In one of MRC’s biggest IP acquisitions to date, the independent film and television studio has secured film, television, live stage and related ancillary rights to, Eloise, the beloved series of children’s books written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight.
MRC will work closely with UK-based HandMade Films and collaborate with the Thompson estate, illustrator Knight, as well as Simon & Schuster, the book series’ publisher, to develop various adaptations. Handmade’s Trudi Francis will serve as an executive producer on all projects.
First published by Simon & Schuster in 1955, Thompson’s Eloise books have sold more than 15 million English-language copies to date around the world.
“We are honored to be entrusted with bringing Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight’s beloved Eloise to life for a new generation of children, as well as all her ardent admirers throughout the years,” said MRC Film Co-Presidents Brye Adler, Jonathan Golfman and MRC Television President Elise Henderson. “We are thrilled to be once again partnering with Handmade and cannot wait to see what mishaps and adventures Eloise gets herself into.”
HandMade, the company founded by late ex-Beatle George Harrison in the 1970s, which had been largely dormant for the past couple of decades, acquired film, television, music and merchandising rights to all Eloise-titled properties in 2002.
The rights were licensed for two TV movies on ABC starring Julie Andrews and Sofia Vassilieva, which aired in 2003, Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime, and for Eloise: The Animated Series, an animated series, which had a brief run on Starz Kids & Family in 2006. A planned feature, Eloise in Paris, which was to star Jordana Beatty and Uma Thurman, never got off the ground, neither did a direct-to-DVD film, Eloise in Africa, or a Broadway musical which was announced in 2005.
Eloise is a self-assured child who lives in a luxurious hotel in New York, The Plaza. She is looked after by her British nurse, Nanny, and has two beloved pets: a dog named Weenie and a turtle, Skipperdee, for whom she calls room service. She has her own language with endless monologues, and a rather enormous imagination.
“Eloise is a beloved, multi-generational little girl who has had over 60 years of great fun and adventures,” said Handmade Films’ Trudi Francis. “We are very proud to have been involved with Eloise since 2003, working with the late Kay Thompson’s family, Hilary, the team at Simon & Schuster and Stephen Miller at The Plaza Hotel. We have always ensured we respect the fond memories of existing fans, and now look forward to introducing her to a whole new generation, with our friends at MRC, with whom we are delighted to be working with again on a project very dear to us.”
MRC has buzzy feature Knives Out out and is behind hit Netflix drama Ozark. Its upcoming project include the Paramount feature The Lovebirds, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, series The Great on Hulu starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult and The Outsider on HBO starring Cynthia Erivo and Ben Mendelsohn.