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What LEGO themes have underperformed?

SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
I've been thinking about the different themes that LEGO had that failed miserably lately (Galidor, Znaps, Avatar, etc.),but I was wondering- what other themes didn't do well?
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Comments

  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 349
    Incredibly recent, but the Bionicle reboot is an obvious one. And Chima was supposed to be the replacement for Ninjago, but did not succeed at that. Not necessarily a huge failure though.

    I'm curious as to what older examples there are though.
    Omastar
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,839
    I wouldn't say Last Airbender was an unsuccessful theme, because it was never really a theme, Lego just made two sets for the show just because they had Nickelodeon licensing, just like how they do the odd marvel movie set, just because they have the Marvel license.


    One of Lego's biggest fumbles was definitely it's clothing/gear line from the 90's - early 2000's. Lego still makes clothing now, but not near the focus they put into it back then that put them in a hole that almost ended the company.
    SumoLego
  • EddieDoesntMindEddieDoesntMind Member Posts: 329
    One I loved was Space Police 3. The two space themes after that, Alien Conquest and Galaxy Squad, did even worse.  
    Omastar
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,183
    ^^ Much like movies, video games and everything else, Lego licenses just about all of their non-brick product.
    bobabrickskiki180703Omastar
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    I wouldn't say Last Airbender was an unsuccessful theme, because it was never really a theme, Lego just made two sets for the show just because they had Nickelodeon licensing, just like how they do the odd marvel movie set, just because they have the Marvel license.


    One of Lego's biggest fumbles was definitely it's clothing/gear line from the 90's - early 2000's. Lego still makes clothing now, but not near the focus they put into it back then that put them in a hole that almost ended the company.
    Except, if I recall correctly, the LEGO Club magazine promised more sets- yet none came.
    Omastar
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,822
    The LEGO Games are one example I know underperformed, but I don't know if they underperformed all along or just started with average performance and weakened over time.

    Explore is another one of those initiatives from the early naughts that failed big-time. LEGO was trying to innovate and they did so at the expense of the familiar Duplo brand, which cost them dearly.

    I believe all the girl-oriented themes prior to Friends underperformed.

    That's all I can think of right at the moment.
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703Omastar
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    Aanchir said:
    The LEGO Games are one example I know underperformed, but I don't know if they underperformed all along or just started with average performance and weakened over time.

    Explore is another one of those initiatives from the early naughts that failed big-time. LEGO was trying to innovate and they did so at the expense of the familiar Duplo brand, which cost them dearly.

    I believe all the girl-oriented themes prior to Friends underperformed.

    That's all I can think of right at the moment.
    When you say games, do you mean the oft-dreadful early 2000's video games, or the Heroica type?
  • brownbricks720brownbricks720 Cleveland, OhioMember Posts: 47
    Ben 10 alien force, prince of persia, lego fusion.........

    On a side note me personally I haven't been happy about the Star Wars sets. There has been a few decent ones but none that I'm like "I must have this!" I just feel like some of them have been weak or just don't carry that wow factor. 
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703Omastar
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,839
    @brownsbricks720 I love PoP, ha ha! And I still love it! The only theme I can pick super cheap for sand/castle parts.
    wardmSprinkleOtterkiki180703Jennibrownbricks720Omastar
  • als-1971als-1971 uk derbyshireMember Posts: 69
    Sad to say but agree about star wars especially looking at 75159
    brownbricks720
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,822
    Aanchir said:
    The LEGO Games are one example I know underperformed, but I don't know if they underperformed all along or just started with average performance and weakened over time.

    Explore is another one of those initiatives from the early naughts that failed big-time. LEGO was trying to innovate and they did so at the expense of the familiar Duplo brand, which cost them dearly.

    I believe all the girl-oriented themes prior to Friends underperformed.

