The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie PromotionalPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris McKay
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on
Starring
Music by Lorne Balfe[1]
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures[3]
Release date
  • January 29, 2017 (2017-01-29) (Dublin)[4]
  • February 9, 2017 (2017-02-09) (Denmark)
  • February 10, 2017 (2017-02-10) (United States)
  • March 30, 2017 (2017-03-30) (Australia)
Running time
104 minutes[5]
Country
  • United States
  • Denmark
  • Australia
Language English
Budget $80 million[6]
Box office $312 million[7]

The Lego Batman Movie is a 2017 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film, produced by Warner Animation Group. It was directed by Chris McKay, and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington, and produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Based on the Lego Batman toy line, the film is an international co-production of the United States, Australia, and Denmark, and the first spin-off installment of The Lego Movie franchise. The story focuses on the DC Comics character Batman as he attempts to overcome his greatest fear to stop the Joker's latest plan, with Will Arnett reprising his role as Batman for the film, along with Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes.

The Lego Batman Movie had its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland on January 29, 2017,[4] and was released in the United States on February 10, 2017.[8] Internationally, the film was released in 3D, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX 3D. The film received positive reviews, with critics praising its animation, voice acting, soundtrack, visual style, and humor, and grossed $312 million worldwide.

Plot

In the Lego Universe, Batman continues to protect Gotham City and fight crime. During his latest mission to stop Joker from destroying the city, he hurts his arch-rival's feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading Joker to seek the ultimate revenge on him. The following day, Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, attends the city's winter gala, which is celebrating both the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as the city's new police commissioner, only to be infuriated by Barbara's plans to restructure the police to function without the need of Batman. Without warning, Joker crashes the party with the city's other villains, all of whom surrender, with the exception of Harley Quinn who disappears during the confusion.

Suspecting his arch-rival is up to something, Batman plots to steal Superman's Phantom Zone Projector, a device that can banish anyone to the Phantom Zone which houses some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego multiverse. Just as he plans his heist of the device, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala. Reluctantly agreeing to do so, Batman fosters Dick as Robin, whereupon the pair successfully recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, and break into Arkham Asylum to send Joker to the Phantom Zone. Suspecting that the Joker wanted to be sent there, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin for their reckless actions.

While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley steals it back as part of Joker's plan and frees him, allowing him to return to Gotham with all the villains he had recruited in the Phantom Zone, including King Kong, the Gremlins, the Wicked Witch of the West, a Tyrannosaurus and a Velociraptor, Lord Voldemort, Sauron, the Jaws shark, the Daleks, Lord Vampyre, Agent Smith and his clones, and the Kraken. Realizing that the city does need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and teams up with them and Alfred to stop the Joker. Although Batman finds himself able to trust and rely on his new team upon reaching Wayne Island, he chooses to send them away rather than losing them like his parents. Upon facing him alone, Joker believes that Batman is incapable of change and zaps him to the Phantom Zone before stealing the Batcave's stash of confiscated bombs. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm his selfishness has caused to everyone and slowly accepts his greatest fear. Making a deal with the Zone's gatekeeper Phyllis, a talking Lego brick, to be allowed back to Gotham in order to retrieve the Zone's escaped prisoners, Batman arrives in time to save his teammates, apologizing to them for his actions, and requesting their help to stop Joker.

Realizing that Joker plans to use the explosives he took to destroy the city's Energy Facility, thus causing the city to come apart and be destroyed, Batman turns Barbara into Batgirl, before he, his team, and Gotham City's other villains, who felt neglected by Joker, manage to successfully send the escaped villains back to the Phantom Zone. However, the group fail to stop Joker's bombs going off as the explosion begins to tear the city apart at the plates beneath it. Knowing this was his fault, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the true reason for being the hero he is before they, their friends and allies, and the city's inhabitants, chain-link themselves together and pull the plates back together, saving the city.

