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Blockbuster Blueprint: 'The LEGO Movie'—What Went Right?


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#1
ShawnMR

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"If you build it, they will come."

 

That classic line from Field of Dreams echoed on twenty-five years later for Warner Bros. and The LEGO Movie over the weekend. The studio's first animated effort in over two years assembled a spectacular $69.1 million opening frame, considerably higher than most of the industry was expecting.

 

That already makes LEGO the fifth-highest grossing WB animation of all-time (swiftly topping their most recent cartoon, Happy Feet Two and its $64 million domestic run). The studio's two best animations of all time: Happy Feet ($198 million) and The Polar Express ($162.8 million original run, $183.4 million lifetime). Those are figures LEGO is virtually assured to surpass based on the film's strong word of mouth and universally glowing reviews.

 

How did they pull it off?

 

Founded in Denmark in 1949, the LEGO company has become a generational brand. What began as a block-building line of toys has evolved into an immensely broad franchise consisting of video games, retail stores, theme parks serving as popular family destinations, and an impressive line of licensing partners that has expanded the LEGO establishment over the past fifteen years. That's when the company began its game-changing relationship with Lucasfilm and Star Warsstill the hottest property on LEGO's list of licensors which includes Harry Potter, The Lord of the RingsBatmanToy StorySpider-ManSpongebob Squarepants, and many more. The company's global market share has since topped Hasbro and moved closer to that of Mattel... (more)

 

Full story: http://www.boxoffice...what-went-right


Edited by ShawnMR, 10 February 2014 - 12:38 PM.

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#2
CrispyLips

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Here is very honest answer. I DON'T REALLY KNOW. 


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#3
grim22

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I guess broad comedy which appealed to both kids and adults at the same time, and a plot which upended expectations. 

Spoiler

 

Here is the original plot from the first draft of the script, it seems too cliche

 

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:15px;]Emmet lives in Legoland. This is a very structured city where everything is the same. People follow rules. They do things by the book. And most importantly, they’re NEVER CREATIVE![/color]

Unfortunately, the 22 year-old Emmet (who lives with his mom), doesn’t operate that way. Emmet is different. He’s creative. He LIKES to step out of the norm and do silly things every once in awhile. At the same time, he’s ashamed of it. Emmet wishes he could live the easy life and be like everyone else. He wants to be your normal average predictable person.

As Emmet tries to come to terms with all this, his mother is kidnapped by the evil overseer of Legoland, Black Falcon! And his ex-girlfriend, Lucy, who now happens to be a superhero, drops in and tells him that they have to get her back. You see, Emmet’s mom is the chosen one, the one who’s going to save Legoland from becoming boring and stagnant forever!

This requires recruiting a bunch of the masterbuilders and taking Black Falcon down. So Emmet and Lucy get a pirate named Neckbeard (who’s just a lego head – and Lucy’s current boyfriend), Batman (of course), a space lego man named “Benny the Spaceman,” and a half-retarded lego-creature named Duplo.

Spoiler
Everything will always be boring and the same. Noooooo!!! Measly Emmet will have to find the strength within to defeat this mad Lego… creature. And save Lego-mania forever!

 

Of course, Hollywood studios will not see it as a triumph of story and marketing, they will see it as "Existing brands work for movies" and rush out movies based on "Hungry hungry hippos" (in an apocalyptic wasteland, hippos have taken over the world. Humans must fight back - but first they must try not to be eaten), "Words with friends" (a romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock where they must beat each other to win the worldwide scrabble tournament) and "Monopoly: The Movie" (a Wall Street like movie starring Michael Douglas as Rich Uncle Pennybags)


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#4
a2k

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When I first saw the trailer, I thought a 69m total gross though not likely, had a higher probability than 69m opening.

 

I think their big move was to target adults too, with pop culture jokes and a lot of wit. Had they made a less sharp movie aimed at kids it wouldn't have been this big. Intelligent humor gave them 60% of the audience above 18 years, and that gave them a blockbuster.

 

Necessity is the mother of invention. Animating bricks has serious limitations. So they put a lot of energy and thought into the script.


