With its Warner Bros. deal expired since this fall, LEGO is looking to build its empire elsewhere, and Universal Pictures may be where the toy brand winds up.
Despite Universal’s already successful animation division, Illumination Entertainment, which has produced The Secret Life of Pets and Despicable Me franchises, the studio is in talks with LEGO for an exclusive partnership, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which also learned that many studios sought a deal with the company. This means we can expect more LEGO movies on the way, though the recent films have underperformed at the box office.
After hitting it big with 2014’s The Lego Movie, which grossed $468 million worldwide, spinoffs followed. Not as tremendous a success, 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie still proved a global hit. However, LEGO’s most recents projects—The Lego Ninjago Movie and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part—crumbled both domestically and abroad. Everything has not been awesome of late.
The LEGO Group, between its retail stores, theme parks, and partnerships, became the world’s largest toy company by revenue in 2015. Creating toy sets based on other licensed properties helped explode its profits. The Danish company’s popularity has not waned since then, reporting a $5.5 billion revenue in 2018, providing reason to believe its film and entertainment properties could bounce back going forward.
According to the report, Rideback, and its CEO Dan Lin, who produced the films, will remain producers in a new deal should the partnership with Universal go through. Most fascinating is just what sorts of movies could be forthcoming from LEGO, considering the box office decline since its initial hit. And with Illumination consistently churning out profitable films, could LEGO explore a live action/GCI option for future projects?
We’ll have to wait to see what comes of this and what movies get greenlit to kick things off. No matter what, if you’ve got kids between the ages of five and ten, they’re already on board.