‘Peanuts Movie’: Creator’s Son Explains How It Stayed True To Father’s Legacy

Fans and critics of The Peanuts Movie can rest assured in knowing that it received the Schulz family’s seal of approval.

That is primarily because Craig Schulz, son of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, was determined to keep his father’s legacy intact.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Craig shared behind-the-scenes details about The Peanut Movie, including Blue Sky Studio’s involvement with the project years before it was released in theaters.

Back in 2008, nearly eight years after Charles Schulz passed away, John Cohen with Fox Animation reached out to Craig with a CG-animated short film developed by Blue Sky Studios featuring the iconic Peanuts characters.

According to the report, the Schulz family had already received a vast number of requests for big-screen adaptations after Charles’ death and turned them down in respect of Charles’ legacy.

However, Craig apparently decided to see the short film anyway. Even though he initially rejected it, he opened up about the positive outlook that he had about their overall effort.

“The [Schulz] family didn’t like it at all. They thought the animation was terrible and Snoopy was all wrong… I saw how beautiful it could be if they could get the characters right.”

Craig was reportedly impressed with what Blue Sky Studios did with the detailed backgrounds in the short film, including the trees, clouds, ice, and snow.

Peanuts Movie
(Photo Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

Behind closed doors, the Schulz family was working on a televised Peanuts Movie project but decided to turn the approved script into a feature film instead, a project that they offered to Fox and Blue Sky Studios without delay.

Even though the Schulz family decided to bring Peanuts to the big-screen, Craig strategically approached the negotiation process with Fox to ensure that he retained creative control throughout the entire process.

They gave director Steve Martino the opportunity to direct The Peanuts Movie based on how well he worked with respecting Dr. Seuss’ brand in the 2008 film Dr. Horton Hears a Who!.

The fact that the movie was released in “the digital age” of 2015 had nothing to do with the underlying, non-modernized story of The Peanuts Movie.

Peanuts Movie
(Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Knott’s Berry Farm)

According to Craig Schulz, that was not coincidental. On the contrary, it was part of the agreement that the Schulz family spent two years negotiating with Fox Animation Director of Development Ralph Millero.

“We were told that you have to have celebrity voices, you have to have hip-hop music — you have to have this stuff to reach the new generation, but we kept fighting back to say if you have a good story with heart and emotion, people will love it. And I think that’s been proven… For the Schulz family, everything we do is to honor my dad’s work and the last thing on our want list is money. It’s always about quality control and making the best things we can.”

The Peanuts Movie generated $44.2 million at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Craig Schulz made it clear that he is not in a rush to make a follow-up sequel, claiming that he thought “it would be great” to “see one really good Peanuts movie” in his lifetime.

[Image Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images]