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Movies help make Lego the world's largest toymaker

By Marc GraserMovies - 05 September 2014 9:00 AM | Updated 4:05 PM

Movies help make Lego the world's largest toymaker

Lego has become one of the world's largest toy company when it comes to revenue and profits, beating Mattel and Hasbro – at least that is for the first six months of the year.

And this is thanks to licences to 'Star Wars', 'The Simpsons', DC and Marvel's superheroes, and its own films like 'The Lego Movie'.

Lego attributed much of this year's success so far to 'The Lego Movie', which helped boost sales by 11 per cent during the first six months of the year, the company said.

'The Lego Movie', which was produced for US$60 million (S$75 million), went on to earn more than US$468 million worldwide, and was backed by 17 playsets, minifigures, a videogame, theme park attraction, and slew of branded merchandise. The film is also available on homevideo platforms.

Read also: ‘Lego Movie’: A hilarious homage to the humble brick

"We are thrilled by the reception of 'The Lego Movie' products," said Lego Group chief financial officer John Goodwin, with company sales up double digits in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Sales rose more than 50 per cent in China during the six-month period.

The Danish brick maker generated US$2.03 billion in the first six months of the year – eking out Mattel, which earned $2 billion in sales – while profits rose 14 per cent to US$273 million.

While a deal with Lucasfilm to produce 'Star Wars' toys 15 years ago began Lego's relationship with Hollywood, the company has especially been aggressive lately in locking down licensing deals for more studio films and franchises as a way to keep children interested in its playsets and minifgures.

This year, that includes toys based on 'Star Wars', 'The Simpsons', 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'The Hobbit', DC's Batman', Superman and the rest of the Justice League, and Marvel's Avengers and Spider-Man.

A replica of 'The Simpsons' house sells for US$200.

In the past, Lego also had tie-ins with 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Harry Potter', 'Indiana Jones', 'The Lone Ranger', 'Prince of Persia', 'Toy Story' and 'Jurassic Park'.

Looking ahead, "it remains to be seen how the line (for The Lego Movie) will continue to develop," said Lego chief Jorgen Vig Knudstorp.

Lego hopes to replicate that success in 2017 when Warner Bros releases 'The Lego Movie 2'.

The studio also plans to release a movie based on Lego's Ninjago toy line, revolving around ninjas.

The company also should see a sales bump in the second half of the year, with Disney and Lucasfilm introducing a new 'Star Wars' animated series – ahead of next year's 'Star Wars: Episode VII' – and Warner Bros. launching the final instalment of 'The Hobbit' trilogy.

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The Lego Movie
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