Buys films rights for children's book set

Nickelodeon Movies has acquired the feature film rights to popular children’s book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

Books are penned by Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Hadler, and published by HarperCollins.

The announcement came Tuesday from Albie Hecht, film and TV prexy of Paramount-based Nick Movies, as well as senior VP Julia Pistor.

Billed as a cross between Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl, 13-volume “Series” centers on the Baudelaires, three orphans searching for a home.

Early in the series, the kids are taken in by Count Olaf, a villain angling for their inheritance. But tykes use their wiles to fend off their comic nemesis.

Hecht called the books “a perfect fit for Nickelodeon because the books take a contemporary world and stretch and heighten it to hilarious proportions. They don’t feel like traditional, soft, family fare. They’re smarter.”

Author Handler is best known for his young-adult title “The Basic Eight.” To distance himself from his alter ego, he often makes appearances calling himself an “associate” of Snicket.

After modest projects such as “Good Burger” and “Harriet the Spy,” 7-year-old Nick Movies has posted two recent winners in “Snow Day,” which grossed $60 million, and “The Rugrats Movie,” which cleared $100 million. A “Rugrats” sequel is due in November.

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