Is Peanuts or Looney Tunes a better fit for the new Six Flags?

July 7, 2024, 6:34 PM · With the Cedar Fair and Six Flags theme parks now officially merged under the Six Flags brand, here is one of many questions for the new company's management to consider - which IP should the company use for its children's lands?

The former Cedar Fair parks brand their kids lands to the Peanuts franchise, while the old Six Flags parks license Looney Tunes from Warner Bros., the company's one-time owner. The merger of Cedar Fair and Six Flags became official July 1, but the parks within the new company are operating under "business as usual" deal for at least the remainder of the 2024 season.

Cedar Fair had licensed its Peanuts characters through the end of 2025, while the former Six Flags had its DC and Looney Tunes license locked up until 2053. The new Six Flags presumably could extend the Peanuts license for another five years, as per that agreement, but the Looney Tunes license is paid on a per-park basis, so it's not like the new Six Flags would be getting an automatic licensing discount by switching the Peanuts parks to Looney Tunes.

So let's push this by asking the most important question for the future of the new Six Flags - which franchise provides is more popular with fans? Does Peanuts or Looney Tunes resonate stronger with young visitors and their families?

Unfortunately, both franchises have seen better days. Animation is dominating the box office right now, but neither Peanuts or Looney Tunes enjoy even a taste of that action. Apple TV+ has been developing new Peanuts content, but that hasn't hit like Disney, Pixar, or Illumination titles have in recent years. Warner Bros. shelved its "Coyote vs. Acme" feature film and last year announced that it was pulling its classic Looney Tunes cartoons from the Max streaming service before backing off and claiming the announcement was in error. Still, many fans were left feeling disrespect from the management at Warner Bros. Discovery toward the classic cartoon characters who helped build that studio's reputation for generations.

Ultimately, it's not the IP that matters in a theme park attraction as much as what creative designers do with that IP. But a popular franchise offers designers an immense head start in building fan desire for new attractions. And neither Six Flags nor Cedar Fair have been known for doing much more than decorating off-the-shelf carnival rides in their Snoopy and Looney Tunes lands.

So IP matters here. Remember, it possible - and likely, in the case of Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California - that the next Six Flags will use multiple franchises in its children' lands. But since we are asking you to choose...

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Replies (16)

July 7, 2024 at 7:02 PM

Knott’s was the only Cedar Fair park that actually did anything with the Peanuts, the other parks just treated them as an afterthought. Which, makes sense because the Peanuts was licensed with Knott’s long before being bought off by Cedar Fair

Either The Peanuts will stay Knott’s exclusive after 2025, or Looney Tunes and DC heroes will take over after 2025.

July 7, 2024 at 10:17 PM

From a business perspective, Peanuts is more caring and developing their IP than Loony Toons is. Currently WB will go into investing in a film only to can it, where as Peanuts is releasing content. In effect, making Peanuts more valuable.

Now if WB management changed ship and started investing in their IP property properly, then that can change the equation. But as it stands… Peanuts is more in the current conciseness than Looney Tunes.

July 8, 2024 at 12:01 AM

Looney Tunes. I love Peanuts as much as the next guy, but that’s a franchise that is supposed to represent a slice of childhood that doesn’t lend itself to a theme park narrative. Looney Tunes has a wide variety of characters and settings to explore.

July 8, 2024 at 3:57 AM

Maybe this is just pure hopium, but if Six Flags drops WB, then maybe Universal could dust off their old ideas for the franchise….

July 8, 2024 at 7:47 AM

They never really did much with Looney Tunes other than a lightly themed kid zone. The cave in Dallas was probably the most (and that new theme on the cave is beyond horrible- it’s like they took out all the characters and went to Halloween Express on a budget). They basically just named things and had an image or two of the character. It was nice when they played the classic cartoons in the queues, and I always noticed people loved them.

What they should do is play off the humor of the classic cartoons and actually have some themed attractions. An actually super fast road runner coaster. An indoor screen based flying dark attraction on a Marvin the Martian flying saucer. A haunted castle with witch hazel and the other monsters. The humor of the brand has always been what LTs is about, and they have never really played that up.

July 8, 2024 at 9:34 AM

I’m still hopeful that a Peanuts dark ride with seasonal overlays will one day appear in a theme park. Snoopy and The Peanuts Gang are most well known for their holiday TV specials, especially Christmas and Halloween.

July 8, 2024 at 9:58 AM

Since the deal was announced my thinking has been that the combined entity should keep the Peanuts deal and look into releasing both the Looney Tunes and DC contracts. Popular IP is important for destination resorts that have the wherewithal to create immersive environments, but less so for regional parks that primarily use signage and other light theming elements to decorate coasters and spin & spew attractions.

Releasing the contract would mirror what Cedar Fair did with its last big merger, when the company successfully moved on from Nickelodeon and Paramount movie theming after buying the former Paramount Parks. And the new Six Flags might be able to negotiate a buy out from WBD, which might be more attractive to a potential future buyer without the encumbrance of a long term Six Flags contract.