With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain only to be rejected by Phyllis who chooses to let him remain after seeing how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to temporarily escape with the confidence that whenever they return, they will be no match for the Batman family.

Cast

Production

Chris McKay, the animation supervisor on The Lego Movie, director of The Lego Batman Movie.[22]

After the success of The Lego Movie, Warner Bros. gave the green light to further multiple Lego movies being produced, including The Lego Batman Movie; Chris McKay, who co-directed The Lego Movie, was brought on board to direct the film, marking this as his solo directorial debut.[23] In an interview about his work on the film, McKay stated that working on the film was "a very mixed blessing" owing partly to the film's hectic time schedule for its production, remarking that the two and half years allocated to the film made it difficult to fit in everything that he wanted for the movie, considering his earlier work on The Lego Movie.[23][24] His work on The Lego Batman Movie was influenced by the comedy portrayed in both The Naked Gun and Airplane! film series, with his pitch for the film to the studios being described as like "Jerry Maguire as directed by Michael Mann".[24] His proposal to combine all the Batman eras featured in the comic book series and various media formats, including movies and comic series, despite a couple of issues--the total inconsistency inherent to such a task, and Lego rejecting some of the characters he proposed to include in the film--was based on his desire of how to portray Robin within the film's setting. In an interview regarding his version of the superhero duo, McKay stated:[24]

"I was thinking that we were basically taking the Burt Ward Robin and sticking him in the Batmobile with the Zack Snyder/Ben Affleck Batman, or the Frank Miller Batman. And putting these two different energies together. Somebody who's like the grumpiest, dark grittiest, broodiest Batman with the most positive, indefatigable kid."

Batman and pop culture references

As part of its production, the movie was designed to make numerous references to previous Batman movies, cartoons and comics. These include: the 1940s Batman serials; the films Batman (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Suicide Squad (2016); the television shows Batman (1960s), Batman: The Animated Series (1990s), Batman Beyond (2000s), and The Batman (2000s); and the comics Detective Comics #27 (Batman's introductory story), The Dark Knight Returns (1986), and Gotham by Gaslight (1989).[25] Other references include previous costumes worn by Batman and Robin, and the various Batmobiles used. In most cases, their appearances in the movie are done in a Lego style, with the exception being footage from a live-action shot of Adam West's depiction of Batman in the 1960s Batman show and a picture of Batman's suit from Batman and Robin. Climactic events from past Batman films including the Joker have been mentioned, including "that time with the parade and the Prince music" (1989's Batman) and "the two boats" (The Dark Knight).[25]

Alongside Joker, the main antagonist of the film's story, and Superman, who features heavily and has notable links to the Christopher Reeve films Superman (1978) and its sequel Superman II (1980), many other DC characters, both villains associated with Batman and other DC superheroes, feature in the film. The film's villains who have been featured in Batman comics, films and cartoons include: Man-Bat; Captain Boomerang; Egghead; Crazy Quilt; Eraser; Polka-Dot Man; Mime; Tarantula; King Tut from the 1960s series; Killer Moth; March Harriet; Zodiac Master; the Mutant Leader from The Dark Knight Returns; Doctor Phosphorus; Magpie; Calculator; Hugo Strange; an unidentified version of Red Hood; the Kabuki Twins from The Batman; Orca; Gentleman Ghost; Clock King; Calendar Man; Kite Man; Catman; Zebra-Man; and a variation of Condiment King from Batman: The Animated Series.[25] The other DC heroes who feature, both from the Justice League and Super Friends, include: Wonder Woman; Aquaman; Cyborg; Green Arrow; Black Canary; Hawkman; Hawkgirl; Martian Manhunter; Apache Chief; Black Vulcan; El Dorado; Samurai; Wonder Dog; the Wonder Twins; and Gleek. Although not part of the DC franchise, Iron Man from Marvel Comics is referenced in the movie as part of a small joke about Batman's password for entering the Batcave in reference to the famous rivalry between DC and Marvel.[25]

