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Warner Bros. exec tells me @TheLEGOMovie sequel is all-but-guaranteed. And it could open in a more competitive period -- summer or holiday.— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) February 9, 2014
That Tweet belongs to L.A. Times film reporter Amy Kaufman, who confirms what we already basically knew: A sequel to Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The LEGO Movie is in the works at Warner Bros., with plans underway to figure out how, where and when the "Special" known as Emmet (Chris Pratt) can snap back into action.
We are in the earliest stages of the game, but there are a few details we can report on the LEGO Movie sequel, starting with…
Who’s Writing It?Even before The LEGO Movie opened to $69 million at the box office – good for the second-highest February opening number of all time – Warner Bros. started the ball rolling on a second LEGO adventure. As we reported earlier, the studio hired screenwriters Jared Stern and Michelle Morgan to begin exploring possible storylines for a second LEGO movie. As far as we know, they are typing away on a screenplay as you are reading this.
Who are they? Stern’s writing credits include two Vince Vaughn vehicles, The Watch and The Internship. He also contributed additional story materials to Bolt, The Princess and the Frog and Wreck-It Ralph. But he also wrote Mr. Popper’s Penguins for Jim Carrey.
Morgan, meanwhile, wrote and produced Kristen Wiig’s recent Girl Most Likely (which was funnier than people give it credit for). And she directed a well-received short title K.I.T., about a guilt-ridden yuppie who wants to prove to people she’s a good person.
So, we have screenwriters. Do we have a director?
Who Will Direct It?You know which two names I don’t hear tied to The LEGO Movie yet? Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the original directors who, I believe, go a LONG way to making sure that the initial movie works as well as it does.
The duo currently is putting the finishing touches on their sequel 22 Jump Street (due in theaters on June 13). But they don’t have an announced project on the slate after that. The fact that the creative duo was willing to return to Jump Street encourages me that they are open and willing to doing sequels. (If you recall, they passed on the opportunity to do a sequel to their own Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.) If Warner Bros. wants to make sure that its LEGO sequel stays on a successful track, they will make a solid offer to Lord and Miller to continue the work they started in this first movie.
Now, animated sequels don’t always HAVE to maintain their original storytellers. Lee Unkrich took over for John Lasseter on Toy Story 3 (though Unkrich is a long-time Pixar guy who contributed to almost every major Pixar film prior to helming the third and final Toy Story). But I really hope Lord and Miller stay on board as directors. In a video interview with Collider, the duo say, "It looks like, if the sequel happens, that we’ll be producing it. And if you have any ideas for what the sequel should have, that would be really useful."
It’s not too late, Warner Bros. Lock these guys up. They are the beating heart of this movie, and the sequel kind of needs them. They have time to develop ideas! Which brings us to the next point.
Realistically, When Could We See The LEGO Movie 2?Sooner than you think… but not any time soon.
Based on everything people tied to The LEGO Movie said in interviews, they really were waiting to see how audiences responded to the first movie before putting all of their chips into the "pot" of a second movie. This wasn’t a slam dunk like, say, a Marvel movie, where Thor 3 can be in the works long before Thor: The Dark World opens because you just know people are going to turn out. LEGO had to prove it had an audience. Now that it has, the studio can – and will – move forward.
But even though animation takes a lot of time, producer Dan Lin happened to tell Collider that the work on the original movie means the team is slightly ahead of the curve, meaning a sequel shouldn’t take the requisite four or five years to reach theaters.
I’m hoping it’ll be faster, because the technology now we’ve developed so that we can make the movie faster. What’s gonna be the hold up is the story, and we just talked about it yesterday with the filmmaking team, if we’re lucky enough to make a sequel, we don’t want to be rushing to the sequel. We want to make sure we’re telling the best story possible. We’re getting some amazing reactions to the first movie, so it’s already setting a high bar for the sequel, so yes — on a technology, filmmaking basis, we’ve been augmenting LEGO digital builder, so we have the technology to make the movie faster. The question is how do we create an emotional, funny, epic story that’ll beat this first movie? That’ll take the most time."
If Kaufman’s Tweet is accurate and Warner wants to eyeball a summer release for LEGO 2, they could be looking at Summer 2016, where they only have Batman vs. Superman slated for May 6, 2016 at the moment. Beyond that, it’s the Wild West frontier, with blockbusters still waiting to snatch up valuable "territory" at neighborhood theaters. But we agree that story should come first, so take your time, Warner, and make a sequel that lives up to the original LEGO Movie. The bar has been set pretty high.