    That's all I can think of right at the moment.
    When you say games, do you mean the oft-dreadful early 2000's video games, or the Heroica type?
    I meant the buildable board games like Heroica.
    SprinkleOtter
  • IceCreamCloneIceCreamClone Chicago-ishMember Posts: 70
    My friends and I loved Galaxy Squad, but it clearly didn't sell to well, since I continued to see some of the sets still on toys r us shelves (at full price, mind you) well into 2015. However, it must have done a bit better than alien conquest, since it got 2 waves instead of 1. I just wish we could get a great in-house space theme that would also last for more than just one year.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    How about the sports themes? I thought I remember reading that those didn't do well either.
    SumoLego
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    akunthita said:
    How about the sports themes? I thought I remember reading that those didn't do well either.
    I think Soccer/football did, but the others not so much.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,814
    My understanding is the buildable games did well early on, but things must've tailed off...
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,484
    Aanchir said:
    Aanchir said:
    The LEGO Games are one example I know underperformed, but I don't know if they underperformed all along or just started with average performance and weakened over time.

    Explore is another one of those initiatives from the early naughts that failed big-time. LEGO was trying to innovate and they did so at the expense of the familiar Duplo brand, which cost them dearly.

    I believe all the girl-oriented themes prior to Friends underperformed.

    That's all I can think of right at the moment.
    When you say games, do you mean the oft-dreadful early 2000's video games, or the Heroica type?
    I meant the buildable board games like Heroica.
    I'm loving those games, especially the ones with large baseplates, as they keep showing up in local thrift stores for under $5. 
    Toc13
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,814
    Same here - so far I'm keeping them boxed as games as I haven't tried to build and play them yet, but I really like knowing they're on hand as parts packs too. 
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    My understanding is the buildable games did well early on, but things must've tailed off...
    That's how I think it happened, too. At first they were new and original- Ramses Pyramid won several awards. Then things got less and less original, like that sheep game...
    catwrangler
  • ethanjwallethanjwall United StatesMember Posts: 118
    It's not really a theme, but the Life of George seemed to underperform to me. Not necessarily a huge flop, but still, it didn't do as well as expected.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,947
    Sadly I think Lord of the Rings/Hobbit didn't do too well. The last minute splitting of Hobbit into 3 films instead of 2 seemed to have messed up the Lego release plan up. Even if that didn't make much impact it seems that the last year of those sets was just going through the motions of filling out contractual obligations. Such a shame so much got left undone in Gondor.
    TheBigLegoskiOmastar
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    Trains did 2000 and beyond.

    Aside from My Own Train, there was no 'normal' trains, and the only new trains released outside MOT were the Santa Fe loco & cars, the BNSF loco and TTX cars, and the Holiday train.

    2001 saw the Metroliner legends re-issues, and if you include them, the Hogwarts Express sets; 2004 for the motorised version with track, and 2010 for a version with train wheels but no track.
  • AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,625
    edited August 2016
    Does anyone know if The Simpsons theme under-performed? We heard two rumours about a third D2C set for late 2015 but we haven't had anything since. Is the theme done or are they taking a break? The theme had so much potential.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,947
    ^Simpsons did fine, CMFs were popular and sold well on release as did the two big sets. Three D2C sets at once is probably too much to hope for. I think most if not all of those rumors were just fans wishing for what might come next and not based in any leaks from Denmark.
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    There's also the question of what would be done next. The most obvious one would be the school, though that would be an extremely large set...
  • AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,625
    ^Simpsons did fine, CMFs were popular and sold well on release as did the two big sets. Three D2C sets at once is probably too much to hope for. I think most if not all of those rumors were just fans wishing for what might come next and not based in any leaks from Denmark.
    If anything I would have hoped for at least one more to compete a 'trilogy' of products. Maybe they are just taking a break and trying out different intellectual proprieties such as #75827 - Firehouse Headquarters and #71040 - Disney Castle.
    There's also the question of what would be done next. The most obvious one would be the school, though that would be an extremely large set...
    I hope the next Simpsons set will be 'The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop' with loads of comic books, superhero references, Radioactive Man and Biclops minifigures!

