Lego® Movie Sees Success From Licensed Characters
The Lego® Movie opened last weekend in the US to stunning success, bringing in over $69 million in ticket sales. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about this success is that many of the characters in the movie aren’t original to Lego®. Instead, Lego® worked with Warner Brothers to fill the cast with Lego® versions of licensed characters, including Batman and Superman. As with most family movies, this also results in Lego® selling movie inspired toys that are also based on those licensed characters. But, in this case, Lego® was selling the toys first and is now adding the movie to entertain us and further promote its products.
As reported here, Lego® has overtaken Mattel and Hasbro as the most profitable toy maker in the world. Hasbro and Mattel have extensive lines of licensed toys as well, so Lego®’s success isn’t only about licensing. But the licensing deals, which started in the late 1990’s, have meant that Lego® Harry Potter and Star Wars toys are now invading American homes. Adding recognizable characters to the seemingly timeless attraction of the Lego® block system certainly seems to have been a good combination. This will be confirmed if the Batman Lego toy outsells the Emmet toy.
The success of licensing characters shows the power and importance of protecting your intellectual property. The creators of Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter and all of the other characters that Lego® uses are able to monetize their work, only because they took the time to protect it when they created it.
Attorney Jack Gross works with companies in all industries on advertising and intellectual property law.