July 8, 2024 at 10:15 AM

That may be a good idea. Nobody goes to a six flags park because they are looney tunes fans. Star Wars fans most definitely go to Disney. Same with Potter. If they just plan to put a Bugs Bunny cutout next to a kiddie ride, then maybe they should save the money and clean up/upgrade the parks. I think if they keep them, then they need to use it. As to Peanuts, look, I am old enough to appreciate the IP, but there are so few people these day that even have a passing knowledge of it. I don’t how much the licensing fees would be for Peanuts, but unless it is peanuts then they should let that go.

July 8, 2024 at 10:24 AM

I don't think they need to pick one over the other. However, I think it's concerning that both IPs are antiquated and have lost touch with the public consciousness over the past 2 decades. Sure, Peanuts gets a jolt of popularity during the various holidays, but even that is muted these days behind the Apple-TV paywall.

I think kids' IPs are always problematic, because it's tricky to find one that's going to last the test of time. Both Looney Toons and Peanuts have proven that, especially compared to some more modern IPs, but the lack of new material from these 2 franchises recently means most kids are probably introduced to these IPs in the parks, and even their parents might only have passing familiarity with them. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it probably means that SF would be paying big licensing dollars for IPs that are not really generating revenue to justify the cost. Peanuts and Looney Tunes are probably generating more revenue the other way not only from the licensing contracts, but the awareness of the IPs generated from being in the parks.

Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of Looney Toons, but understand the dicey history that the older cartoons present. Bugs Bunny and the gang were a big part of my childhood that eventually led me to Tiny Toons and Animaniacs (which would have to be separately licensed from WB but are free from some - but not all - of those controversial elements), but that connection just doesn't exist with today's kids or even some of their Millennial parents.

I have no idea how much SF and CF spend to license these IPs, but to retheme these areas if they wanted to drop one of the franchises wouldn't be cheap.

July 8, 2024 at 10:42 AM

As much as I adore Peanuts, I can see Looney Tunes having more recognition with kids and thus better range to build rides around. It's been that way for my Six Flags Great America even back when it was owned by Marriott so just see it working better.

July 8, 2024 at 11:03 AM

While in general, I think both IP aren't even close to the relevancy of IP at Disney or Universal, I think Peanuts (especially Snoopy) are instantly recognizable to most children because of the holiday specials and the simple cute factor involved.

Looney Tunes is great, but the format and their humor doesn't lend itself well to movie format. They will rarely have a blockbuster movie, even if they keep putting a film out every few years. Coyote vs. Acme was shelved, but "The Day the Earth Blew Up", a Daffy and Porky movie should be coming out this year.

I personally hope that Six Flags relinquishes all of The DC and Looney Tunes IP so that they can get quality attractions at Universal Studios someday (like the original plans for IOA had).

July 8, 2024 at 1:33 PM

We got designs for both, and both would make GREAT family rides!

July 8, 2024 at 6:19 PM

I think both have potential. Looney Tunes does have an added benefit of having a larger canvas of characters to utilize compared to Peanuts.

In terms of popularity / brand recognition, as its been mentioned, both have fallen off BUT, it also just takes a single hit to propel either back to public conscious.

A similar dormant IP, Garfield, recently had a fairly successful return with the Chris Pratt starring film. It isn't far fetched to think the same thing "could" happen with Looney Tunes or Peanuts.

July 9, 2024 at 6:03 AM

Robert, you hit the nail on the head with “ Ultimately, it's not the IP that matters in a theme park attraction as much as what creative designers do with that IP.” Cars is among the worst of all Pixar movies but Radiator Springs Racers is one of the top Pixar-based attractions. The Transformers movie are terrible IMO, but I love the ride.

That being said, Looney Tunes is the easy answer based on the canvas it gives ride designers compared to Peanuts. Peanuts has basically one location and it’s not non-descript suburbs. And the characters are all just regular kids and a non talking bird and dog. Looney Tunes has such a wide variety of talking animal characters and settings that can make for great theme park attractions- the desert of Roadrunner and Coyote, our space with Marvin the Martian, the woods with Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer Fudd, the Old West with Yosemite Sam, etc.

July 10, 2024 at 10:23 AM

Does anyone on here have kids in the target age group for these lands? How familiar are they with either of these franchises? Six Flags should poll parents with children that age and ask that question.

Design-wise, I think that Looney Tunes offers a wider variety of characters on which to base attractions, but as has been mentioned before, they don't do that much theming anyway. The attractions are pretty generic.

So for me it may come down to meet-and-greets and shows. Would your kid rather get a hug from Bugs Bunny or Snoopy?

July 11, 2024 at 12:36 PM

I have a 5 year old and an 11 year old. They are familiar with both Peanuts and Looney Tunes. We watch the Peanuts holiday specials every year, and we often watch old Looney Tunes shorts on YouTube. My eldest also loves Space Jam and Space Jam 2. Of the two, the enjoy the slapstick comedy of Looney Tunes more, and would rather get a hug from Bugs and Daffy than Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

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