The film also features characters from other notable franchises and movie series, with them following the same narrative of The Lego Movie in that they came from worlds that co-exist alongside others of the Lego Universe, which are made up of Lego playsets of the various media franchises. These additional characters include: Medusa; the Swamp Creature, Evil Mummy, and Lord Vampyre from Lego Monster Fighters; King Kong; the Daleks from Doctor Who; the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz; the Kraken from Clash of the Titans; Agent Smith and his clones from The Matrix; the great white shark from Jaws; Voldemort from Harry Potter; the Eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings; the Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptors from Jurassic Park; and the Gremlins.[25][26] The way in which the Gremlins attack a plane references The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet".[27]

The film also includes Batman watching the scene from Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise says "You complete me"; this line had previously been quoted by The Joker in The Dark Knight.[25] When Batman discusses possible team names, he mentions "Fox Force Five," which was the name of a failed television pilot mentioned in Pulp Fiction.[28] The film's use of Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" is a nod to the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed.[28] The film's other references include Gleaming the Cube and Gymkata.[27]

A scene from The Lego Movie was reused in the film, where Emmet is going down the portal to the real world.

Soundtrack

The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Lorne Balfe, various artists
Released February 3, 2017
Recorded 2016
Trackdown Studios (Sydney)
Genre Film soundtrack, film score
Label WaterTower Music
Lorne Balfe chronology

The film's original score was composed by Lorne Balfe and features Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith.[29][30] The soundtrack was released on February 3, 2017, on CD and for digital download, while the vinyl version was released on May 19, 2017.[]

Track listing
Disc 1
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Who's the (Bat) Man"Patrick Stump3:04
2."Forever"DNCE3:49
3."(I Just) Died in Your Arms"Cutting Crew4:36
4."Invincible"Kirsten Arian2:59
5."One"Harry Nilsson2:22
6."Heroes (We Could Be)" (Hard Rock Sofa and Skidka Remix)Alesso feat. Tove Lo6:35
7."Man in the Mirror"Alex Aiono3:48
8."Friends Are Family"Oh, Hush! feat. Will Arnett and Jeff Lewis2:25
9."I Found You"Fraser Murray3:34
10."Forever"Justin Tranter3:49
11."Man in the Mirror"Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine1:49
12."Everything Is Awesome"Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine2:03
Disc 2
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Black"Lorne Balfe7:32
2."Your Greatest Enemy"Lorne Balfe2:42
3."The Arrival of Robin"Lorne Balfe2:52
4."Joker Crashes the Party"Lorne Balfe1:33
5."No Seat Belts Required"Lorne Balfe2:18
6."To Cage the Joker"Lorne Balfe1:59
7."The Phantom Zone"Lorne Balfe3:37
8."Open for Business"Lorne Balfe1:09
9."Chaos in Gotham"Lorne Balfe3:20
10."Lava Attack"Lorne Balfe7:40
11."For Your Own Good"Lorne Balfe1:45
12."Joker Manor"Lorne Balfe2:29
13."Batman's in the Zone"Lorne Balfe4:40
14."The Babs Signal"Lorne Balfe2:25
15."Battle Royale"Lorne Balfe4:54
16."A Long Farewell"Lorne Balfe2:49

Release

The film's world premiere was conducted in Dublin, Ireland on January 29, 2017,[4] whereupon it went into general release from February 8; it was released in Denmark on February 9, and in the United States the day after.[31] Its overall release saw movie theatres displaying the film in 3D, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX, though the latter format was restricted to 2D for North America, while international countries were able to view it in IMAX 3D.[32]

Marketing

Will Arnett promoting the film at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con.