Edited by a2knet, 10 February 2014 - 01:01 PM.


#5
Boner Omega

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1. Batman2. It's legitimately great3. Batman
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#6
CJohn

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I think the title is wrong. It failed to hit 70M. Shouldn't it be what went wrong? Anyway, what saved it from being a total financial trainwreck was the dude with the bat mask.


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#7
grim22

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I think the title is wrong. It failed to hit 70M. Shouldn't it be what went wrong? Anyway, what saved it from being a total financial trainwreck was the dude with the bat mask.

 

I blame Shawn. He gave us false hope with the 23-25M comment.


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#8
jessie

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I guess all the pieces just fit together nicely.

#9
Boner Omega

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I guess all the pieces just fit together nicely.

Pun intended?
Follow me @timgoens

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#10
MattW

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All the different iterations of the Lego video games add up to almost 100 million units sold.  Video game marketing and news coverage keeps the brand name in front of teens and even 20-somethings much longer than the toy sets alone would have.  And it started all the way back in 2005 with releases every year since.



#11
junkshop39

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The brand grew a lot in popularity in the late 90s' when they picked the rights to make SW sets. Since then they've made sets based on a number of other popular properties such as Harry Potter, LOTR, The Simpson and Sponge Bob. These sets aren't just popular with kids either. Lots of adults(myself included) liked buying them as well. I collected the SW sets for a while. As I was watching the movie I was waiting for the SW cameo. It didn't disappoint. Also, it just looked like a really fun entertaining movie that everyone could enjoy.
:father:

#12
Chewy

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Everything was awesome


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#13
grey ghost

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Every Lego fan begging their parents to see it.Funny trailersand overwhelmingly positive reviews.

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#14
kowhite

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Step one...make an awesome movie.It all started there, and that's the hardest part.Other than that, good brand, light competition, and now we have Lego doing the 69.

#15
Spidey Freak

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1) Enticing trailers and promos that really made this look incredibly fun and great

2) Batman

3) Almost everyone played with Legos so there is a nostalgia factor as well (also see breakout success of Scooby-Doo)

4) Frozen success has gotten everyone pumped and excited for animated features again (see Nut Job overperformance), especially for well reviewed animated features like this one

5) Awesome movie that will generate strong WOM just like Frozen did

6) Pull for geek audiences to see all the franchises like DC, LotR, HP, TMNT, Star Wars etc. come together



#16
Shaldun

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1) Batman and all the Justice League 

2) Humor with an amazing and star-sudded voice cast 

3) Ultra-efficient marketing (trailers, spots, featurettes, all is awesome) 

4) Previous big animated success : Frozen and the two of them have nothing in common (one is a fairy tale on family love with beautiful songs, this one is a cool and funny movie with cool songs and pop characters...)

5) Lego brand is ultra-popular in toys and also in video games or i think it exists even some TV movies and/or series 

6) Quality of the movie (RT score, good WOM, repetitions ?)

7) February was a good move as audiences haven't seen a big movie opening since December 

8) No competition 

9) Big appeal to adults thanks to Lego nostalgia, quality, humor, pop cultures references, superheroes...  

 

And the primordial cause : because Everything is awesome 


Edited by Shaldun, 11 February 2014 - 01:02 AM.

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#17
Murgatroyd

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[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:15px;]Of course, Hollywood studios will not see it as a triumph of story and marketing, they will see it as "Existing brands work for movies" and rush out movies based on "Hungry hungry hippos" (in an apocalyptic wasteland, hippos have taken over the world. Humans must fight back - but first they must try not to be eaten), "Words with friends" (a romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock where they must beat each other to win the worldwide scrabble tournament) and "Monopoly: The Movie" (a Wall Street like movie starring Michael Douglas as Rich Uncle Pennybags)[/color]

 

The big difference is that this one isn't "based on" an existing brand; it reaches to the very heart of what Lego is to all the people who've ever played with it.

 

Somewhere in the back of my head, there's a Toy Story parallel bouncing around, but it hasn't yet coalesced into words.




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