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Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have acquired big-screen rights to the late Charles Schulz’s Peanuts franchise.
The deal marks the culmination of more than two years of discussions about on the film’s creative direction between the studio and members of the Schulz family.
The untitled animated film has been scheduled for release on Nov. 25, 2015. That year will mark the 65th anniversary of the debut of the Peanuts comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Steve Martino, whose credits include Ice Age: Continental Drift and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, will direct the untitled feature. The screenplay is by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz are Schulz’s son and grandson, respectively. The three writers are also onboard to produce.
The film will be based on Schulz’s influential comic strip, which was read at the height of its popularity by 355 million people in 75 countries. In addition to the famous strip, Peanuts holiday television specials such as It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown have garnered Emmys and continue to be among the highest rated primetime TV specials.
Playing a key role in the deal was Neil Cole, president and CEO of Iconix Brand Group, which, in a joint venture with Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, formed Peanuts Worldwide in 2010, home to the Peanuts property.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Schulz family and Iconix and honored to bring the Peanuts characters to the big screen,” said Vanessa Morrison, president of Twentieth Century Fox Animation. “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 filmgoers.”
Twentieth Century Fox Animation director of development Ralph Millero worked closely with Morrison and with the Schulz estate in securing the rights to the property.
CAA and Ziffren brokered the deal for the writer, producers, Iconix and Peanuts Worldwide.
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