If you have a kid, you're probably taking them to see "The LEGO Movie" this weekend.
That's a good bet since the Warner Bros. film based on the brick toys is expected to have a huge opening.
All of the reviews for the film so far have been overwhelmingly positive. (It currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.) Box office estimates are tracking the film to bring in $40 million.
We were able to see a screening of the movie this weekend filled with families — probably the best audience with which to gauge the film. The kids loved it, the adults seemed to enjoy it, and we had a blast also.
The movie comes from Phil Lord and Chris Miller — the minds behind the successful "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "21 Jump Street" franchises.
"The LEGO Movie" follows Emmet (Chris Pratt) as he tries to stop the evil President Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the LEGO world with a mysterious weapon named "Kragle." (Spoiler: It's Krazy Glue.)
Warner Bros. is so sure the movie will do well that it already announced plans for a sequel. It's not difficult to see why. This could very well be a lucrative animated franchise for the studio.
Here's why "The LEGO Movie" should crush it this weekend:
1. Appeals to both boys and girls
While "Frozen" may have sneakily got boys into theater seats with its clever marketing (it's really a girl-power film), "The LEGO Movie" caters to both audiences with a wide range of characters.
Elizabeth Banks offers a strong female lead in the form of tough, no nonsense Wildstyle. Young boys will be taken with the appearance of Batman (Will Arnett) — during a late night appearance earlier this week on David Letterman, Arnett said his kids were already referring to the film as the "Batman: LEGO Movie."
Page 2 of 3 - This was probably the smartest move Warner Bros. could ask for given the Caped Crusader's popularity in both video games and Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.
While Batman's presence is prominent in the film, Chris Pratt ("Parks and Recreation") voices the hero kids will rally behind, Emmet, and Alison Bree ("Community") voices a chipper, upbeat unicorn / cat mix.
2. Not Just A Kiddie Movie
The movie contains a mix of new and classic nostalgic LEGOS for an older audience to appreciate. Moviegoers may recognize space-themed LEGO sets they played with from the late '70s and early '80s on screen. Older viewers will also want to look out for humorous one-liners that will go over kid's heads. Arnett makes a few clever asides as Batman.
However, it's the end of the film that will really resonate with adults, bringing up the question of whether LEGOs are toys or collector's items meant for display. (It's a topic that keen eyes will remember was addressed in "Toy Story 2" and works also in this "toy story.")
Major spoiler: In an unexpected twist, the film removes itself from the animated world to reveal that the entire movie is the construct of a young boy's imagination. He sneaks down into the basement of his house to play with his father's (played by Will Ferrell!) elaborate LEGO collection that is permanently held together by Krazy Glue. MAJOR SPOILER
3. Smart Marketing
Theaters have had giant LEGO replicas of its main characters including the Caped Crusader in movie theaters.
Trailers prominently featured Batman to sell the movie to kids. Warner Bros. also released a clever parody trailer mocking "Man of Steel." Behind-the-scenes teasers had no problem poking fun at the movie itself.
This one from Will Arnett is gold.
Ahead of the movie's release, LEGO familiarized kids with the film's characters by releasing a series of LEGO sets featuring scenes from the film. Separately, the company released 16 minifigures for purchase.
Page 3 of 3 - 4. Dominance of the LEGO brand
LEGOs have always been a popular toy, not only for the nostalgic factor with parents, but also the educational value in the individual sets.
Since 1997, in addition to selling brick sets, LEGO has put out a successful line of companion video games to popular movie franchises from "Harry Potter" to "Batman" and "Lord of the Rings." The Lego Batman series alone has sold 14.4 million copies as of last year.
5. Catchy Song
It isn't Oscar-nominated "Let It Go" from "Frozen," but kids will definitely walk out of the theater singing "Everything is Awesome."
The lyrics aren't groundbreaking — Everything is awesome / Everything is cool when you're part of a team / Everything is awesome / When we're living our dream — but they are upbeat, send a positive message that parents will be okay with, and are undeniably infectious.
Parents and older audiences may recognize the simple song from Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island.
Listen to a preview of the song from the opening sequence of the film below. Just seeing the animated world of Legos on screen is, well, awesome.