The studio that brought you the The Hunger Games and Divergent series is planning to make Magic Tree House its next big franchise. Lionsgate announced today that it acquired the rights to adapt the 54 children’s books written by Mary Pope Osborne, who will executive produce the multiple live-action films that are being planned.
If you grew up reading series like The Bailey Schools Kids, Junie B. Jones, and Captain Underpants, then you probably also read or at least heard of Magic Tree House. For everyone else, the series follows siblings Jack and Annie, who discover a treehouse filled with books that transport them throughout time. Their mission is to acquire special objects in order to free Morgan Le Fay (yes, that Morgan Le Fay) from a spell. With titles like Dinosaurs Before Dark, Mummies in the Morning, and Afternoon on the Amazon, it became a successful book franchise with more than 130 million copies sold.
Time will tell if the film series becomes just as popular, but as EW reports, the first installment is already in development. Osborne’s husband Will wrote the script with Jenny Laird, basing it primarily on the 29th book called Christmas in Camelot. According to a press release from Lionsgate, the project is described as follows:
In the movie, Jack and Annie rediscover the tree house after having outgrown it and are summoned to Camelot to be its saviors.
This seems like an opportunity to cast older teens in the leading roles to appeal to the young-adult crowd as opposed to the younger ages of the characters in the first book. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-President Erik Feig remarked in a statement how the studio is “always looking for magical worlds to expand into potential motion picture franchises.” Though this gives off a Chronicles of Narnia vibe, which didn’t do so well in the long run (even though another sequel/reboot is on the way), Lionsgate has had success in the books it chooses to adapt.