The Lego Movie: February Blockbuster

The Lego Movie is a bit of an anomaly.  It is a children’s film and is doing incredibly well.  It is critically acclaimed and making millions upon millions of dollars in February, months before blockbuster season.  ALL while the country has been experiencing terrible snow attacks and the Winter Olympics are going on in Russia.  It has been years since Pixar released a movie that was so well received. The good ole days where everything they released was a pleasure died with the release of Cars and hasn’t quite recovered.  The Lego Movie is also an eye opener in many cases to what the future of Hollywood may or may not hold… and it’s a fine line between scary and exhilarating.

The movie contains a plethora of characters in the Warner Brothers catalogue, including DC Comics and takes advantage by putting them out there to interact with each other and be toyed with, no pun intended.  But it makes one think: what does this mean for the studios?  They have tried to base movies (notably blockbusters) on toy franchises before, and while plenty of them made tons and TONS of money, very few have been critically well-recieved until now.  Battleship, Transformers, GI Joe, etc.  The movie has already well surpassed it’s $60 million budget, and since that is much smaller than most of these films are made for, the profit margin is going to be massive in returns.  And that’s before taking into account it’s about LEGOs!  It sells itself!  They’re probably producing Legos about the Legos in the movie as we speak!  So there is a lot of money being made and possibly more to be made… What do studios notice?

It’s a two-edged sword: the last time a movie made this much money and was this well received was The Avengers.  Maybe by letting people who care about the material take control of the movie, there can be money and critical success?  The answer is yes, but I am not convinced that the studios have quite learned this yet:  There have been a few more Avengers movies out since then, and none of them have attempted to break away from set formula or have been as well received.  Yet, the money poured in, so I remain unconvinced that the studios are ready to take some groundbreaking bold steps.

Still, The Lego Movie stands out because it is so successful and doesn’t go for the traditional seen it before tropes.  The question is if the movie will encourage studios to make bold moves and movies, or does it enable them to keep re-trending what we’ve seen with immediate remakes, sequels, reboots, familiar material, etc.  Do we need a movie about Sharpies to come out?  What about an Etch-A-Sketch?  I’d ask them to take some of this money, as there will be a lot to go around, and pay some writers to really go for something new.  This movie did it’s job well, but depending on what it teaches the studios, maybe too well.

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