Deadline reports that Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Ice Age creators Blue Sky Studios will be turning Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang into a feature film franchise.
Not only do we get the announcement of the film today, but it already has an exact release date set: November 25, 2015. That date marks the 65th anniversary of the comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Steve Martino, who co-directed Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! and Ice Age: Continental Drift, has been brought on as director.
The screenplay is by Charles’ son Craig Schulz, and assisting him with the writing will be Charles’ grandson Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. That trio of writers will also produce the film.
Craig Schulz, who is also president of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, released a statement about the film:
“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.”
The fact that Schulz is talking about the technology in place has me very worried. Part of the magic of the classic Peanuts specials is the nostalgic feel they have. If this film deviates from the standard 2D animation to more of an Ice Age look, many fans (this writer included) will utter a collective “good grief.” However, if Fox blesses us will a feature film that honors the original specials, this could be the best animated film in some time.
The move does make sense for Fox, as the strip was read by over 355 million people in 75 countries, but I think they’ll have to tread carefully to avoid hoards of furious fans.
Still, I’m expecting this film to be something sweet, so hopefully we don’t just get a rock.