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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