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February 10, 2014

LEGO Movie Minifigure Exclusives - the Aftermarket Effect

A quick movie and toy tie-in review of what turned out to be an entertaining bit of cinema story animation, the LEGO movie, and it's two variant exclusive minifigures that most people are probably not even aware they can get free.. sort of.

The movie opened this weekend, which unless you live under a bin of Lego bricks, you did not need this blogger to inform you of that fact...
Now there have been exclusives before that had toy tie ins that you could get at theatres, the re-release of Star Wars did it with Jedi Luke, in two inadvertent variants (the brown vest and black vest versions, which I think were more an accident of manufacturing at the time, but I digress...), and LEGO took that same approach in what is panning out to be a more low key sort of action by offering two minifigures through two different movie chains, Regal Cinemas and AMC.

Shown here is the LEGO Movie Minifigure Exclusives for AMC, which as of 4 hours ago I got into my grubby little hands. This variant is one of the Robot DJs that were in the movie, wearing what looks like an homage logo design of the real world Lego Master Builder Academy's logo.
Now if you cannot tell from my ticket purchase above, I saw the AMC 2D version, and there was little to no signage advertising the fact that these figures were available. Even the ticket lady was not sure they had them, but if they did, the ticket taker would know more.

Observational note - [How is there a separate job for this? How do you apply for that ticket tearing job? I'd love to apply for that job with a bucket of paper confetti and pour it out saying "I believe my resume speaks for itself..."]

So as shown above, I did manage to get this fellow and he is a great little robot character, good clean lines on the graphics, great unique hair sculpt, nice extra detail with the wallet chain (that seems to be a little variant as I have seen the chain on both the left and right leg now, but considering the hair sculpt is reversed as well on the packaging, this could just be a bit of photoshop error on some package designer's part).

The advert shown above was misleading in that this exclusive was to be reserved for the 3D showings but this location here in KC had no issues giving out one PER TICKET, as stated, but some locations were doing it wrong and doing it per TRANSACTION.

LEGO Movie Minifigure Exclusive for Regal Crown Cinemas, which I am going to have to resort to either ebay, or my comic convention travels to attain evidently, as there is only one Regal Crown here in KC and I might have missed the boat on this exclusive, we'll see how this pans out for me.
Now the one shown above is of the main character "Emmit in sleepwear" (voiced by Chris Pratt), and out of the two of these, seems to already be making it's mark on the aftermarket pricing I am seeing showing up on ebay. Some listings are already at upwards of $40.

Which brings me to the latter portion of the reason I titled this "LEGO Movie Minifigure Exclusives - the Aftermarket Effect". As a toy collector, I have a love hate relationship with aspects of exclusivity, which in the 80's caused crazy things like Wonder Bread He-Man to become a holy grail for He-Man enthusiasts to this very day, caused the Pixar Cars line to bring parents of all kinds to front line retail store warfare with Hot Wheels collectors, and brings about equal amounts of joy, pride, frustration, and customer satisfaction when it happens like no other aspect of toy collecting.

From a marketing standpoint, like my last review, this makes sense for LEGO to do this, as both of these figures will no doubt be considered part of the Series 10 minifigure releases by simple fact of time of release and scarcity and both are nice niche renditions of characters in this movie.

I feel that a balance needs to be struck when it's in a more mass market sort of aspect like these two minifigures are part of. One that could maybe help prevent the crazy price gouging that the collector community can suffer from, often under self inflated prices. What that answer is, I don't know.

But I'd love to hear how many of you even knew about this promotion, or how you feel about these kinds of local/restricted giveaways. There are from what I've just found out as well tonight, exclusives available also from pre-ordering the Lego Movie video game as well as one that is only available at LegoLand amusement centers.

Show above in the inset, "Western Emmet" only available with the pre-order of the LEGO Movie game tie-in, and "Emmet with Piece de Resistance" that is currently available at your local LegoLand attraction venues.

They certainly differ from the more upscale artist line sort of toys that I believe deserve a more limited run like stuff from Kid Robot and the like, I see a difference in audience and buyers for those.

So if you get the chance, and you have either one of these cinema houses near you, it never hurts to ask, and you might just get some free toys out of it, instead of going the ebay route. The movie was really great, and hit a chord with me on a pretty deep level, especially the end. I won't ruin it for anyone.

Till next time (when I'll dive into my first Sega item review), this is Mario, the Artisan Rogue.