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Young-girl sensation ‘Judy Moody’ heading to theaters this summer

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We’re not especially up on just what is cool among third-graders these days. But those who are — or at least who have kids who are — extol the Judy Moody children’s book series and its popularity among the schoolkids. Which we suppose makes it good news for said kids, and parents, that an independent movie based on the character is coming to theaters.

Nascent distribution label Relativity Media announced today that it had acquired rights to ‘Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer’ and will put it in theaters this summer. The film, which is currently in production, is a new set of adventures based on Megan McDonald’s precocious third-grade title character. (There are about 10 previously published books, as well as a handful of spinoffs involving Stink, Judy’s brother.) According to a Relativity release, the film ‘chronicles Judy Moody’s adventures, in which she sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life with the help of her little brother Stink and fun-loving Aunt Opal.’

We, however, prefer the patois-heavy product description on Amazon: ‘Roar! It’s not bad enough that Mom and Dad are heading to California, leaving Judy and Stink with Aunt Awful (er, Opal), but now Judy’s two best friends are going Splitsville, too. Just when it looks like her summer is going to be BOR-ing - eureka! - Judy comes up with the most thrill-a-delic plan ever.’ McDonald herself wrote the screenplay, taking her characters in new directions; Heather Graham stars as Opal. (Aussie newcomer Jordana Beatty plays the young heroine.)

Maybe most eye-catching: The film is being produced by the team that brought us ‘Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.’

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Movies based on young-girl properties (‘American Girl,’ ‘Ramona and Beezus’) have a checkered history on the big screen. But if you’re bringing out a new movie, a hugely popular book series isn’t a bad place to start.

— Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT


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