A 3D animated LEGO feature film will be produced by Sydney’s Animal Logic.
Warner Bros contracted the Oscar-winning animation studio to make the family comedy, which is set to create about 200 jobs during its peak.
The film, based on the popular children’s LEGO building blocks, will be written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-wrote and co-directed animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Chris McKay will also undertake directing duties. It will be produced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee, and the LEGO Company's Jill Wilfert will executive produce.
Animal Logic's chief executive Zareh Nalbandian said it would technically exceed anything that had been done with LEGO before.
"I’m really confident that the talent and passion that exists in this building will make it something that’s outstanding and it will get recognition on the world stage," he told a press conference at Fox Studios.
He added there would be a small live-action component in the film.
The NSW Government helped secure the production through the NSW Trade & Investment's State Investment Attraction Scheme.
"This is the sort of investment that the NSW government is determined to continue in a film industry that in many respects is the envy of the world," Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner said.
"The production of LEGO will see up to $48 million spent in NSW, which will include commitments to industry research, development and training.
“LEGO will be an innovative film incorporating the latest animation and photo-real techniques which will demonstrate the strength of NSW creative technology skills and enhance the international reputation of Sydney as a film location.
“Not only will the securing of LEGO enable Animal Logic to retain staff through an ongoing work schedule, but it will also place Sydney in a strong position to secure further work should sequels be planned later."
The NSW government did not reveal how much money they pledged to lure the production to the state. The department has previously said that such incentives are based on the production's overall expenditure in the state.
This will be Animal Logic's second attempt at working on a LEGO production, after producing the LucasFilm TV special LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace, which aired in the US earlier this year.
Casting starts early next year on the LEGO film. When asked if it would be voiced by a local or US cast, Nalbandian said: "I don’t think it’s a matter of working to a formula – it's going to be finding the appropriate cast for the appropriate roles."
Plot details remain under wraps, with Nalbandian adding that the story keeps on developing when making an animated movie.
Collaboration between both Animal Logic and Warner Bros dates back to the first Matrix film. They both signed a co-development deal back in mid-2007 after working on animated hit Happy Feet. They also collaborated on the not-so-successful Australian film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
The announcement makes for exciting news for the state, which is currently hosting a number of screen projects, including Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby and Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost.
The LEGO film is set to be released in 2014.
Animal Logic's Zareh Nalbandian (left) and NSW Acting Premier Andrew Stoner
at the press conference.