After four movies and over $1 billion worldwide, Warner Brothers has opted to get out of The Lego Movie business. It was being reported late last year that the studio had allowed their deal with The LEGO Group to lapse and that Universal was in talks for a brand new exclusive partnership. Now this week we have confirmation that Universal has completed a five-year deal that will lead to “development, production and theatrical distribution of films” based on the iconic building toy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is worth noting that it does not include theme park rights. Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, had this to say about the announcement:
“The LEGO System in Play gives people the ability to build worlds and create stories that they carry throughout every phase of their lives… To partner with such an iconic brand that remains relevant and is constantly evolving allows for creativity in storytelling. 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.”
This is a big win for Universal, who have always been a little lighter on major IPs and established franchises than some of the other studios. There is already talk that they could use it as a tie-in with a few of the big franchises they do have including Jurassic Park or Fast & Furious. Warner Brothers retains the rights to the films that they made previously, but it seems a bit unclear whether Universal will be allowed to create sequels to any of the existing Lego movies. Based on the disappointing box office numbers for The Lego Movie 2, however, maybe that doesn’t matter. (They certainly wouldn’t be able to use Batman, at any rate.) Do you think this is a good move for Universal or have people already lost interest in Lego on the big screen?