    I'll bring this up again:

    -Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (December 17, 1989.) "25th anniversary of the first appearance of 742 Evergreen Terrace."

    -The Telltale Head (February 25, 1990.) "25th anniversary of the first appearance of the Kwik-E-Mart."

    -Three Men and a Comic Book (May 9, 1991.) "25th anniversary of the first appearance of The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop."

    I'm pretty sure that 'Android's Dungeon' was the next product in line for the Simpsons theme with superheroes and pop culture being a big aspect for LEGO's relationship with many well known IP's. It just makes sense such as the 25th anniversary' appearance, maybe I'm looking too much into it given I'm a huge fan of this theme. (Yup, I do own both D2C sets and both CMF series'.)

    I'm currently designing an 'Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop' on LEGO Digital Designer in the style of both #71006 - The Simpsons House and #71016 - Kwik-E-Mart. It's piece count comes to around 1,000 and a footprint of 16x24 so it wouldn't be a huge set like the previous two, costing around £99.99. I guess that's one aspect of this hobby that is unique, you can build what ever you like should LEGO not decide to release that specific dream set. The only thing you can't really control is printing (custom printing is an option if your not a purist) or elements in specific colours.

    ricecakePoochycatwranglerOmastar
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,954
    What about Atlantis? We loved this line, and it is what got my child interested in Lego,  but we picked up so much at 1/2 off directly from the Lego store the year  the recession hit. When the Lego store is giving that much away at half off, that can't be a good sign of sales. 
    There were several other themes around this same time that I wonder how they sold, simply because  we saw so much on discount.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,947
    ^Good question. Back then a lot of stuff went to clearance even at Lego stores. Atlantis seemed to do plenty well for an in-house theme but it is hard to really know on any of these. Even with a theme like Ninjago which has been a noted by Lego as selling far better than they ever imagined at the outset has a fair share of discounts and clearance. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,023
    My understanding is the buildable games did well early on, but things must've tailed off...
    That's how I think it happened, too. At first they were new and original- Ramses Pyramid won several awards. Then things got less and less original, like that sheep game...
    I guess it depends what you compare to. Lego games compared to Lego games or Lego games compared to other board games.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,183
    Minifigures Online was a pretty miserable flop.
    MattDawsongmonkey76SprinkleOtterbrownbricks720OmastarScott1
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    tamamahm said:
    What about Atlantis? We loved this line, and it is what got my child interested in Lego,  but we picked up so much at 1/2 off directly from the Lego store the year  the recession hit. When the Lego store is giving that much away at half off, that can't be a good sign of sales. 
    There were several other themes around this same time that I wonder how they sold, simply because  we saw so much on discount.
    Atlantis did warrant a second wave of sets, though. I seem to recall getting everything for ~50% off then.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    SumoLego said:
    Minifigures Online was a pretty miserable flop.
    Minifigures Online, Chima online, LEGO Universe... Hmm, seems like the market is trying to tell LEGO something.
    MattDawsonYodaliciousOmastar
  • flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 695

    Even with a theme like Ninjago which has been a noted by Lego as selling far better than they ever imagined at the outset has a fair share of discounts and clearance. 
    Kinda off-topic but can someone enlighten me on Ninjago's history? I have read that it took a break, or was finished and then Lego later brought it back. Why the break? Was it not selling well then? When did this break happen? After Season 2? Season 3?
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    flord said:

    Even with a theme like Ninjago which has been a noted by Lego as selling far better than they ever imagined at the outset has a fair share of discounts and clearance. 
    Kinda off-topic but can someone enlighten me on Ninjago's history? I have read that it took a break, or was finished and then Lego later brought it back. Why the break? Was it not selling well then? When did this break happen? After Season 2? Season 3?
    LEGO likes three-year themes. I think they feel anything longer than that runs the risk of not being "new" anymore, like happened to Bionicle I.

