Legos, Not Just For Kids

WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 01: A general view of atmosphere at the premiere of 'The LEGO Movie' at Regency Village Theatre on February 1, 2014 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images) i i
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 01: A general view of atmosphere at the premiere of 'The LEGO Movie' at Regency Village Theatre on February 1, 2014 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Have kids? Chances are you know about "The LEGO Movie." Actually, don't have kids? Chances are you still know about "The LEGO Movie." In fact, Reuters reports that 59 percent of the opening weekend audience was over the age of 18. (Adult Lego fans even have their own, albeit obvious, acronym — AFOL.)

Lego has a wide ranging audience, in part, because it's made strategic licensing agreements, buying exclusive rights to things that both kids and adults like. As our own Chana Joffe-Walt reported last year, creating toys for brands like Star Wars has helped the company stay ahead of the competitors like Mega Bloks:

David Robertson [author of Brick By Brick] says buying rights to "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" saved Lego. The money was huge. But more importantly, it taught Lego that what customers wanted to do with the blocks was tell stories. So Lego makes or licenses the stories customers want to tell.

Lego revenue versus mega revenue for 2011. i i
NPR
Lego revenue versus mega revenue for 2011.
NPR

In 2012, Lego capitalized on that strategy with new toys based on "Lord of the Rings" and the popular game "Minecraft." The company increased their revenue by 25 percent in 2012 to $4 billion dollars. Mega Bloks had a 12 percent jump over 2011 — with revenue over $420 million.

Telling its own story will, of course, give Lego a chance to sell even more products — Lego is releasing 17 building sets, a video game and lots of minifigures based on the film.

Of course, Lego didn't get to be the second largest toy-maker in the world just by latching onto other popular brands. As David Robertson told Chana — Lego is known in the industry for having impressive "clutch power," fancy toy speak for two bricks being able to snap easily and satisfyingly together and apart.

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