The first teaser trailer for The Lego Batman Movie was released on March 24, 2016, and features the song "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa.[33] It was attached to showings of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theatres. A second teaser trailer was released on March 28, 2016, and features references to all live-action iterations of Batman, from the 1960s Batman TV series to Batman v Superman. A third trailer was released on July 23, 2016.[34] A fourth trailer was released on November 4, 2016.[35][36] Over twenty Lego sets inspired by scenes from the film were released for the film including two sets of Collectible Minifigures. A Story Pack for the toys-to-life video game Lego Dimensions based on The Lego Batman Movie was released on February 10, 2017, alongside the film. The pack adds a six-level story campaign adapting the events of the film, and includes playable figures of Robin and Batgirl, a driveable Batwing, and a constructible gateway model based on the Batcomputer. A Fun Pack including Excalibur Batman and his Bionic Steed was also released the same day.[37]

On January 14, 2017, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chevrolet unveiled a life-sized Lego Batmobile inspired by the design featured in the film, constructed from around 350,000 Lego pieces. As a related promotion, a Bat-Signal (alternating between Batman's emblem and the Chevrolet logo) was projected on the Renaissance Center over the weekend, and Chevrolet released a new television commercial tying into the film, featuring the Batmobile as a crossover with its ongoing "Real People, Not Actors" campaign.[38][39]

Warner Bros. released several promotional tie-ins on the week of the movie's release. LEGO billboard versions of several TV shows were shown outside of the studio lot, that took 300 hours to make out of 10,000 bricks.[40]The Big Bang Theory included a LEGO version of the opening sequence in the episode "The Locomotion Reverberation" that first aired on CBS. In addition, the network aired two LEGO commercials featuring Batman and the cast.[41]

The CW featured LEGO end cards for Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow, respectively, on the week of the movie's release. All four DC shows also include a special variant of the Berlanti Productions logo that featured Batman's cameo and a new recording from Greg Berlanti's real-life father who says "Batman move your head" instead of the usual "Greg move your head". In addition, the network aired two commercials where Batman interacts with the characters from each show.[42]

Home media

The Lego Batman Movie was released on Digital HD on May 19, 2017. The release included the theatrical short film The Master: A Lego Ninjago Short, as well as four new short films: Dark Hoser, Batman is Just Not That Into You, Cooking with Alfred and Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?.[43]The Lego Batman Movie was released on DVD, Blu-ray (2D and 3D), and Ultra HD Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on June 13, 2017.[43] The film debuted at No. 3 on the NPD VideoScan overall disc sales chart.[44]

Reception

Box office

The Lego Batman Movie grossed $175.8 million in the United States and Canada and $136.2 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $311.9 million, against a production budget of $80 million.[7]

In the United States and Canada, The Lego Batman Movie opened alongside two other sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter 2, and was projected to gross around $60 million in its opening weekend.[45] It earned $2.2 million from Thursday-night previews and $15 million on Friday.[46] It went on to open with $53 million, finishing first at the box office.[47] In its second weekend, the film grossed $32.7 million (a drop of 38.4%), again topping the box office;[48][49] with the additional President's Day holiday on Monday, it made a total of $42.7 million for the weekend.[50] In its third weekend of release, the film dropped to second at the box office, behind newcomer Get Out, grossing $19.2 million (a drop of 41.2%).[51]

Outside North America the film was simultaneously released in 61 countries, and was expected to gross around $40 million over its first three days.[45] It ended up grossing $37 million in its opening weekend, including $9.3 million in the United Kingdom, $2.6 million in Mexico, $2.3 million in Germany and $2.2 million in Russia.[52]

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 90% based on 277 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise's winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny--and beautifully animated--family-friendly mayhem."[53] It was ranked 12th Best Superhero Movie of All Time on Rotten Tomatoes.[] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 75 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[54] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[55]