    So the plan was to end it with the final battle with the Overlord (2013). And replace Ninjago with Chima.

    But then something happened- TLG got a lot of letters, phone calls, etc. from kids and parents. They liked Ninjago, and did not want it to end. And who can blame them- Chima was out, and not cutting it. So TLG listened, took a year to design the sets and come up with a story.
    flordAanchircatwranglerDontcopythatfloppyOmastar
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,183
    It also helped that Cartoon Network begged for more episodes of Ninjago.  That also played a part in the added marketing for Nexo Knights through that show.

    (I ready somewhere that CN didn't want any period of time where it was devoid of a Lego-Themed show.  As I believe the Friends show is on the Disney Network.)
    Aanchir
  • WanderingBearWanderingBear Member Posts: 4
    Didn't really want to post something here, I'm new to this site.  Just wanted to see what would happen if I clicked "quote", now it won't let me view the rest of the posts unless I leave a comment.  I even signed out & in again...
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,814
    Didn't really want to post something here, I'm new to this site.  Just wanted to see what would happen if I clicked "quote", now it won't let me view the rest of the posts unless I leave a comment.  I even signed out & in again...
    @Huw, @MattsWhat? (I'm sorry, I'm hopeless at remembering who else is a mod!) I think @WanderingBear's found a bug here...

  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,484
    I've gotten hung up in the comment box a few times after a draft was automatically saved. Easiest way I found to get out of it was to go to my account and delete the draft.
    gmonkey76Dontcopythatfloppycatwrangler
  • LegogramLegogram PA USAMember Posts: 318
    Thanks @datsunrobbie I have had that problem too, but didn't know how to get rid of it.  Now I do :)
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,493
    Lego themes may not sell as many units as TLG expected for many reasons,

    I would say this generally occurs when the theme is poorly designed or the design is compromised by the wishes of third parties or the design does not meet the expectations of the Lego community.
    This then has to be matched against the RRP that TLG have set for the theme and the price the community is willing to pay for the theme.
    Generally TLG set most RRP's at least 100% higher than they need, to make a profit. 
    Which allows other retailers to give 40-50% discounts and still make a profit.

    Then there is the current general economic situation which has to be taken into account. In bad times more themes are likely to sell less than expected.

    TLG is doing okay (largest toy company?) http://time.com/money/3268065/lego-largest-toy-company-mattel/
    catwranglerTheBigLegoski
  • SabataSabata Member Posts: 1
    How did the Monster Fighter sets do? I really liked that theme, but It didn't seem to last very long.
  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 349
    I'm curious about how Lego felt about the Lone Ranger set sales. The movie bombed, and thus I'm sure the set sales were low, but the sets themselves, ignoring the licensing, were all great. So maybe they sold better than Lego hoped, all things considered.
  • DontcopythatfloppyDontcopythatfloppy 'MuricaMember Posts: 43
    I'm curious about how Lego felt about the Lone Ranger set sales. The movie bombed, and thus I'm sure the set sales were low, but the sets themselves, ignoring the licensing, were all great. So maybe they sold better than Lego hoped, all things considered.
    I figure Lone Ranger was just a sneaky way to bring back the old Wild West theme of the 90s' for the benefit of the designers, AFOLs, and any kids who still like the old west (never came up when I was a kid) while still getting bonus sales due to it being a tie-in. Lego seems smart enough to realize that the movie itself was never going to be that popular in the first place.
    catwranglerOmastarpharmjodSumoLego
  • DontcopythatfloppyDontcopythatfloppy 'MuricaMember Posts: 43
    tamamahm said:
    What about Atlantis? We loved this line, and it is what got my child interested in Lego,  but we picked up so much at 1/2 off directly from the Lego store the year  the recession hit. When the Lego store is giving that much away at half off, that can't be a good sign of sales. 
    There were several other themes around this same time that I wonder how they sold, simply because  we saw so much on discount.
    Atlantis did warrant a second wave of sets, though. I seem to recall getting everything for ~50% off then.
    I think it was actually two waves. One that just included a bonus run of sets, such as the sea scorpion, the mech, and the portal, and a second that was actually set in Atlantis.
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    What would be our definition for underperformed?  The only thing I think would qualify would be production runs cancelled due to slow sales or a large dumping of inventory to clear it out.

