Writer/director Drew Pearce has revealed that his LEGO Movie spinoff Billion Brick Race is a massive, genre-blending racing movie in the vein of classics like Cannonball Run. At one point, the Iron Man 3 writer was attached to direct the animated project from a script that he cowrote with Jason Segel, based on an original idea that Pearce had pitched to Warner Bros. for its LEGO franchise. For the time being, however, the film is in a holding pattern with an uncertain future.
Following The LEGO Movie's runaway critical and commercial success in 2014, WB began to rapidly expand the LEGO cinematic universe to encompass multiple spinoffs (The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Ninjago Movie), in addition to at least one sequel to directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller's original LEGO film. Billion Brick Race was part of that original LEGO sequel/spinoff slate and even had a tentative Mary 2019 release date at one point. Since then, the project has struggled to move forward and most recently saw The Book of Life helmsman Jorge R. Gutiérrez (who stepped in after Pearce left the film) drop out as director, for as-yet unspecified reasons.
In the meantime, Pearce has gone on to make his feature directing debut on Hotel Artemis, a mashup of science-fiction and hard-boiled noir conventions set in futuristic Los Angeles. Yahoo! Movies sat down with Pearce to discuss the film ahead of its release in the UK this Friday and the interview eventually turned to the topic of Billion Brick Race. Pearce confirmed that he was going to direct the film before he stepped down for Hotel Artemis, having already written a couple of projects with Segel that he says haven't been released yet. He doesn't know much about the film's current status for that reason, but said "Hopefully, they're still planning to make it".
Pearce also provided the first actual plot details for Billion Brick Race during his talk with Yahoo! Movies and specifically named-dropped Cannonball Run (a film that is now in the process of being rebooted) as being an influence:
Basically the biggest race of all time but with LEGO. It’s inspired by every race movie ever with a cast, in the same way, that Cannonball Run mixed people from different genres and preexisting ideas. The Billion Brick Race is a movie designed to be able to throw in every single racing idea in history and do it with LEGO, so I hope it gets made.
The LEGO cinematic universe has admittedly had mixed success with films that blend genres in the way that Billion Brick Race does (based on Pearce's description), but that arguably has more to do with their quality than anything else. Case in point: last year's LEGO Batman Movie was a critical hit that nearly quadrupled its $80 million budget at the global box office, only for LEGO Ninjago Movie to fall flat with a $123 million worldwide gross (again a $70 million price tag) after earning middling reviews. Up next is 2019's The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which will further test the LEGO film brand's durability by actually continuing the story from the original LEGO Movie.
Depending on how The LEGO Movie 2 goes it, it could prove to be either the movie that finally revives Billion Brick Race or the final nail in its coffin. A LEGO racing film certainly sounds promising and could use the strange physics of the LEGO cinematic universe to its advantage, when it comes to assembling innovative set pieces and action sequences. Here is to hoping LEGO Movie 2 goes over well enough for Pearce's own LEGO project to finally secure a green-light, for that very reason.
We will bring you more details on Billion Brick Race as they become available.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019