Here’s a piece of news that 2D animation purists may have a tough time to swallow. Deadline.com reports that 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age, Rio) will be developing the popular Peanuts comic-strip into a CG-animated feature film franchise. Fox is ready to turn the hugely popular strip by Charles M. Schulz into a feature that is slated for a November 25, 2015 release. That date coincides with the 65th anniversary of the comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Steve Martino, who co-directed the Fox/Blue Sky’s Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! and Fox Animation’s summer blockbuster Ice Age: Continental Drift will helm the project. The screenplay is by Schulz’s son Craig Schulz and the writing team of grandson Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano.
Fox Animation head Vanessa Morrison told Deadline, “We are thrilled to partner with the Schulz family and Iconix and honored to bring the Peanuts characters to the big screen. This all started with our love and respect for the work of Charles Schulz. We thank the Schulz family and Iconix for letting Fox and Blue Sky bring his vision to new generations of film goers.”
Craig Schulz, President, Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, added, “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.”
In the animation world, the Peanuts franchise is perhaps best known for the timeless specials produced by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson and directed by Melendez—A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and the bittersweet features A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) and Snoopy Come Home (1972). Charlie Brown and Snoopy fans all over the world are crossing their fingers that Fox and Blue Sky will stay true to the the simple, warm-hearted essence of those beloved classics.