A Week of Disappointments (and some Hope)

Big corporations are an odd thing. One always tries to be understanding for the many inherent structural issues, quirks and limitations that commonly occur with such large entities, yet, depending on how involved one is with the company or their products, they can get you riled up very quickly with incomprehensible policies and bad decision-making processes. This is no different for LEGO, so here I’m sitting, shaking my head at why so many things feel so terribly wrong this week.

The whole thing started off with the Brickheadz for The LEGO Movie 2. Only announced about two weeks ago, very quickly a disastrous picture began to form with the sets already being available immediately thereafter, but only in limited quantities exclusive to Walmart and Target in the US. Even worse, those limited numbers were 5000 units for each set, so it isn’t hard to imagine that they sold out almost instantaneously. It’s literally just a few drops in the ocean even just on the North American markets alone. Forget about the many people elsewhere who didn’t even get a chance.

Now you may not care much for Brickheadz, but the point here is that LEGO keep citing bad sales as a reason for possibly cancelling the series as a whole, but then they mess up the one time a lot of people would actually have wanted the sets. It’s really unfathomable, considering it should have been an easy enough thing to roll out enough sets and have them benefit from the already existing marketing for the movie. Fail No. 1!

While we’re already on the subject of The LEGO Movie 2, that one seems to turn out as its own failure. The box office figures aren’t that great, both in the US and internationally in the markets where it already launched. Attendance from cinema audiences seems rather low and so far it hasn’t even made its production cost, which no doubt is at least 130 million USD by my estimate plus of course on top of it at least double that money for marketing etc.. It has yet to launch in several markets and I’m pretty sure this movie “has legs”, meaning it will be profitable in the long run, but I’m just as certain it is by no means the big hit LEGO would have hoped for.

A third failure (sort of) are the first images for the latest LEGO Ideas set The Flintstones (21316). You can find some of that for instance here. One isn’t supposed to judge a book by its cover and a LEGO set by its box, respectively, but to be honest, this just looks bland and disappointing. It appears the internal pre-production optimization process has made the set “kaput” and bereft it of the charme the original project had. No dinos, no other animals, no large rib/ meat piece, no additional characters as minifigures, not even a printed plaque.

I’ve always been a bit skeptic about this and considered it at best an optional buy, not being the biggest fan of those old series, but this is indeed a major letdown. Speaking of which: The same could be said about the Duel on Starkiller Base (75263). I genuinely had a “WTF?” moment when I saw the pictures. To say it looks amateurish would be doing favors. It’s just awful and of course at least three years to late. Who at LEGO (and by extension Disney) even comes up with such harebrained stuff and clears it for mass production?

In more positive news, but perhaps also in some way a bit of a panic reaction to the bad reception of the film, the next wave of The LEGO Movie 2 sets have been announced this week, too. Maybe to calm potential buyers’ nerves? In any case, I kinda love the Shimmer & Shine Sparkle Spa (70837) and Queen Watevera’s ‚So-Not-Evil‘ Space Palace (70838). It’s exactly the kind of unconventional (for LEGO) building style and creative use and repurposing of parts that attracts me.

Emmet’s Triple-Decker Couch Mech (70842) on the other hand leaves me relatively cold. It’s stuffed to the brim with Medium Blue tiles and other elements, though, so if the price comes down a bit, it might be a good source for this stuff. Similarly I’m torn with The Rexcelsior (70839). It looks cool and I so want those small dinos, but now that some more pictures are available I can’t help that the faux Nerf gun functionality comes at the cost of sparse interior detailing despite a hefty price tag. Makes me think even harder if I would consider buying it, not just because of my limited finances…