a little bit longer to see if their predictions will come to pass. That’s because Angry Birds Space, the latest installment in the Angry Birds franchise, has surpassed 50m downloads in its first 35 days.

That makes Angry Birds Space the fastest-growing mobile game in history according to Rovio.

In a blog post, Rovio thanked Angry Birds fans and promised more “surprises” in future updates. “For us the main goal is to keep creating fun new experiences that everybody can enjoy!” the company stated.

That, of course, will be necessary if the Finnish company is going to maintain the Angry Birds brand it has built. But the success of Angry Birds Space also suggests that Rovio’s marketing and merchandising prowess is crucial to the success of its highly-profitable franchise as well.

As we detailed previously, Rovio teamed up with Walmart to promote the launch of Angry Birds Space. The relationship consisted of offering limited edition Angry Birds merchandise to Walmart shoppers, and creating retail-based experiences for Angry Birds fans.

Just how much the Walmart deal contributed to the 50m downloads Angry Birds has seen in the past month is unknown, but the growing footprint of the Angry Birds brand today certainly can’t hurt when it comes to driving consumers to download and play the games. Which explains why Rovio’s CEO, Mikael Hed, isn’t losing sleep over the fact that pirates are profiting off of unauthorized Angry Birds merchandise.

And why should he? With 50m downloads in 35 days, it’s clear that Rovio’s strategy of getting the Angry Birds brand in front of as many consumers as possible is still working quite well.