10 May 2000

Normally reluctant to lend his name to any third party commercial venture, Hollywood legend Stephen Spielberg has made an exception for Lego, the Danish-owned global brand – only the second time in his career he has done so. One hundred per cent of the director’s cut will benefit two charities: the Starbright Foundation for seriously ill children, and The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which preserves testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

The fruit of the alliance will be Lego’s new MovieMaker kit: a digital camera that plugs into a computer port, plus a cast of Lego characters, sets and props. It can also be integrated with Lego's classic building blocks – recently voted 'Toy of the Century'. Moving pictures as well as stills can be viewed on a computer monitor, and the shots captured and stored on a hard-disk.

The range of characters includes dinosaurs, other animals and people, allowing young moviemakers to recreate Spielberg's Jurassic Park. A library of sound effects even features the roar of an angry T-Rex while additional props and characters, including a rotating city, are planned for 2001.

MovieMaker – the latest example of Lego's strategic integration of its classic building blocks with technology – is expected to launch in the US in November, timed to coincide with the build-up to Christmas.

Sourced from: BBC Online Business News