Features





It's toy-mania as Lego becomes next Hollywood target

Aug 12, 2009

-By Steven Zeitchik and Borys Kit


Warner Bros. is building a Lego movie.

The studio and producer Dan Lin have acquired theatrical rights for a motion picture about the timeless toy, and set writers Dan and Kevin Hageman to pen the script.

The live action-CG hybrid is described as a movie set in the world of Lego that centers on the subject of child-like imaginations and examines themes of creativity and teamwork in the manner of “Toy Story.” While the pic will have elements for children, the studio is hoping the film is a four-quadrant play that can also appeal to adults.

In addition to Lin (whose credits include Guy Ritchie’s upcoming “Sherlock Holmes” at Warners), Roy Lee will produce and Stephen Gilchrist will co-produce, while Jill Wilfert will oversee creatively for Lego. Matt Reilly is overseeing for the studio.

The Lego development project continues what has been a veritable craze for toy-based movies, a trend that flowered again at the boxoffice this past weekend with the $56 million opening of “G.I. Joe,” the Hasbro toy that became a Paramount hit, and has extended into lesser-known toys like the View-Master, which is being developed as a feature under the guidance of producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci at DreamWorks.

It's a bit of a switch for the CAA- and Underground Management-repped Hagemans, who are set to adapt the ensemble monster pic “Hotel Transylvania” for Sony and also are adapting the genre tale “Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom” for Warners. But apparently when the scribes pitched the Lego execs (in Denmark), there was warm enthusiasm, not always the reception when Hollywood's come a-knocking before.

Some history: Lego began in the 1940s as a toy first popular with Europeans and then around the globe. The company, which remains a privately controlled firm based in Billund, Denmark, has over the years maintained its core lines of building blocks even as it has expanded into robots, space stations and other theme-driven extensions.

The toy has always had a presence of sorts in and around Hollywood. A handful of direct-to-DVD CGI pics have been distributed through the homevideo arms of companies such as Universal and Miramax, and it also has offered children’s-videogame tie-ins with Warners properties like “Batman." And the only Legoland in North America sits in Carlsbad, Ca., about an hour south of Los Angeles, which if you have anyone under seven years old in your life, you know all too well.

But a big screen feature has never been attempted.

There's another trend at work here. Warners is keen on developing a toy pic, but it's also hot for live action-CG hybrids. The studio is behind a big screen remake of “Yogi Bear” as well as a reboot of the Don Knotts “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” which live-CG master Kevin Lima is attached to direct, about an adult who turns into a mermaid. Guess it's now time for some computer-generated little yellow men too.
-Nielsen Business Media


It's toy-mania as Lego becomes next Hollywood target

Aug 12, 2009

-By Steven Zeitchik and Borys Kit


Warner Bros. is building a Lego movie.

The studio and producer Dan Lin have acquired theatrical rights for a motion picture about the timeless toy, and set writers Dan and Kevin Hageman to pen the script.

The live action-CG hybrid is described as a movie set in the world of Lego that centers on the subject of child-like imaginations and examines themes of creativity and teamwork in the manner of “Toy Story.” While the pic will have elements for children, the studio is hoping the film is a four-quadrant play that can also appeal to adults.

In addition to Lin (whose credits include Guy Ritchie’s upcoming “Sherlock Holmes” at Warners), Roy Lee will produce and Stephen Gilchrist will co-produce, while Jill Wilfert will oversee creatively for Lego. Matt Reilly is overseeing for the studio.

The Lego development project continues what has been a veritable craze for toy-based movies, a trend that flowered again at the boxoffice this past weekend with the $56 million opening of “G.I. Joe,” the Hasbro toy that became a Paramount hit, and has extended into lesser-known toys like the View-Master, which is being developed as a feature under the guidance of producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci at DreamWorks.

It's a bit of a switch for the CAA- and Underground Management-repped Hagemans, who are set to adapt the ensemble monster pic “Hotel Transylvania” for Sony and also are adapting the genre tale “Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom” for Warners. But apparently when the scribes pitched the Lego execs (in Denmark), there was warm enthusiasm, not always the reception when Hollywood's come a-knocking before.

Some history: Lego began in the 1940s as a toy first popular with Europeans and then around the globe. The company, which remains a privately controlled firm based in Billund, Denmark, has over the years maintained its core lines of building blocks even as it has expanded into robots, space stations and other theme-driven extensions.

The toy has always had a presence of sorts in and around Hollywood. A handful of direct-to-DVD CGI pics have been distributed through the homevideo arms of companies such as Universal and Miramax, and it also has offered children’s-videogame tie-ins with Warners properties like “Batman." And the only Legoland in North America sits in Carlsbad, Ca., about an hour south of Los Angeles, which if you have anyone under seven years old in your life, you know all too well.

But a big screen feature has never been attempted.

There's another trend at work here. Warners is keen on developing a toy pic, but it's also hot for live action-CG hybrids. The studio is behind a big screen remake of “Yogi Bear” as well as a reboot of the Don Knotts “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” which live-CG master Kevin Lima is attached to direct, about an adult who turns into a mermaid. Guess it's now time for some computer-generated little yellow men too.
-Nielsen Business Media
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Movies

Goodbye to All That Feature
Saying 'Goodbye': Angus MacLachlan brings acting and writing skills to the director's chair

In Goodbye to All That, Paul Schneider (“Parks and Recreation”) plays Otto Wall, a husband and father for whom obliviousness may well be an Olympic sport. More »

Mr. Turner feature
Turner tableau: Mike Leigh unveils portrait of celebrated British ‘painter of light’

As his rep and roles have grown in size, Timothy Spall has started to loom a lot like this millennium’s Charles Laughton. More »

CineAsia tribute
Pacific groundbreaker: Cinema 21 Group conquers Indonesia

Indonesian exhibition and distribution giant Cinema 21 Group has been selected as CineAsia’s “Distributor of the Year 2014.” More »

Annie feature
21st Century ‘Annie’: Director Will Gluck reimagines the comics’ irrepressible orphan for a new era

Can that ten-year-old African-American girl tearing through midtown Manhattan traffic on a Citi Bike be “Little Orphan Annie,” the pupil-less but purposeful Pollyanna in the bright red dress and matching curls from Depression-era America of the 1930s? More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Annie review
Film Review: Annie

Here’s an updated Annie for today’s entitled, tech-savvy and racially diverse generation of tweens who can easily relate to the new Annie’s love of luxurious toys. Their parents and other adults may miss the sweet innocence of the original, but they won’t be entirely bored by this frenetic new version of her classic story. More »

The H obbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

After rewriting the rules for modern fantasy cinema, for the better and worse, Peter Jackson’s six-film Tolkien saga slams, bangs and shudders to a long-overdue conclusion. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here