Just this morning (Tuesday), Fox Animation announced that the studio has secured the motion pictures rights to the iconic Mr. Men Little Miss characters. The deal was announced today by Fox Animation President Vanessa Morrison and Janet Hsu, President and COO of Sanrio, Inc. Fox Animation is the studio behind the ICE AGE and RIO movie franchises. Sanrio Entertainment Division, based in North America, develops brand extensions and experiential initiatives for U.S. and global distribution.

“The Mr. Men and Little Miss characters have delighted readers from around the world for decades,” commented Morrison. “We are thrilled to work with Sanrio and 21 Laps on this beloved property.”

“Sanrio Entertainment Division aims to connect fans with our properties beyond the standard retail license model,” said Hsu. “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 Levy – the producer and director of the blockbuster family franchise NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, among others – will produce through his Fox-based 21 Laps Entertainment. There is no director or writer yet attached to the project. Fox Animation Production VP Ralph Millero is overseeing Mr. Men Little Miss for the studio. Will Rack and Emily Morris are overseeing for 21 Laps.

Commented Levy: “I loved reading these books as a kid, and now I love reading them to my own kids. 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.”

The Mr. Men Little Miss series of timeless characters originated in books created by Roger Hargreaves in 1971 in the U.K. Each of the 85 characters is named after his or her unique personality traits, giving them wide appeal as they synch seamlessly with the personalities of their fans. Mr. Men Little Miss is a classic, evergreen brand whose colorful characters are woven into the lives of millions of children and adults worldwide. A Mr. Men Little Miss book is sold every 2.5 seconds across the world.

“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. 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,” said Ray Hatoyama, CEO of Mister Men Limited and Managing Director of Sanrio Co., Ltd.