'The Lego Movie' Ups The Competition For Animated Movies

Feb 6 2014, 1:40pm CST | by

Once upon a time, Disney was the only animated game in town. The Mouse House dominated with movies like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. When Pixar came along to challenge that legacy, Disney simply bought the studio and folded properties like Toy Story and Cars into its many, profitable, divisions.

DreamWorks Animation became a healthy competitor with franchises like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda but for a long time, other studios were shut out of the animation game.

But animated movies can offer a great return on investment. Children, and their exhausted parents, will go to see animated movies more than once in the theater and then snap up the movies for home viewing. There are plenty of lucrative merchandise possibilities (lunch boxes, t-shirt, toys etc.) and the movies almost always lend themselves to sequels.

So it’s not surprise that studios like Fox, Sony and Universal have gotten into the game. Fox has had some big hits with the Ice Age movies (total franchise gross $2.8 billion) and a sequel to the 2011 hit Rio is slated for April. Universal struck it huge with Despicable Me. The sequel was the (domestic) third highest-grossing film of 2013 bringing in $970 million at the global box office. Even Sony is having good luck with animation. Movies like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania have helped offset duds like After Earth.

Now it looks like Warner Bros. is poised to become another player in the animation game. As my colleague Scott Mendelson pointed out, WB has been a serious laggard in the world of animation. The studio consistently ranks as the top, or second-highest, grossing studio every year thanks to franchises like Batman, Harry Potter and The Hobbit. But Warner Bros. has struggled when it comes to animation, despite having a treasure trove of legacy characters in its library. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian are all Warner Bros. characters. Although we mostly think of super heroes in terms of big blockbuster films, Warner Bros. also owns DC Comics, home to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

With The Lego Movie, Warner Bros. might not just have a hit movie on its hands but a valuable franchise. Exhibitor Relations expects the film will top the box office this weekend with $52 million. That number could go even higher. Despicable Me opened to $56 million in 2010 and that film didn’t have half the buzz The Lego Movie has going into this weekend.

The whole concept of the movie lends itself to franchises. The filmmakers went for an old-school look with the film so instead of the smooth animation we’ve come to expect from the Lego TV shows, the movie has the look of a brick film made by a kid (albeit a kid with an incredibly expensive computer system).

The Lego universe is vast. There are city sets, ninja sets, hero sets, even dinosaur sets. It’s just the kind of sandbox creative types can play in for years coming up with more and more profitable films (which then lend themselves to toys, merchadise, TV spin offs etc.). The Lego Movie could finally be Warner Bros.’s ticket to the big game.

Follow me on Twitter at DorothyatForbes.

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
Our sister site I4U News is giving away a brand new iPad Air or if you can wait an iPad Air 2. This is an $499 value.
 
 
Your Parent Or Kid Moved In: Are You Covered?
A record 57 million Americans now live in multigenerational family households — double the number in 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And I bet many of them have the wrong homeowner’s or renters...
 
 
Pandora Looks to Challenge Terrestrial Radio's Dominance in Cars
Pandora Media is one of the largest Internet radio providers in the U.S. with more than 75 million active users. While the company’s active user count has increased at a robust pace historically, it is likely to slow...
 
 
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
It’s January 2026. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner gets out of his driverless car and triumphantly marches before the gathered press to introduce his prized new free agent. It’s a record-breaking contract—over...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Denzel Washington: I've no Bond campaign
Denzel Washington isn't campaigning to play James Bond. The 'Training Day' star has quashed rumours he is keen to take over the secret agent role from current 007 Daniel Craig and insists his joke about starting a...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Six soldiers killed in Egypt plane crash
Cairo, Sep 21 (IANS) Six soldiers were killed and one was wounded Sunday when a military cargo plane crashed near an airport in Egypt, a media report said. The reconnaissance aircraft crashed near the military airport...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian swimmers fail to qualify at Asiad
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Indian swimmers failed to qualify for the finals in their respective categories at the Asian Games held at the Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center here Sunday. Saurabh Sangvekar failed to...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Force India drivers finish in points
Singapore, Sep 21 (IANS) Both Force India drivers successfully finished among the points as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg ended seventh and ninth respectively at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix here Sunday....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian medallists at 2014 Asian Games
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) The following are Indian medallists at the end of the second day of competitions at the 17th Asian Games here Sunday: Gold: Jitu Rai: Men's 50 metre pistol shooting Bronze: Shweta Chaudhary:...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Afghanistan declares Ghani Ahmadzai as president-elect
Kabul, Sep 21 (IANS) Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) Sunday declared Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the new president, an official said. "Since we Afghans do not have computerised ID card, we do not have...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian women settle for badminton team bronze
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Ending a 28-year-old medal drought in badminton at the Asian Games, India Sunday settled for the bronze in the women's team event going down tamely to hosts South Korea in the semi-finals at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
'Cape Fear' actress Polly Bergen is dead
Los Angeles, Sep 21 (IANS) Emmy-award winning actress and singer Polly Bergen, still remembered for playing the terrorised wife in the original "Cape Fear", has died, according to her publicist. She was 84. Bergen...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
India thrash Sri Lanka 8-0 in Asiad men's hockey
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Playing their first match of the Asian Games at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium here, the Indian men's team defeated neighbours Sri Lanka 8-0 in a Pool B contest here Sunday. It was Rupinder Pal...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian women shuttlers settle for Asiad bronze
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Indian shuttlers had to settle for the bronze in the women's team event of the Asian Games as they lost their semi-final encounter 1-3 to hosts South Korea at the Gyeyang Gymnasium here Sunday....
Read more on Sport Balla