Peanuts Peanuts

France Will Produce 500 New “Peanuts” Shorts

Peanuts Worldwide, a joint venture between Charles M. Schulz Associates and Iconix Brand Group, has partnered with Normaal Animation and France Televisions to produce five hundred 90-second animated shorts adapted from Schulz’s classic comic strip Peanuts.

The development is part of a business strategy designed to build new global content for the Peanuts franchise that also includes the upcoming CG feature Blue Sky.

“Partnering with a dynamic production house such as Normaal Animation and a leading broadcaster like France Televisions, is a key step in our strategy to build all new content based on the characters and storylines by Charles Schulz,” says Neil Cole, chairman and CEO of Iconix Brand Group. “The new collection and format will also provide us with the opportunity to continually keep the characters in front of new generations of Peanuts fans.”

It has not been officially confirmed whether the new shorts will be animated traditionally or using CGI, and Normaal Animation’s portfolio is no indication as the Parisian studio is responsible for productions like Tangerine and Cow, Gaston and Hello World, which were created in a variety of media.

The animated shorts will be available for international distribution in fall 2014, and will also air on French television station France 3.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    Good Grief!

    • Charles Brun

      Bonne Douleur!

  • Thomas Paul Jennings

    They better not suck, that’s all I’m gonna say.

  • Mathieu Leblanc

    I thought Japan’s Madhouse got dibs for specials and shorts

    • Chris Sobieniak

      We all thought so too, sad if that deal went bust.

  • Alex Irish

    What’s with American producers wanting the French to animate their American properties?

    • Umm…It’s often cheaper to outsource and the French are good animators?

  • Teodor Ajduk

    I hope that they prepare revenge for smurfs

    • Arnaud

      Who are belgian (not french), by the way

  • Taco

    Schulz’s 1952 style was really where it was best visually. The problem though is at that point in his early comic career his characters were still in a state of creative transition to the versions of them that are most well know today. I really wish he’d kept the cute older style & use of basic perspective as time went on. It’s strange to actually see Schulz’s visuals digress as the years and popularity of his cartoon strip caused peanuts to shift more towards a commercial product, rather than creative expression of his personal anecdotes.

    • Schulz Fan

      He lost the basic perspective so that the viewer was down on the floor with the kids rather than looking down on them.
      I thought that was a cool touch, no?

      • Taco

        We’re clearly not going to agree on everything Schulz, Snoopy or Charlie Brown, but suffice to say we are both fans of the man and his work in one form or another. One of the earliest toys I got as an infant was a talking Snoopy doll that took cassette tapes so that snoopy would talk, sing & read to you from a Peanuts Story Books. It’s still in my folks attic somewhere. I understand most of the reasons why Schulz chose to limit his use of perspective in his comic strips. I still believe it was ultimately a commercial based & production based decision, and overall still see it as a mistake that took away some of it’s charm. Personally Calvin & Hobbs hands down trumps 60-70 style Peanuts for me, and I think it’s difficult to dispute how important and unfortunately how neglected perspective is in many cartoons & comics both past & present.

        • Funkybat

          Comparing Calvin & Hobbes with even the best of Schulz’s work is kind of like trying to have a direct comparison between a P.T. Anderson or Coen Bros. film vs. a film directed by Steven Spielberg or Ron Howard. In other words, it’s an apples and oranges argument, even though they are both comic strips and they are both more “substantial” than the typical syndicated newspaper comics of their day.

          Schulz had a certain style and voice, but it evolved quite a bit over time, and most “purists” would say the later work was almost never up the par compared to the early/mid career work. Schulz also was unapologetic in pursuing merchandising and advertising opportunities for his characters once they became popular enough to be marketable. Bill Watterson, on the other hand, had a very particular point of view, both for his strip, and for what his characters would be outside of the strip. In essence, he wanted them to exist in the comic and no where else. He fended off countless attempts by his syndicate to market the characters, and after a while decided to end the strip on his own terms. I see him as more of an auteur than a pop artist, while Schulz was definitely the latter. There is plenty to admire in both artists, as well as some things one could legitimately critique.

