Much like live-action, animation also tends to get bit by the nostalgia bug every now and then. This latest news report is no exception.
Animation News Network recently reported that Fox Animation has secured the rights to the iconic characters of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men and Little Miss line of children’s books. Shawn Levy will produce the film through his Fox-based 21 Laps Entertainment banner. Also producing the film is Sanrio Entertainment Division, the North American-based subdiary of the Japanese company that acquired the rights to the characters in 2011.
A childhood favorite of millions of people around the world, the books are split between two different series: the Mr. Men series (consisting of 49 books) and the Little Miss series (consisting of 42 books). Each book introduced an individual character with a name that correlated with their single dominant personality in order to convey a simple moral lesson.
“The Mr. Men and Little Miss characters have delighted readers from around the world for decades,” commented Fox Animation President Vanessa Morrison in making the announcement. “We are thrilled to work with Sanrio and 21 Laps on this beloved property.”
Interestingly enough, The Hollywood Reporter broke a similar story back in February of 2011. From what we can piece together, the situation may have been that Fox Animation and 21 Laps had plans to adapt the books, but the acquisition (which happened in December) and the subsequent shutdown of the previous rights holder (Chorion) proved to be roadblocks for Fox. Thus, it was only through various talks and agreements that they were able to get the full greenlight on a film adaptation, possibly on the condition that Sanrio produced along with 21 Laps.
“Sanrio Entertainment Division aims to connect fans with our properties beyond the standard retail license model,” said Janet Hsu, President and COO of Sanrio, Inc. “Partnering with Fox Animation will bring the Mr. Men Little Miss characters to life and evolve the storytelling for their multi-generational global fan base.”
Shawn also commented on the news, sharing his own love for the books: “I loved reading these books as a kid, and now I love reading them to my own kids,” Levy commented. “Their humor, wit and uniquely specific tone make this a truly classic series. I can’t wait to help shepherd them to the big screen.”
Fox Animation Production VP Ralph Millero will oversee the film for the studio. Will Rack and Emily Morris will oversee for 21 Laps.
“In addition to Sanrio’s ‘kawaii’ character family, the Mr. Men Little Miss characters are the perfect blend of self-expression, humor and nostalgia in a classic, contemporary brand,” said Ray Hatoyama, CEO of Mister Men Limited and Managing Director of Sanrio Co., Ltd. “We are excited to take Roger Hargreaves’ creations to a new level for their loyal fans from around the world and continue to expand our global business with this portfolio.”
The last adaptation of this property was a 2006 TV show titled The Mr. Men Show, which premiered on Cartoon Network in 2008 and was produced by Chorion and Renegade Entertainment.
As of current, there is no writer or director attached to the project. There’s also a good chance that the project may end up with Blue Sky Studios, as it does serve as the main animation arm of Fox (unless of course they have something else in mind).
What do you think? Any childhood memories of these books? Do you think a Mr. Men and Little Miss movie will work?
Edited by: Morgan Stradling