Chris McKay is critical piece, will direct ‘Lego Movie’ sequel

Emmet (voiced by Chris Pine) and Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) are uneasily on the same side in "The Lego Movie."
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

The burgeoning “Lego Movie” franchise has a new master builder: Chris McKay, who served as animation co-director on the first film.

McKay has been hired to direct the 2017 sequel, according to a Deadline Hollywood report, taking the reins from “Lego Movie” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

A Chicago native, McKay got his start in TV animation, winning an Emmy for his work on Cartoon Network’s “Robot Chicken.” He also worked on the Adult Swim series “Titan Maximum.” The “Lego” sequel will mark his first studio film as a director.

Lord and Miller scored an, er, blockbuster with their animated adventure about a cheerful, obedient everyman facing off against an evil despot. Since its release Feb. 7, “The Lego Movie” has grossed more than $362 million worldwide, on a budget of less than $65 million. The pair will stick around as producers on the “Lego” sequel, which is being written by Jared Stern (“The Internship”) and Michelle Morgan (“Girl Most Likely”).


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While “The Lego Movie” has proved to be one of the year’s most successful films and biggest surprises, the sequel seems to be moving in a slightly different direction.

With its February release date, “The Lego Movie” provided a breath of fresh air in a typically fallow period for interesting new films, but the sequel has been set for a prime Memorial Day slot, in the midst of the crowded summer movie season. McKay’s first-time status is also a contrast to Lord and Miller, who before “Lego” had compiled a long résumé of putting witty, creative spins on seemingly silly premises with movies such as “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street.”


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