    Jurassic Park theme is interesting....we saw huge popularity with the movie tie in....and now most retailers have put them on clearance for a time.  Did lego produce a second run based on the initial movie tie in, and not realize as the movie fades from memory so do the sets?   If so, this could qualify as underperforming.
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 479
    Three words. LEGENDS. OF. CHIMA!!!
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,822
    I'm curious about how Lego felt about the Lone Ranger set sales. The movie bombed, and thus I'm sure the set sales were low, but the sets themselves, ignoring the licensing, were all great. So maybe they sold better than Lego hoped, all things considered.
    I figure Lone Ranger was just a sneaky way to bring back the old Wild West theme of the 90s' for the benefit of the designers, AFOLs, and any kids who still like the old west (never came up when I was a kid) while still getting bonus sales due to it being a tie-in. Lego seems smart enough to realize that the movie itself was never going to be that popular in the first place.
    I don't know, I think there was also an element of LEGO wanting to pick up the license just in case it DID defy expectations and become a big hit on the level of Pirates of the Caribbean. Same goes for Prince of Persia before it, or Angry Birds after it.

    Mind you, I doubt any of those themes was expected to last more than one consecutive wave, even if they HAD been commercially successful. Look what happened with Jurassic World — both the movie and sets were commercially successful, yet it still only got one wave of sets. Most movie franchises aren't expected to generate the same persistent levels of hype as Star Wars. But that doesn't mean it's not worth cashing in on an intended franchise starter when a new movie is imminent and the hype is at its peak. LEGO has more than enough big, reliable brands that they can afford taking a small gamble every now and then.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,736
    Aanchir said:
    I'm curious about how Lego felt about the Lone Ranger set sales. The movie bombed, and thus I'm sure the set sales were low, but the sets themselves, ignoring the licensing, were all great. So maybe they sold better than Lego hoped, all things considered.
    I figure Lone Ranger was just a sneaky way to bring back the old Wild West theme of the 90s' for the benefit of the designers, AFOLs, and any kids who still like the old west (never came up when I was a kid) while still getting bonus sales due to it being a tie-in. Lego seems smart enough to realize that the movie itself was never going to be that popular in the first place.
    I don't know, I think there was also an element of LEGO wanting to pick up the license just in case it DID defy expectations and become a big hit on the level of Pirates of the Caribbean. Same goes for Prince of Persia before it, or Angry Birds after it.

    Mind you, I doubt any of those themes was expected to last more than one consecutive wave, even if they HAD been commercially successful. Look what happened with Jurassic World — both the movie and sets were commercially successful, yet it still only got one wave of sets. Most movie franchises aren't expected to generate the same persistent levels of hype as Star Wars. But that doesn't mean it's not worth cashing in on an intended franchise starter when a new movie is imminent and the hype is at its peak. LEGO has more than enough big, reliable brands that they can afford taking a small gamble every now and then.
    TLG commonly does two waves of licensed sets a year. Scooby, PoP, Angry Birds, and older, like Toy Story, PotC, Jurassic Park...
  • Scott1Scott1 United StatesMember Posts: 48
    edited August 2016
    How did Alien Conquest do? The last time I checked my local Toys R Us still has tons of 7065 Alien Mothership that they somehow can't get rid of.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,023
    Sabata said:
    How did the Monster Fighter sets do? I really liked that theme, but It didn't seem to last very long.
    Quite well. It sold for its planned year, and the aftermarket price of The Zombies (the exclusive one in most countries) suggests that there are a good number of collectors of the series.
    catwrangler
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