The Toys R Us store on La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard is likely to be swarmed by screenwriters and producers this week, given the $69-million opening of “The Lego Movie” over the weekend. If Legos can kill at the box office, they will be asking themselves, which toy on these shelves is the next hot property?
I only wish I had anticipated this trend. If I had simply written an action-packed script, hired a small film crew and reassembled the tens of thousands of Lego pieces my son long ago left packed away in the basement, I could be a millionaire by now. But who knew chunky little plastic people would be the new stars of Hollywood?
As Daniel Miller reported in The Times on Tuesday, not all toy- and game-based movies have been winners. But there have been enough good performers, such as the films inspired by the G.I. Joe action figure and the Transformers car/robots, that few in the motion picture business seem discouraged. Up next, Miller reports, are productions featuring Hot Wheels cars and the Ouija board, plus a Lego sequel.
Anyone who wants to take the low-budget route could follow the lead of my cartoon and do a stop-action movie with a few balls of Play-Doh. Suggestion: Don’t sweat the production values. Let Play-Doh be Play-Doh with lots of easy-to-create snakes and lumpy creatures whose legs and arms break off every minute or so. That is comedy in its purest juvenile form.
Here’s one other concept offered free of charge: Barbie has already been featured in dozens of cute animated movies geared to little girls. Maybe it’s time to give the gal with the impossibly proportioned body the kind of serious role such a big star deserves. It doesn’t have to go as far as “50 Shades of Grey,” but an adult theme for a Barbie movie would break new creative ground. Imagine the climactic bedroom scene where Barbie disrobes Ken and discovers there’s nothing down there.
That’s a shocker raw enough for HBO.