Lionsgate has acquired the movie rights to the “Magic Tree House” book series and is developing multiple live-action films to be released by its Summit Entertainment label.
The movies are based on the adventures chronicled in the 54-volume “Magic Tree House” collection. Author Mary Pope Osborne will executive produce along with her husband Will Osborne.
No other producers have been attached.
The “Magic Tree House” franchise has sold more than 130 million books, been translated into more than 35 languages and even spawned musical. The series follows brother and sister Jack and Annie after they discover a mysterious tree house and find a collection of books that transports them through history.
Will Osborne and Jenny Laird have written the script for the first installment, based primarily on Book 29, “Christmas in Camelot.” In the movie, Jack and Annie rediscover the tree house after having outgrown it and are summoned to Camelot to be its saviors.
“We’re always looking for magical worlds to expand into potential motion picture franchises, and this is an iconic property that is beloved and recognizable around the world,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-President Erik Feig. “The Magic Tree House books have been cherished by generations of readers, including my own children. We’re thrilled to bring the genius of Mary Pope Osborne’s iconic stories to the screen for their tens of millions of fans and to introduce a whole new audience to their magic.”
Prior to coming aboard as a writer on the feature script, Will Osborne was joined by Randy Courts in creating a musical adaptation, “Magic Tree House: The Musical,” and worked with composer Allen Toussaint for “Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans.” Osborne also developed a planetarium show entitled “Magic Tree House: Space Mission” for the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Osbornes and Natalie Pope Boyce have also created a non-fiction series to supplement the facts inspiring the Magic Tree House stories, entitled “Magic Tree House Fact Trackers.”
“Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series has impacted the way children learn to read in an extraordinary way, and she has sparked a lifelong love of reading in millions of children over the course of nearly 25 years,” said Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books. “We are so pleased to see that Mary’s magical storytelling will continue on in a new form, opening up worlds of adventure to new generations of readers.”
Eric Brown and Rose Schwartz of Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, represented Osborne and the screenwriters. Bonnie Stylides negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate.