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Simpsons theme in 2014

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Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:10 pm

Hey all,

About six months ago we had rumors of a Simpsons theme, and at the time I questioned the wisdom of this idea. Apparently the market analysis at LEGO decided otherwise, and we will be getting a Simpsons theme in 2014. According to the Brickset article they will start small, and potentially scale up if sales are good. I assume that starting small means that there will initially be just a couple of sets. If this is true that would be good, as you could get all five family members (which at least for me is my main want from such a line) without having to buy a ton of different sets.

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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Karalora » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:16 pm

Huh.

Well, at least we'll avoid a fleshie vs. yellow argument with this one.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bluesecrets » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:07 pm

Meh. Another license.

But it does make me wonder about all of the "one off" lines and how well they actually sell. Are Lone Ranger, TMNT selling? In the past the "one off" lines didn't seem to sell that well in license, but who knows.

Anyway, for those of you who are excited, I'm glad for you. For me, this one might rank even lower than Spongebob (and I thought that was impossible to go any lower than that) on my list of stuff to buy.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby ottoatm » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:14 pm

Seems WAY late to the game... this would have been "cooler" when Simpsons was in it's golden age I think... now it's a bit old.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby RichardAM » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:20 pm

I have no interest in new Simpsons (or for that matter, any newer season than the last fifteen years) and, more worringly, like Bruce asked a few weeks ago, i'm not sure anyone else is either, so definitely a bizarre licensed pick-up, probably the strangest yet. I'm not excited, but, if the Simpson home is priced right there's surely going to be a lot of nice pink brick. Deal me in for the possibility of new moulds, colours and parts, deal me out for everything else.

Bluesecrets wrote:But it does make me wonder about all of the "one off" lines and how well they actually sell. Are Lone Ranger, TMNT selling? In the past the "one off" lines didn't seem to sell that well in license, but who knows.

TMNT currently seems to be getting handled much the same was as Avatar and Speed Racer before that, with very little buzz from either the fans or TLG itself- it already seems sidelined, in favour of other stuff. Which I can appreciate of course, but if so, that's an expensive acquisition/research/development for just one theme/one wave, right? Much the same I expect as The Simpsons as a theme. Do the costs outweigh the profits? (prolly better as a separate thread?)
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:41 pm

I don't know if I'd say that TMNT is getting 'no buzz' from LEGO. At the Comic-Con New York last year they devoted a whole day to the theme, with a big mural and an exclusive giveaway fig. At San Diego Comic-Con they had a big sculpture of the turtles, and another one recently at the big LEGO store at Mall of America. I've seen the Turtles sets prominently displayed at the LEGO stores. Granted, the Turtles buzz at the Comic-Cons was greatly overshadowed by the other licenses of DC, Marvel and Tolkien, but I think they're pushing it somewhat. I would agree, though, that it might make more sense to limit themselves to a smaller number of high-profile licenses like these (and, of course, Star Wars) and then push the heck out of those.

I've not seen the Lone Ranger movie, but I've heard it's not very good. It has a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the Wikipedia entry indicates that it will be a big money loser for Disney. So to me this seems like LEGO's problem here is not bad promotion on LEGO's part, but that they started with a bad choice of IP. The sets themselves look pretty nice, and a western builder can pick them up for good prices as they go on clearance, but that's not a win for LEGO as a company.

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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bluesecrets » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:22 pm

I saw Lone Ranger (come on...it had Johnny Depp in it...enough reason to see any movie) and while I won't give it a review..I will say I like the sets better. But mostly that has to do with the parts in them and the fact that they are Western theme.

I've bought 3 of the TMNT sets and it was for the turtles. The sets just didn't hit my "ooh baby I want to build that again" button or the "wow that was a satisfying build" but or even "good parts in this set" button. In the end, I gave up buying the 4th to get the 4th turtle and just went to good old bricklink.

Maybe it is the fact that Chima and Ninjago left me feeling the same. Who knows. I certainly don't. Other than I just don't enjoy building them.

Either way, I have a feeling that I won't be buying any Simpsons, not even on clearance.

We are in a time frame of the all mighty license rules. I guess we just have to get used to it...
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:19 pm

Hey,

According to the same Wikipedia entry on the Lone Ranger movie: "In what may turn out to be the sign of a marketing misjudgment, according to Disney's own numbers, 68% of ticket buyers were over 25 years old and nearly 25% over 50 years old, a much higher percentage than is typical for the studio." This says that this movie really did poorly with kids (and therefore LEGO buyers, on the argument that AFOLs are not the primary market for mass produced sets). I'd imagine it could be attributed to many potential reasons:
-Kids today don't really know the Lone Ranger. When I was a kid they still ran the old movie serials on the weekend afternoons, and there was a cartoon version on Saturday morning. And this was in the day of three major networks. I'm not aware of these running even on random cable networks - they may well be somewhere, but I think it's obscure if so.
-On a broader level, maybe kids these days just aren't into westerns. Are there any really popular western TV shows or movies for kids right now? I can't think of any.
-Really bad marketing on Disney's part. A really good marketing campaign might have overcome the two points above, but they don't seem to have put in the effort.
-Too much competition from other kids' fare. We went to the movies this weekend and had four animated movies to choose from - Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Turbo and the Smurfs 2 (semi-animated on this last), and Planes comes out soon. If our kids were older, we would have also considered the comic book and other action movies. This isn't always the case. Importantly, some of these are Disney products, and so the Disney promotional machine isn't really going to focus on the Lone Ranger, when they're much more likely to be pushing MU, Planes, and Iron Man 3.
And so I think the main audience for this movie was left to older viewer based on a nostalgic connection to the material.

I really think that LEGO needs to rethink their license strategy when it comes to blockbuster movies. So many of these movies are all driven by marketing that leads up to the opening weekend (when the studios make a bigger percentage of profit than subsequent showings), and after that the movie drops off the radar. A LEGO theme based on such a movie is going to have its best sales leading up to the opening, but will then fall off. OTOH, there are movies where the movie itself is only a small portion of a much longer chain with an ongoing active fanbase. For example, any comic book movie, Tolkien, and Star Wars. Yes, you could say that Speed Racer and the Lone Ranger had a long term pedigree, but there wasn't any real active fandom of these in recent years. The relaunch of the Star Trek franchise would potentially be an example of a fruitful theme (assuming they could figure out good sets to relate to it), but I assume that is precluded by the Star Wars license agreement, and other building toys have the Star Trek license. I covered some of this ground five years ago with my Dear LEGO: Please DON'T make a ____ theme thread.

BTW, and getting back on topic, I should note that the Simpsons do potentially fit the criteria I suggested for a fruitful theme in that thread. IF, and IMO this is the big if, their popularity hasn't waned too much in the last decade. My criteria in that thread were:
1. A licensed theme should tap into a proven long term product, so it's not just a flash in the pan that will be on the clearance shelves in six months.
2. A licensed theme should be broad in scope - not just limited to a particular movie, but rather into a whole universe surrounding that theme. That way you won't run out of set designs after a year.
3. A licensed theme should appeal to both kids and adults. Bonus if there is already an established collector/geek community among adults.
4. A licensed theme should provide something that a non-licensed theme does not. Ideally this should be more than just minifigs.
5. A licensed theme should have a variety of build possibilities - ideally both vehicles and locations.

On the Simpsons:
1. 20+ years on TV, a movie, video games, toys
2. Over those years they've tapped into lots of different genres, locations, etc
3. All of these apply, though as I've said I think the popularity has waned a lot since the heyday
4. Of course there are all of the figs, but I also think that they could have unique builds for the sets if they successfully capture the cartoon aesthetic of the show.
5. Buildings like the Simpson home, Kwik-E-Mart, power plant, (they'll never do Moes or the church), building interiors like Krusty's studio and Bart's classroom, stand-alones like Bart's treehouse, a couple of cars, and that's not counting if they did one-offs like the car Homer designed, the monorail, etc.

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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Tower of Iron Will » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:37 am

Simpsons? Meh...I might have been more enthused 10 or 15 years ago when I watched more regularly but now? Now I have to limit my purchases to Castle and would take something really useable (part or minifig) for me to buy.

On a side note to add to what Bruce said, I agree. My parents were of an age to watch/listen to the original Lone Ranger and that's what they were expecting to see in the new movie. I was going to see it but now will just get the dvd. Disney thought that the success of revamping Pirates of the Caribbean would work in this case, however pirates are pirates. Most kids know what a pirate is so its not so tough a sell. Lone Ranger, I'm guessing to kids, is like Buck Rodgers in that its a character from "the olden days". They only know from stories their Grandparents tell them or (the horror!) black and white TV shows.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Justin M » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:13 pm

Bluesecrets wrote:Meh. Another license.

Blue, you nailed it exactly.

I'm not really happy to see TLG making a Simpsons theme. Like at all. There's so many better themes TLG could take on and they decide to take on this one? I'm not really seeing a young child walking into the LEGO aisle and wanting to buy a Simpsons set. Oh well, we'll see how things go.
Last edited by Justin M on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby plums_deify » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:57 am

For what it's worth, Universal Studios is planning a large Simpsons-themed expansion here in FL. I'm not inclined to believe coincidence on that.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Ferretclaw » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:59 pm

Simpsons = might bricklink a part or two. Otherwise could care less. Personally spongebob and TMNT for me rank right next to this at the sort of level that I need to be reminded often that they exist, or I will forget, so great is the interest I hold in them.

As for the Lone Ranger, movie wise itself I thought it was great. A little gruesome once or twice, but otherwise very good. It is an origin story, so for the first half of it John Reid is a bit stiff, but I think thats the idea... Being of Native American heritage in a small part, I appreciate the angle the film was done at. I think the main reason it is doing so bad in the box office is the negative critic reviews (about 28% critical reviews and 68% audience reviews.. Thats a pretty big difference, even for RT, which in my opinion has always been too critical *cough hobbit only at 65% cough*) . But I would recommend seeing it sometime.

As for the sets based off it, they selling ok. Not great not bad, you can guess it by looking at various prices on ebay and bricklink, for what they are selling for. I like it because I thought the movie was good but also just because its western (lol a few modifications and we have lego blazing saddles :lol: ) gotta love new style white horses.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Bluesecrets » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:14 am

But...on the other hand...we could get a donut piece. LEGO food in any form is good. Pretty sure there won't be a beer piece, but a donut has potential.
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby Tower of Iron Will » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:14 am

Mmmmm, donuts...aaaaagghg, LOL. Sorry, couldn't resist... :roflol:
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Re: Simpsons theme in 2014

Postby SSchmidt » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:27 am

I am quite intrigued at seeing the Simpsons come to life. We know this will usher in a lot of new, interesting (hopefully) pieces, and it may serve to draw an audience not previously held by Lego. Then again, I can't imagine the theme being too popular, but if it will give us new pieces, I am always semi-interested.

That and I will have to have a complete minifigure collection of the Simpsons.

I am really interested to see how they will do Maggie :)
Maybe something similar to the effect of Kraang from TMNT? Of a semi-figure posed on the ground?
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