Characters Unikitty, Emmet, Vitruvius and Wyldstyle in a scene from The Lego Movie.
Characters Unikitty, Emmet, Vitruvius and Wyldstyle in a scene from The Lego Movie. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

Meet the Aussie animation team behind The LEGO Movie

WHAT can you make with 15 million Lego bricks?

A worldwide box office hit, as the team at Animal Logic have discovered.

The Sydney-based animation and special effects company is behind the new animated Lego Movie which has spent three straight weeks at the top of the US box office.

So far it has grossed more than $243 million in the US, easily recouping its $60 million budget in its American opening weekend alone.

The film doesn't open in Australia until April 3, but has already done so well that a sequel has been scheduled to open in the US on the Memorial Day long weekend in 2017.

"It has pretty much been released everywhere now apart from Germany and Australia. We've been dying for it to open up here," producer Amber Naismith told APN.

"We always knew it was going to be big; it has an all-star cast, the directors have got a huge following. It couldn't not be, but we didn't expect it to be quite as popular and be at No 1 for three weeks straight in the States."

The LEGO Movie is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, and features the voices of Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Alison Brie with cameos by Channing Tatum, Charlie Day, Dave Franco, Will Forte and Jonah Hill.

While the film has been labelled subversive by some critics for its tongue in cheek look at everything from cat memes and overpriced coffee to the LEGO brand itself, Naismith said the film's core themes are more emotive.

"The heart of story was always that everyone can be special," she said.

"The message is in there amongst the humour that you need to believe in yourself, trust your own instincts and not feel the need to conform."

Even if you haven't heard of Animal Logic, you've most likely seen some of its work.

The Moore Park company has brought to life some of Australia's most successful animated films including Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians, Walking With Dinosaurs and now The LEGO Movie.

It has also produced visual effects for The Great Gatsby, 300, Babe, The Matrix and Moulin Rouge.

Before work begins on the LEGO sequel, the company is currently working on the visual effects for Angelina Jolie's Australian-filmed war epic Unbroken.

"To be working on the international level we are now is brilliant," Naismith said.

"We want to grow our local talent here and working on these large-scale projects here allows us to do that."

The LEGO Movie opens on April 3.


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