The LEGO movie franchise is jumping ship. Having previously resided at Warner Bros., LEGO-related movies will now take place under the Universal banner for the next five years. Universal’s Donna Langley and LEGO Group’s Jill Wilfert led the deal.
“To partner with such an iconic brand that remains relevant and is constantly evolving allows for creativity in storytelling”, said Langley in a statement. “We’re thrilled to start building out the next chapter of LEGO movies together with Jill and the LEGO team as they continue to inspire curiosity and innovation”.
The LEGO movie franchise is still a valuable one, even if its lost some of its sheen over the last few years. After 2014’s The LEGO Movie was a massive critical and commercial success, Warner Bros. doubled down on the franchise with The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
Unfortunately, the quick releases of those films flooded the market and gave the public too much LEGO-based content, which meant that when The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part finally arrived, it didn’t perform nearly as well as its predecessor and was practically forgotten.
Universal will be hoping they don’t repeat the same mistakes Warner Bros. did. Making anything LEGO-related just because you have the rights to say, Batman, just because you can isn’t necessarily a great idea. WB had a potentially likeable and profitable franchise on their hands and hurt it by saturating the brand. It will be interesting to see what Universal decides to do to counteract the recent rash of LEGO movies.
It’s possible that The LEGO Movie was just a flash in the pan. Playmobil: The Movie – given the greenlight because of the success of The LEGO Movie – was released last year to terrible reviews and awful box office numbers, essentially being the film that skeptics thought 2014’s LEGO Movie would be. Maybe the public just isn’t as interested in these kinds of toy-based films? Universal will hope that’s not true.