It's the age of streaming, Charlie Brown, as Apple and DHX Media join forces to produce new content featuring the classic Peanuts characters. Created by the late Charles M. Schulz in 1950, the Peanuts comic strip introduced the public to the kind but ever-unfortunate Charlie Brown, his rascally pet beagle Snoopy, and their equally idiosyncratic group of friends. The strip ultimately ran for (about) fifty years and has since birthed everything from beloved holiday TV specials to hit animated features - and, of course, marketing tie-ins galore.
More recently, Charlie Brown and his pals made the jump to computer animation with 2015's The Peanuts Movie, a critically-acclaimed film that grossed $246 million in theaters worldwide. Since then, however, it's not been entirely clear what's next for the larger Peanuts brand, as far as screen adaptations go. Enter Apple, which intends to produce new Peanuts series for its upcoming slate of original streaming content.
According to THR, Apple and DHX Media (which acquired a stake in the Peanuts brand in 2017 and owns 41 percent of the Peanuts Worldwide rights) has finalized a deal to produce Peanuts series, shorts, and specials for Apple streaming. DHX will produce all of these projects and intends to further develop educational STEM shorts featuring Snoopy as an astronaut. The latter will also be exclusive to Apple.
As noted in THR's article, Apple's Peanuts series are part of the company's larger push to build up its original streaming programming for children. Netflix is currently well ahead of its competitors in that area, having already produced hit children's series based on popular brands like The Magic School Bus. The company won't be slowing down in 2019 either, having recently scheduled its animated Carmen Sandiego series for a January premiere and announced plans to produce multiple animated TV series based on Roald Dahl's literature. Apple is also stepping up its efforts in that regard, between its deal with DHX and its ongoing push to develop multiple live-action and animated series with the Sesame Workshop (as part of the five-year deal the pair completed this past summer).
The Peanuts brand, of course, has multigenerational appeal and its annual holiday specials are still big ratings draws - which, taken in combination with The Peanuts Movie's box office success, goes to prove just how popular Schulz's creations still are, nearly seventy years after their creation. This reads as a smart move by Apple, in other words, and should help the company to get a leg-up in the ongoing battle for supremacy in the age of streaming. Whether it'll be enough to help them catch up to Netflix, well, that's another story.