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

Guardians of the Galaxy
‘Galaxy’ quest: James Gunn brings a wild crew of intergalactic warriors to the Marvel Universe

If James Gunn had had his way, the Marvel Studios blockbuster that's arriving in theatres on August 1 to conquer the late-summer box office would be…Hit-Monkey. More »

Luc Besson feature
‘Lucy’ unleashed: Scarlett Johansson powers up in Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller

The big problem in writing about Lucy, opening July 25 from Universal, is not giving away too much. Writer-director Luc Besson is happy to discuss how he cast the movie, the problems he faced shooting it, and the intricate special-effects work required before its release. But he understandably doesn't want to reveal what happens. More »

Sex Tape feature
Lost in the Cloud: Jake Kasdan, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel make a comical ‘Sex Tape’

"You don't even have to ask—I'll volunteer that I don't have a sex tape," laughs Jake Kasdan over the phone from California. It's the answer to an unasked question that the 39-year-old writer, director and producer expects to be giving a lot in the near future, considering that the title of his latest film happens to be…Sex Tape. More »

Religious Films
Filmmakers find faith: Religious-themed stories make a comeback in theatres

“At the Producers Guild of America’s most recent conference, producer Mark Burnett got up and said he planned to spend the next 15 years making films about Jesus and the Bible,” recalls Dr. Ted Baehr, the founder of Movieguide, a publication that offers detailed analysis of current movies from a Christian and family-friendly perspective. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Hercules
Film Review: Hercules

Legendary strongman is caught in the middle of a brutal civil war in a fast-paced vehicle for Dwayne Johnson. 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