Studio acquires rights to 1939 children's book

In a deal pegged at seven figures, Twentieth Century Fox has acquired screen rights to “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” an adaptation of the beloved 1938 children’s book that will be produced by John Davis.

Sean Anders and John Morris have been set to write the screenplay.

The book, which won the 1939 Newbery Award, is about Mr. Popper, a house painter whose dreams of Arctic exploration prompt him to write letters to real explorers. One of them sends him a penguin, which he keeps in the icebox. Before he knows it, the painter has a litter of 12 beaked birds. They eat voraciously, leading him to form Popper’s Performing Penguins, a stage act that goes on tour and creates mayhem at every stop.

Davis will produce through his Davis Entertainment banner, and IPG’s Joel Gotler will be executive producer.

The scribes last teamed on “Sex Drive,” the comedy that Anders directed. They also wrote the DreamWorks comedy “She’s Out of My League.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more