With the tidal wave of summer 2015 blockbusters rapidly approaching theater shores, it's easy to forget the humble Peanuts gang will be hitting the big screen for the first time ever only a few months later. 15 years after syndication of the popular comic strip officially stopped, and nearly 35 years since the latest animated TV special, 20th Century Fox is teaming with Blue Sky Studios to revive Charles Schulz's beloved characters in The Peanuts Movie.And with new life comes a new story. Centered on its two most iconic characters, the film follows Snoopy (the world's most lovable beagle) as he faces off against archenemy the Red Baron, and Charlie Brown (everyone's favorite "Round-Headed Kid") as he tries to win the affection of the Little Red-Haired Girl. Luckily, they won't be alone in their quests.Debuting on Fandango, Fox and Blue Sky have debuted three brand new character posters featuring the inseparable duo Peppermint Patty and Marcie, as well as "major player" Schroeder. They join previously released posters for Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Linus, and Lucy.
Check out the posters below (click to enlarge):
While providing insight into each character with a short tagline, the new designs also continue the established marketing strategy of associating the film with bright colors, light-hearted humor, and an admittedly fantasy-like appeal. Despite the melancholy tone of the original comic strip, it seems the two studios want to highlight the optimism and joy of Schulz's enduring creations. Whether or not the new adaptation also includes some signature gloom remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to judge if the advanced 3D animation can properly translate Schulz's brand of minimalistic charm and endearment to the screen. The frenetic way the artist illustrated his characters was one of the comic's key strengths, so the film's ability to recapture that energy and psychological sensibility will partly determine its success - at least, in terms of faithfulness to the source. With that in mind, another primary challenge facing the movie will be pleasing long-time readers of the comic strip - and fans of the animated TV specials - while simultaneously introducing the oddball yet relatable world to a new generation of youth.
It's certainly not the first time movie studios have tried to modernize the magic of classic comic and cartoon characters - and indeed, "modernize" often carries with it a negative stigma. Back in 2000, audiences and critics alike were underwhelmed by Universal Pictures' reimagined Rocky and Bullwinkle, and even more so by 20th Century Fox's soulless adaptation of Garfield four years later. If done right, though, The Peanuts Movie could potentially open the door to further franchise potential for Charlie Brown and Co., as well as for other popular properties like Calvin and Hobbes (assuming creator Bill Watterson can ever be convinced).
Let's just hope that wouldn't lead to yet another shared cinematic universe a la Marvel with Peanuts, Garfield, and other comic strip characters - "good grief" is right!
The Peanuts Movie opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.