New York-based MiMO Studios is turning the Pout Pout Fish book series into a trio of 45-minute animated musical specials to teach preschoolers about self-awareness and being themselves.
Published by MacMillan, the books from author Deborah Diesen and illustrator Dan Hanna have sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide. MiMO’s new 3D-animated films are the first step towards crafting a franchise, says CEO Cyma Zarghami, who hopes they’ll develop a relationship with audiences that the studio can build on with a longer-form series.
“The unique look of Pout Pout Fish and the successful sales history of the books gives the brand a lot to offer,” she adds. “These films will help us test the IP’s potential and get to market quick so we can reach kids.”
The three films will see Pout Pout Fish make friends, clean up the pollution in his home, and deal with the fear that an aquatic version of Santa Claus has forgotten him at Christmas.
“At that young age, it’s important for kids to have content that models retrospection and shows them how to be themselves,” she says. “Pout Pout Fish—who always looks sad and grumpy—teaches kids that you don’t need to look or act in certain ways to make friends.”
Carin Greenberg (Doc McStuffins, Tumble Leaf) is attached to write the scripts, and MiMO has a five-page treatment and some character designs done. A full script and a pitch deck is on the way, adds Zarghami, who’s seeking broadcasters, distributors and co-producers for the films.
MiMO launched in early 2020, and this film series is among its first animated and preschool-skewing projects. Up to this point, the studio has been focused on producing family-friendly sports films such as The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, and it recently inked a deal with NBA point guard Baron Davis to create sports content for families.