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Blue Sky to produce Charlie Brown feature

Deadline Hollywood broke the news this morning that 20th Century-Fox and Blue Sky Studios will produce a new feature length movie starring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. The film is targeted for release on November 25th, 2015, a date that commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip by Charles Schulz (which began Oct. 2nd 1950), and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (which first aired December 9th, 1965). It’ll also be 35 years since the release of the last theatrical Peanuts animated feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!), from Paramount in 1980.

Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) will direct from a screenplay is by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, who are Schulz’s son and grandson, will produce with Uliano.

Since Schulz death in 2000, I’ve been impressed how well the Schulz family has managed the Peanuts characters and brand. Unlike the Dr. Seuss estate, the Schulz team has produced a wonderful direct-to-video film, a new comic book (from KaBoom) and merchandising that honors Charles Schulz and his legacy. Let us hope that this move into CG territory is handled with the same good taste.