Licenses to “Star Wars,” “The Simpsons,” DC and Marvel’s superheroes, and its own films like “The Lego Movie” have helped make Lego the world’s largest toy company when it comes to revenue and profits, beating Mattel and Hasbro.
At least that’s for the first six months of the year.
Lego attributed much of this year’s success so far to “The Lego Movie,” which helped boost sales by 11% during the first six months of the year, the company said.
“The Lego Movie,” which was produced for $60 million, went on to earn more than $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.
“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. In fact, sales rose more than 50% in China during the six-month period.
The Danish brick maker generated $2.03 billion in the first six months of the year — eking out Mattel, which earned $2 billion in sales — while profits rose 14% to $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 kids 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 $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 [The Lego Movie] line will continue to develop,” said Lego chief Jørgen 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 installment of “The Hobbit” trilogy.