          I love both strips for what they are, and consider them to be on different tiers from one another. The artists had very different views of their place in their chosen field and the place their creations should inhabit.

    • Funkybat

      Eh, the early Peanuts have their own charm, but the personalities of the characters were not really defined and there were a lot of tertiary characters who either appeared sporadically, or were originally common but became virtually extinct later on.

      I feel like the late 50s-mid 60s period is when Peanuts was the height of the strip. The visual style and writing stayed pretty sharp until the late 70s, but I kind of like the 60s Snoopy, who was a nicer design (and more lively character) than early apple-head Snoopy or 80s-and-later “Corporate-looking” Snoopy. I love it when I find 60s-era merchanside (which isn’t all that rare) that features this older version of Snoopy, who was pretty much excised from any merchandise by the late 70s. reminds me of how much of a s__t-disturber and general trickster he once was.

  • Schulz fan

    And it was Bill MELENDEZ not “Mendelson”
    Don’t mean to sound Jerky, but if you’re going to bash something be sure you bash it properly.

    • Funkybat

      Uhm, I think he was referring to the *producer* of the classic Peanuts cartoons, Lee Mendelson. It was he who hired on and worked with Bill Melendez, the director.

  • Marbles471

    From where I see it, Melendez’s Peanuts models were, on the whole, a pretty accurate translation of Schulz’s characters. They even evolved along with Schulz’s drawing style. The designs in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” look very different from the ones in “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown,” and those changes pretty much reflect Schulz’s evolution in the strip.

    This is irrespective of my opinion that almost all the Melendez Peanuts work after 1972 was pretty bad. Those first six specials and the first two feature films were wonderful. Just wonderful. Particularly the first couple—-a nearly perfect translation of Schulz’s sensibility to the screen, aided by bold color, quietly stylized background designs, and snappy comic timing by the animators and child voice actors.
    But then, for reasons I’ll never understand, after Snoopy Come Home the artists began watering down everything that had made the previous animation so strong. The backgrounds became bland and generic, the snappy timing became mushy and weak, the takes and expressions became less flamboyant, and the kid actors usually just weren’t as perfect for their roles as that first bunch had been. And from Schluz’s end, the stories became flimsier and flimsier over time, devolving from merely meandering to practically plotless. (It was much more obvious than before that the storylines were cobbled together from storylines in the strip, especially as new connecting material became less emphasized.)
    The specials kept declining through the 1970s and 1980s, and by the 90s, they were so unbelievably bad it’s honestly hard for me to understand how CBS even approved them to air. Look up “It Was The Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown” on YouTube. I just can’t believe that was made by the same people that had been behind “Charlie Brown’s All Stars.”

  • While my inner-Charlie Brown hopes for the best, my inner-Charlie Brown fears the worst.

    That said, I’m going full Linus with this next one:

    IDW has announced the next artist to be featured in their over-sized ‘Artist Edition’ series: Charles Schulz! Peanuts: Artist Edition will measure a whopping TWO FEET WIDE, and will reproduce “the original art to the Charles Schultz strips, almost full size.”

    If ever there was a reason to build a new bookcase…

  • Rodan Thompson

    …. Oh Good Grief!!! WAAAH Waaah ah waah whaa ohhh? Whaaa Owww-wah ow-waaah? Whaaa whaaah! Translation: typical new age Hollywood trash producers tear apart another American icon for a buck!

    • Matt Norcross

      ….Oh Good Grief!!! How vile. Translation: You’re already judging a book by its cover. We don’t know how these new shorts or the new movie from Blue Sky are gonna be executed yet. Plus, there is still hope that they both will stay close to the comic strip Sparky made famous, and the Schulz family is getting involved in the feature film as well.

  • Matt Norcross

    Fox and Blue Sky had better prepare something that will be true to what the comic strip was in terms of humor in order to counter what Sony did with those abominations that were the Smurfs movies.