You don’t need a lot to sell audiences on a planned Peanuts movie. Cue the familiar notes of the classic cartoon’s theme song, composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi. Show up ol’ blockhead himself, Charlie Brown. Have him utter his signature catchphrase, "Good grief!" while the mischievous pup Snoopy dances around him. Then tell audiences where they can buy tickets.
That’s basically how the show went down this morning as 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Animation unveiled the first look at the upcoming Peanuts movie. Directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!), the feature has been in the works since 2012, when the estate of the late artist Charles M. Schulz figured out how best to bring these beloved comic-strip characters to the big screen after a long hiatus.
As we reported earlier, producer/director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) will oversee the creation of this new Peanuts movie, which will be co-written by Schulz’s son, Craig, along with Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano. At the time, Feig told Deadline, "Growing up, Peanuts was my Star Wars. Charles Schulz’s characters influenced everything in my career, especially Freaks and Geeks. I’m thrilled I’ll finally get to be pals with Charlie Brown and Snoopy."
So it sounds like the Peanuts gang is in great hands. Horton actually ended up being an underrated, subversive and incredibly funny family comedy, with spectacular animation. And I really, really love the brief bit of animation that we are seeing in this first Peanuts clip. Maybe its because our eyes are always used to seeing these characters drawn in that flat, rudimentary style, but now that they have a new visual approach, they have more depth, more brightness… more life.
It comes through in these official stills released by the studio, as well.
The Peanuts movie is on track for a November 6, 2015 release date. That puts it in theaters opposite Bond 24 at the moment, though there hasn’t been much new movement on that sequel yet, so we’ll see if it sticks. Meanwhile, as animated movies like The LEGO Movie and Mr. Peabody & Sherman clean up at the box office, we sit back and wonder just how many peanuts a modern Peanuts movie can make.