LEGO movie rights go from Warner Bros. to Universal Pictures
After the poor performance of its last two LEGO pictures, Warner Bros. has let their movie rights to the toy property lapse. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it is Universal Pictures that is picking up the pieces in a deal that will give them exclusive rights to make films based on the 70-year-old LEGO brand.
Producer Dan Lin and his Rideback banner, which made the previous four theatrical films, remains attached to the new movies under the Universal umbrella.
The initial animated entry in the film franchise, 2014’s The LEGO Movie, was a mammoth surprise hit grossing 468.1 million. Unfortunately Warners struggled to recapture lighting in a bottle. In 2017 they released two spinoff films within six months of each other, one the decently-performing The LEGO Batman Movie ($312 million worldwide box office) and poorly received The LEGO Ninjago Movie ($123.1 million worldwide box office). This year’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was a big money loser for the studio, making only $191.3 million on a $100 million budget, despite bringing back Chris Pratt and the voice cast of the original hit. Ultimately oversaturation and time hadn’t been kind to the brand.
Before letting its rights lapse Warners was in development on two additional LEGO films, including The Billion Brick Race with Jason Segel providing the script and possibly directing, and a sequel to The LEGO Batman Movie with Chris McKay set to return as director and a 2022 release date. It is unclear if either of these projects will see fruition.