It’s the time of year to play the Peanuts holiday classic, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and in no coincidence, today also brings news that Paul Feig will produce and oversee the animated Peanuts feature for Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. Directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!), the Peanuts feature will be based on the iconic characters created by the late Charles Schulz. The script was written by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano. Now due out November 6, 2015, Peanuts will mark Feig’s first animated feature and he couldn’t be happier. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
We learned in February that Guillermo del Toro signed on to produce an animated movie about the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead directed by Jorge R. Guiterrez. THR reports that Fox Animation has acquired the picture, now titled Book of Life, and plans to release it on October 10, 2014. Fox and the filmmakers aren’t ready to release the full logline just yet, but we heard back in February that Book of Life tells “a Romeo and Juliet-style love story set against a Mexican Day of the Dead backdrop.”
Fox Animation has a decade-long partnership with Blue Sky Studios (the guys behind the Ice Age series) that will continue with Epic, Rio 2, and the Peanuts movie everyone wants. But their upcoming slate adds a few more in-house productions like Book of Life, Walking with Dinosaurs, and Welcome to the Jungle. Del Toro has his own partnership with Dreamworks Animation, so I’m surprised they didn’t grab Book of Life. I am happy to see the project find any studio home, since a quick search on Google images pretty much guarantees an animated Day of the Dead film will pop on screen.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Deadline is reporting that Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios are adapting Charles Schulz‘ beloved comic strip Peanuts into a feature film. Before you start bemoaning the adaptation of everything that has ever existed in any other medium, keep in mind that at least this won’t be live-action or CGI/live-action, so we won’t have to worry about what kid actors should play Charlie Brown, although we’ll probably have a CGI Snoopy in our future. Furthermore, the script will be by Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, who are Schulz’s son and grandson. There’s a genuine sweetness, innocence, and simplicity to Peanuts, and I hope that the Schulzes and director Steve Martino (Ice Age: Continental Drift) will find a way to translate it to the big screen. However, I will say that it is times like these where I’m glad that Bill Waterson has gone out of his way to never license Calvin and Hobbes.
Fox plans to release Peanuts on November 25, 2015, which is the comic strip’s 65th anniversary, and the 50th anniversary of the TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Peanuts is read daily by 355 million people in 75 countries, and has previously been adapted into TV episodes and specials.
So many heady concepts had finally worked their way into mainstream American culture when Charles Schulz hit his stride with the Peanuts comic strip. Introspection was growing, and psychotherapy along with it. A questioning of the meaning of existence began to permeate a post WWII, post-McCarthy climate, and a simmering distrust of consumerism was also on the back burner. Comedy, as is well known, comes from pain, and there are few more striking ways to depict adult inner turmoil than through the glib, deadpan worldview of elementary school children. Schulz clearly had adults in mind when he wrote his strip, and his challenge with the cartoon TV specials was to tap into that laughable grown-up insecurity while still painting a canvas that kids would want to watch. Continued after the jump: