You’re in 3D, Charlie Brown! Or at least, you probably will be in three years. After more than 60 years as one of the world’s most beloved franchises, Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is getting a big budget film adaptation.
Twentieth Century Fox and Charles Schulz Creative Associates announced a deal to turn Peanuts into the next major animation franchise Tuesday. The studio negotiated with the Schulz family (Schulz himself died in 2000) for two years to make the deal happen, and they’ve already announced a release date: November 25, 2015, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the debut of the strip in 1950.
As for who’ll be making this thing, Fox has tapped director Steve Martino, who worked as co-director on Fox Animation hits like Horton Hears a Who! and Ice Age: Continental Drift. We don’t know yet if we can expect an animation style similar to those flicks for this one (though it’s probably a safe bet), but that does seem to give us an idea of the tone Fox is going for here. Whatever they do, though, they seem to have the Schulz family’s blessing.
“We have been working on this project for years. We finally felt the time was right and the technology is where we need it to be to create this film. I am thrilled we will be partnering with Blue Sky/Fox to create a Peanuts movie that is true to the strip and will continue the legacy in honor of my father,” said Craig Schulz, president of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and son of the Peanuts creator.
That statement actually is heartening to me, because I really don’t think this is something the Schulz family would sign on for just to get the cash. After all, Peanuts was read by more than 350 million people every day at its height, and even 12 years after the strip ended syndicated repeats still appear in newspapers everywhere. And then there are the DVD sales of Peanuts specials and smaller films of the past, Peanuts comic collections and oodles and oodles of merchandise. This franchise is still going strong (just walk into your local Hallmark store if you want proof), so I’d like to think they didn’t need a movie. Rather, they wanted one.
Either way, we’ll find out in three years if their deal nets us a Peanuts flick we can really love. And hey, if it doesn’t, we’ll always have that Christmas special.