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‘Lego’ pic to up spending in Australia

Film to generate up to $48 mil in local spending

Warner Bros.’ “Lego” movie will generate up to $48 million in local spending in Australia and be shot at Fox Studios Australia, local officials have announced.

Andrew Stoner, acting New South Wales premier and minister for trade disclosed details of the “Lego” project Wednesday at Fox Studios Australia alongside Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian. Variety reported last week that Warner Bros. had greenlit “Lego” with a target release date of 2014.

The NSW government provided the production with for the State’s film industry with assistance from NSW Trade & Investment’s State Investment Attraction Scheme.

“Congratulations to Animal Logic for beating strong international competition from the US and Canada to secure this major animated film production,” Stoner said. “The production of LEGO will see up to $48 million spent in NSW, which will include commitments to industry research, development and training. The film will employ over 200 people during its peak.”

Announcement came just before Warner’s opening of “Happy Feet 2,” from helmer George Miller and Dr. D Studios — five years after the original “Happy Feet” grossed $384 million worldwide and won the Oscar for animated feature as Animal Logic’s first CG feature.

“Lego” has been in development at Warner Bros. since 2008, when the studio began working with the toymaker on a family comedy based on the popular building blocks with Dan Lin and Roy Lee producing and the writing team of Dan and Kevin Hageman tapped to pen the script. In 2010, Warners brought on the “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to write and direct.

“‘Lego’ will be an innovative film incorporating the latest animation and photo-real techniques which will demonstrate the strength of NSW creative technology skills and enhance the international reputation of Sydney as a film location,” Stoner said.

Plot details for “Lego” — an action-adventure set in the Lego world — remain under wraps. Casting for the live-action characters is set to begin in January.

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