Mike Ryan of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, praising its comedy, and saying: "The LEGO Batman Movie isn't the same experience as watching The LEGO Movie, but I also don't think it's trying to be. It's trying to be a fun superhero movie with clever callbacks to previous Batman films (every single Batman movie all the way back to the 1940s serials are referenced) that can, at least, provide DC superhero fans with a taste of fun amidst all the doom and gloom. (That can either be a reference to 'the real world' or the current DC Cinematic Universe films, you can choose either one you want or both.) And at that, The LEGO Batman Movie succeeds."[56] Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" and wrote, "LEGO Batman revs so fast and moves so frenetically that it becomes a little exhausting by the end. It flirts with being too much of a good thing. But rarely has corporate brainwashing been so much fun and gone down with such a delightful aftertaste."[57] Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times was positive in his review, saying, "In its best moments, this gag-a-minute Bat-roast serves as a reminder that, in the right hands, a sharp comic scalpel can be an instrument of revelation as well as ridicule."[58] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post praised the film for its heart, humor, and action which, "snap together, with a satisfying click."[59]

Accolades

List of Accolades
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
AACTA Awards December 6, 2017 Best Sound Gregg Landaker, Rick Lisle, Wayne Pashley, Fabian Sanjurgo and Michael Semanick Nominated [60]
Best Visual Effects or Animation Rob Coleman, Damien Gray, Miles Green, Amber Naismith and Craig Welsh
Annie Awards February 3, 2018 Directing in a Feature Production Chris McKay [61]
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Zach Galifianakis
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production David Burrows, Matt Villa and John Venzon
American Cinema Editors January 26, 2018 Best Edited Animated Feature Film [62]
Art Directors Guild January 27, 2018 Excellence in Production Design for an Animated Film Grant Freckelton [63]
Cinema Audio Society Awards February 24, 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture - Animated Jason Oliver, Michael Semanick, Gregg Landaker, Wayne Pashley, Stephen Lipson and Lisa Simpson [64]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 11, 2018 Best Animated Film Chris McKay [65]
Detroit Film Critics Society December 7, 2017 Best Animated Film The LEGO Batman Movie Won [66]
Empire Awards March 18, 2018 Best Animated Film Nominated [67]
[68]
Florida Film Critics Circle December 23, 2017 Best Animated Film [69]
Georgia Film Critics Association January 12, 2018 Best Animated Film [70]
Golden Tomato Awards January 3, 2018 Best Animated Film 2nd Place [71]
Golden Trailer Awards June 6, 2017 Best Animation/Family Won [72]
Most Original Trailer Nominated
Golden Reel Awards February 18, 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Feature Animation Wayne Pashley, Rick Lisle, Fabian Sanjurjo, Andrew Miller, Mario Gabrieli, Jared Dwyer, Emma Mitchell, Nigel Christensen, Terry Rodman, Christopher S. Aud, F. Hudson Miller, Beth Bezzina, Sonal Joshi, Derryn Pasquill, Linda Yeaney, John Simpson and Will Kaplan [73]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 16, 2017 Best Original Score - Animated Film Lorne Balfe [74]
Houston Film Critics Society January 6, 2018 Best Animated Film The LEGO Batman Movie [75]
Heartland Film Festival October 22, 2017 Truly Moving Picture Award Chris McKay Won [76]
IGN Awards December 19, 2017 Best Animated Movie The LEGO Batman Movie Runner-up [77]
Kids' Choice Awards March 24, 2018 Favorite Animated Film Nominated [78]
Movieguide Awards March 2018 Best Movie for Families [79]
MTV Movie & TV Awards May 7, 2017 Best Comedic Performance Will Arnett [80]
[81]
Online Film Critics Society December 28, 2017 Best Animated Film The LEGO Batman Movie [82]
[83]
Producers Guild of America Award January 20, 2018 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Dan Lin, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller [84]
Satellite Awards February 10, 2018 Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature The LEGO Batman Movie [85]
St. Louis Film Critics Association December 17, 2017 Best Animated Feature Chris McKay [86]
Teen Choice Awards August 13, 2017 Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Will Arnett [87]
Visual Effects Society February 13, 2018 Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Rob Coleman, Amber Naismith, Grant Freckelton and Damien Gray [88]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 8, 2017 Best Animated Feature The LEGO Batman Movie [89]
Best Animated Voice Performance Will Arnett
Michael Cera

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