The GeeksverseSpotlight on The LEGO Movie minifigures

Spotlight on The LEGO Movie minifigures
Published on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 by
The critical and box-office success of The LEGO Movie and the popularity of its affiliated minifigures has us thinking about the enduring appeal of everybody’s favorite interlocking plastic bricks.

It seems like you can’t turn on the TV or go on the Internet these days without seeing an ad for The LEGO Movie, the full-length animated feature film (feature commercial?) that went into wide theatrical release last weekend. By most accounts, the film has been met with positive critical acclaim—as of this writing, its Metacritic score is holding steady at 82%, putting it ahead of critical darling The Wolf of Wall Street (75%) and holiday-release blockbuster The Hobbitt: The Desolation of Smaug (66%)—and it’s raking in the box-office receipts as well: With an opening weekend take of over $69 million, the film has posted the second-highest grossing February weekend debut of all time, behind only 2004’s The Passion of the Christ. The film’s total gross though February 11, four days after it went into wide release, is at $93 million, already making back (and then some) its $60 million production budget.

Naturally, LEGO has a toyline based on the film (or is it the other way around?). I recently purchased a few of the wildly popular blind-bagged The LEGO Movie minifigures ($2.99 MSRP), and only received two duplicates! Some of them have multiple expressions by rotating the heads, most have some sort of accessory, and all include a stand, and mini-poster/checklist/advert. Check out the gallery of my minifigure haul below:

Denmark’s LEGO—LEGO is an abbreviation of the Danish words leg godt (“play well” in English)—has really been making huge strides in maintaining its relevance and even raising its profile recent years. The company has shown a remarkable resilience in a day and age when pundits and industry observers can and do make the claim that video games have replaced physical toys as the preferred plaything of today’s children (and adults!). Last year, the Danish firm passed the US-based Hasbro as the second-largest toy manufacturer in the world, doing so despite not resorting to cost-cutting measures like moving its production to places like China (LEGO will begin construction of its first Chinese production facility later this year, however).

A lot of that success is due to LEGO’s savvy business sense, rock-solid logistics and distribution, its smart management of third-party licenses like Star Wars, DC Superheroes, Marvel Superheroes, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; and the cultivation of original toylines like Bionicle, Ninjago, and Legends of Chima that lend themselves well to multimedia adaptation. Tying together everything the company does is its laser-like focus on doing what are practically variations on a single toy design theme—interlocking plastic bricks—and the versatility of that theme providing an almost unparalleled potential in the commercial toy space for creative, social, open-ended, and even educational play that transcends the preconceived notions that restrict a toy’s appeal to limited age or gender-based categories.

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