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Universal to Develop Lego 'Hero Factory' Feature

Universal is in negotiations to acquire the screen rights to Lego’s line of robotic toys called Hero Factory.

Universal is in negotiations to acquire the screen rights to Lego’s line of robotic toys called Hero Factory, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter.

Michael Finch and Alex Litvak, best known for writing 2010’s sci-fi hit Predators, are in negotiations to write the script for the project, which would be produced by Mark Gordon and Bryan Zuriff of the Mark Gordon Company along with Ben Forkner and Dean Schnider of Film 360, the production side of representation firm Management 360.

As opposed to other Lego toys, Hero Factory, which is marketed with the tagline “We Build Heroes,” has a distinct storyline and a dense mythology. The characters hail from a planet where a factory churns out robotic machines whose goal is to fight intergalactic evil. The heroes include characters such as Stormer, Bulk, Stringer, Furno and Breez with villains having monikers such as XPlode, Corroder, Meltdown and Von Nebular -- a good guy gone rogue.

The toy line, which comprises about 55 sets, debuted in 2010 as a replacement to Lego’s Bionicle line. The Hero Factory line includes not only the toys but comics, a computer app and a theme park.

Hero Factory would be a live-action adaptation set in the world of the mythology and would be distinct from the building block-based Lego movie being made by Warner Bros. The latter is a CGI-animated feature that is in production under the direction of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Hollywood has shown increased interest in recent years in making films based on toys. Universal's most recent release, Battleship, is based on a Hasbro board game. The studio also developed Stretch Armstrong and Candyland, though the former is said to be in turnaround and the latter project moved to Sony with Adam Sandler's company attached to produce. Transformers, based on the Hasbro autobots, has become a multibillion-dollar franchise for Paramount.

Finch and Litvak are no strangers to the toy-adaptation biz, having worked on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, based on the Mattel property. They also are writing Treasure Island for Fox.

Gordon and Film 360 have partnered on several other projects, including the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs that is set up at Columbia with Aaron Sorkin writing, and Cowboy Ninja Viking, an action movie based on the Image Comics title that has Marc Forster attached to direct for Universal.

Kristen Lowe and Sara Scott will oversee the project for Universal.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.