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Warner Bros. piecing together 'Lego Batman' spinoff film

Warner Bros. piecing together 'Lego Batman' spinoff film
A scene from "The Lego Movie." (Warner Bros.)

Holy spinoff, Batman: The diminutive Lego version of the Caped Crusader is getting a big-screen movie all to himself.

Warner Bros. is rearranging the pieces of its burgeoning "Lego Movie" franchise and fast-tracking the development of a Batman-centric follow-up to February's animated blockbuster, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

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A spokesperson for the studio declined to comment to The Times about the report, but "Lego Movie" co-director Christopher Miller seemed to confirm the news on Twitter. He wrote, "It's true. So excited," adding a photo of a Batman minifigure.

Per THR, Chris McKay, the "Lego Movie" animation supervisor who was initially set to direct that film's direct sequel, will now head the "Lego Batman" movie. Seth Grahame-Smith ("Dark Shadows," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") is said to be writing the screenplay.

"Lego Batman" could arrive in 2017, possibly taking over the May 26 date staked out for "Lego Movie 2," with that film arriving later. The next Lego movie scheduled to hit theaters is "Ninjago," due out Sept. 23, 2016, from director Charlie Bean (a TV animation veteran).

If "Lego 2" ends up taking a back seat until 2018, it would make for a somewhat anomalous four-year gap between the original and its direct sequel, in an era when studios often try to get such films into theaters as quickly as possible.

"The Lego Movie" was a breakout hit under the direction of Miller and Phil Lord, garnering strong reviews and grossing $468 million at the worldwide box office. Although at the outset the inclusion of a Batman character struck some observers as a blatant marketing and merchandising gimmick, voice actor Will Arnett's gravelly bravado made the mini-Dark Knight one of the film's most popular characters. (Arnett is expected to return.)

The "Lego Batman" brand already has a following on the small screen, via a series of video games and the eloquently titled straight-to-video movie "Lego Batman: The Movie — DC Super Heroes Unite."

Batman, of course, is no stranger to the multiplex and will be back on the big screen March 25, 2016, in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

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