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The Lego Movie proves a blockbuster hit for Sydney's Animal Logic studio

It's the movie that has put the block into blockbuster. While the cast is undeniably stiff and plastic, the story features Batman, Superman, Han Solo, Gandalf, the Simpsons, a Ninja Turtle and, ah, William Shakespeare.

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The Lego Movie - Trailer

Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world.

Quietly shot over 28 months in Sydney, The Lego Movie has become a surprise hit in the US - setting up a series that is expected to bring more animated work to Australia.

Directed by Americans Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, best known for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, it took $US69.1 million ($76.7 million) on its opening weekend.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Lego Movie is both one of the best-reviewed animated movies and an instant franchise for Warner Bros.

Made with digitally created Lego pieces, it centres on an unassuming Lego character called Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) who has to overthrow the tyrannical Lord Business (Will Ferrell) before he destroys the world. A crew of up to 300 created the movie at the animation studio and visual effects house Animal Logic, best known for Happy Feet and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, at Fox Studios.


''One of the key things for the directors was that it could look like a child had created it in their own basement at home,'' associate producer Amber Naismith said.

While most animations primarily appeal to families, Ms Naismith said the movie was also attracting what is known as the AFOL community - adult fans of Lego.

''Eighty per cent of the people on the first day were over 18,'' she said.

Co-editor Dave Burrows said there was initial cynicism about making a toy movie. ''Transformers was a success, Battleship was maybe not such a success,'' he said.

''But Phil and Chris took the toy very seriously.

''They really investigated what it is about the Lego toy that gives so much enjoyment and creative expression to people, and focused on that.''

The movie, which reputedly cost Warner Bros $US60 million, was made with federal and state government filmmaking incentives. Animal Logic managing director Zareh Nalbandian hopes to land the sequel.

''I hope it helps to demonstrate to the movie business the level of talent there is in Australia,'' he said from Los Angeles. ''The best way to make that statement is to have a big commercial success but we've got both a commercial success and a critical success.''

The Lego Movie opens in Australia on April 3.