Production on MIMO Studios and Like a Photon Creative’s animated adaptation of Pout-Pout Fish has started production in Australia, with Macmillan Publishers boarding the project, The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively announce.

Based on the best-selling preschool picture book franchise from author Deborah Diesen and illustrator Dan Hanna, Pout-Pout Fish: The Movie will feature an original adventure of The Pout-Pout Fish — a titular character with a frowny face and big heart — and various underwater friends as they navigate their undersea world. Named a New York Times bestseller and top 10 children’s book by Time magazine, the Pout-Pout franchise spans more than 40 titles and has sold over 10 million copies in print.  

“At a time when the demand for kids and family content is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the runaway success of films like Super Mario Bros., we are so thrilled and honored to be able to partner with the incredibly talented Like a Photon Creative to bring the wonderful book series The Pout-Pout Fish to life,” MIMO Studios founder and CEO Zarghami said. “With a slew of wonderful adventures and incredible brand awareness, this is the exact type of project I envisioned when I began MIMO and is something that certainly could become a major franchise for us.”

Macmillan Publishers will serve as executive producer and financier of the project, which was originally acquired by longtime kids and family exec Zarghami’s company back in 2020. The book series, which launched in 2008 and was first published by MacMillan, was among one of the first announced projects for the full-service production and consultancy company from the Nickelodeon veteran focused on kids and family content.

Pout-Pout Fish The Movie

‘Pout-Pout Fish: The Movie’

Courtesy of MIMO Studois/Like a Photon Creative

“Macmillan is thrilled to be working with the brilliant teams at Like a Photon and MIMO Studios to bring our beloved picture book franchise to life on the screen,” Jen Besser, president of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, said. “Over the past 15 years, The Pout-Pout Fish has become a favorite of children and parents alike, and this is the perfect next chapter.”

Pout-Pout Fish: The Movie was previously reported as part of a multiple 3D animated TV-length movie deal, which also saw the acquisition of the serialized kids podcast The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian. Original songs were set to accompany Pout-Pout tales about the story’s titular character facing various issues and challenges like water pollution and standing up for others.

“Like a Photon Creative are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring the beloved Pout-Pout Fish story world to life,” said Nadine Bates and Kristen Souvlis, co-founders of the Australia-based studio. “Not only is this film a unique and fresh take on underwater living, but the underlying concepts of self-acceptance and found-family are very close to our hearts. We can’t wait to share this gorgeous story with young audiences around the world.”

Other recently announced projects from MIMO studios includes live-action projects Code Club, an original property that focuses on relevant coding language and a screen adaptation of Brittany Geragotelis’ book series The Infamous Frankie Lorde.


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