‘Lego Movie’ Builds Fortune

LegoWith its third weekend at the box office, The Lego Movie continues to build a fortune. According to The Wrap, the animated motion picture has amassed more than $225 million in less than a month. It has also stayed No. 1 the entire time and has remained in nearly 4,000 theaters worldwide. It has beaten out two blockbusters-to-be, 3 Days to Kill and Pompeii.

The movie is sure to boost sales for the popular toymaker, the LEGO Group. The highly successful movie features the voices of Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett. With its third smash weekend during which it pulled in $31.4 million, it was announced on The Wrap in a separate story that a sequel will be released in May of 2017. Warner Bros. will again be the studio behind it.

According to the manufacturer’s Web site, two abbreviated Danish words “leg godt” which translate to “play well” in English are the basis for the name.

A 2006 story in Bloomberg Businessweek reveals that as few as six basic bricks can be arranged in 915,103,765 ways. Although the LEGO toy sets of today are complex and dedicated puzzles, the once-simple blocks produced as far back as 1958 can interlock with the ones currently in stores.

It was in 1974 that the little yellow figures that are the characters in The Lego Movie were introduced. It was also during that decade that LEGO became widely popular in America. Since then, The LEGO Group has tied its toy to video games, movies and even offers an on-line design site that allows one to have a personalized LEGO model created from the virtual model.

Despite the seemingly simple low-tech aspect of the toy, it has remained popular with kids and adults alike. In 2009, the company released news that it was the world’s fifth-largest toy maker based on sales. That same year it also announced its partnership with Warner Bros. for The Lego Movie as one more way to build its fortune.

In 2012, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the company made $3.5 billion in revenue the previous year. It also explained that the way LEGO is able to maintain such consistent precision is that within each brick are three numbers that identify the brick’s mold and position. Should there be an ill-fitting brick, the mold can be quickly identified and rectified.

But success was not always the case for LEGO, according to a book published in 2013. Titled Brick by Brick and written by Wharton MBA instructor David Robertson, the author’s Web site claims the book delves into the little-known behind-the-scenes business of the company including a near-failure in 2003. Robertson also worked closely with LEGO during the years 2002 through 2010 while he was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management.

The family-owned business is expected to remain a best-seller wherever it goes, and the next LEGO movie is sure to be as big a success as the one currently in theaters. Although the company long ago lost the patent rights to its building block design, it has continued to build a fortune through movie rights and other innovative partnerships.

By Randall Fleming
Follow Randall Fleming on Twitter: #BreweryObserver

Sources:
The Wrap
Bloomberg Businessweek
The Wrap
NPR
Brick by Brick

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