A Lego brick figurine of Emmet Brickowoski, a character from “The Lego Movie”, stands in the reception area at the headquarters of Lego A/S in Billund, Denmark. (Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg)

‘Lego Movie 2’ to Test Whether Bricks Still Click With Kids

(Bloomberg) -- Do movie audiences have an appetite for all things Lego: Lego superheroes, Lego aliens, Lego dinosaurs?

“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” puts that question to the test. It’s the fourth feature-length movie for the Warner Bros. franchise -- including the original “Lego Movie” in 2014 and others devoted to Batman and the Ninjago world of martial-arts characters -- and its success will determine whether more films are coming soon.

‘Lego Movie 2’ to Test Whether Bricks Still Click With Kids

Dan Lin, a producer of all four films, said in an interview he and the studio haven’t yet committed to a fifth movie. “The Second Part” is an opportunity to see if moviegoers still want to see characters depicted as Lego figurines. If it’s a hit, more projects may come, including TV shows.

“The Second Part” takes some risks, he said. There’s a lot more music and new characters, including Tiffany Haddish as a shape-shifting queen and Stephanie Beatriz of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as the space-suited General Mayhem.

“It’s a test,” Lin said from his Lego-adorned Los Angeles office. “It’s a way for us to experiment. There are lot of new voices.”

Estimates for weekend ticket sales were lowered to $30 million by Box Office Pro today from an earlier projection of as much as $55 million. Variety has estimated $31 million in sales from 4,303 North American locations. The movie racked up $8.5 million in sales on Friday, Variety said.

Surprise Hit

The original “Lego Movie” in 2014 proved to be a surprise hit with kids and adults who turned out for the film’s cheeky humor and catchy theme song, “Everything is Awesome.” Made for about $60 million, it grossed $469 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

The next picture in the series, 2017’s “The Lego Batman Movie,” brought in $312 million worldwide, while “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” released the same year, delivered a disappointing $123 million.

The “Ninjago” film was based on a specific toy line, and that was a mistake that Lin said he won’t repeat.

“The Second Part” has the benefit of mostly positive reviews: It’s recommended by 85 percent of critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes. The film features the voices of Chris Pratt as the hero Emmet Brickowski, and Elizabeth Banks as Lucy, his Ninja-like partner.

Ubiquitous Toys

The Lego business, which includes video games, TV shows and the ubiquitous toys, is considered a key pillar of Warner Bros.’ movie-franchise strategy, which also includes D.C. Comics and the “Harry Potter” series. The studio was one of the many media businesses acquired last year when AT&T Inc. bought Time Warner.

Among other new releases this weekend, the comedy “What Men Want” is expected to generate $24 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures. The film stars Taraji P. Henson of “Empire” and “Hidden Figures” as a woman who can hear men’s thoughts.

“Cold Pursuit,” a revenge film starring Liam Neeson, is projected to make $11.5 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. -- putting the movie at a distant third. The Irish actor stirred up controversy ahead of the film’s release when he used racially insensitive remarks in an interview when discussing the rape of a friend. He apologized.

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