Attempting to predict box office results is a fool’s errand, but it’s safe to say at this point that The Lego Movie, which opens this Friday in the U.S., will be a big hit. And I mean, huge. The box office will be much bigger than I imagine most industry observers are anticipating. Its distributor Warner Bros. knows they’ve got a hit of some sort on their hands, so much so that they’re already started laying the groundwork for a sequel.
The studio has released loads of clips ahead of the film’s release, perhaps to make clear that this is not standard-fare family CGI. The film’s humor skews older than the typical PG animated movie, and I expect it will attract neglected teen audiences who have aged out of the stream of tonally indistinguishable CG pics pumped out by other studios.
The quirky visual approach to such unquirky material as Legos can be attributed to the film’s directing duo, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have carved out a unique niche in Hollywood without being identified for any single project. Unlike animation creators like South Park’s Trey Park and Matt Stone, or the ubiquitous Seth MacFarlane, Lord and Miller aren’t known for any particular style. In fact, their two most significant animated projects prior to The Lego Movie could not be more different: the Teletoon/MTV series Clone High and Sony Picture Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. In between those, they’ve also worked as writers and exec producers on the TV series How I Met Your Mother and directed the successful live-action feature-based-on-the-TV-series 21 Jump Street. The Lego Movie may be the clearest expression yet of Lord and Miller’s stil-evolving voice as animation filmmakers.