Good grief! 5 reasons 'The Peanuts Movie' hit a home run at box office

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Can you hear "Spectre" backers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson of Eon Productions, and the brass at MGM and Sony Pictures issuing a collective "Arrrgghh!" right now?

They could easily be feeling angst akin to Charlie Brown after a strong $45 million second-place opening by "The Peanuts Movie" held "Spectre" to a domestic debut of $73 million, below analysts' expectations and the $88 million 2012 debut of the most recent 007 film, "Skyfall."

Since Charlie is hardly a Hollywood A-list star, how did the Paul Feig-produced "Peanuts Movie" put a hit on the world's most famous super spy?

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"There is an inherent sweetness that comes with 'Peanuts' and you can see it in the way kids' faces light up," Chris Aronson, Fox's president of domestic distribution told TheWrap.

"They really relate to the problems he faces, like insecurity, and worrying about what people think about him, and he perseveres. That message becomes universal because most of us deal with those issues as adults as well, and I think that's why it resonated to the degree it did."

There were other reasons Charlie Brown hit a home run at the box office. Here are a few factors:

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Masterful Marketing
While "Peanuts" is beloved by millions, the comic strip ran from 1950 to 2000 and it hasn't been active for 15 years. The challenge faced by Marc Weinstock and the Fox marketing team was just the opposite of most animated movies, with the older crowd largely in hand, the younger set had to be sold. Mission accomplished: 70 percent of the audience was family and 46 percent was under the age of 25.

Bond Shot Himself in Foot
There was a steady drumbeat of negative headlines surrounding "Spectre" leading up to its debut. With many films, bad buzz doesn't matter to most moviegoers, but the news of the leaked script, budget overruns, Mexican tax dispute and star Daniel Craig's caustic comments reached a critical mass that didn't help, and Saturday's drop from Friday's number showed it.

Pitch-Perfect Reviews
"The Peanuts Movie" is at 86 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, while "Spectre" has a 62 percent rating. That alone wouldn't turn the tide normally, especially with a large and strong fan base like Bond's. But coupled with the troubled run-up, the negative notices had to the 24th film in Hollywood's most-storied film franchise. Despite seemingly divergent target demographic groups, they both played well with male and female, young and hold, so choices were made.

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Charlie Rallied for Rollout...
Movie theater owners showed a lot of faith in "The Peanuts Movie" and Fox was able to land it in 3,897 theaters, nearly as many as "Spectre," which was in 3,926 locations. While 007 had the IMAX theaters, Snoopy and the gang were in 3D, which delivered 27 percent of its domestic grosses.

The Nostalgia Factor
Adults who grew up reading the comic strips and watching the TV specials including "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" couldn't wait to see round-headed kid back in action. "The Peanuts Movie" maintained enough subtlety and intelligence that grown-ups could be entertained, and younger moviegoers would get a laugh. And while some adult fans groaned about the movie's CG animation, director Steve Martino ("Ice Age: Continental Drift") kept with contemporary trends in animation, rendering the characters in computer-generated three dimensions. Strip creator Charles M. Schulz might not have approved of the CGI, but the treatment enticed young fans without putting off their parents.

See more "Peanuts" in the gallery below!

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Good grief! 5 reasons 'The Peanuts Movie' hit a home run at box office
This photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation shows Snoopy and Charlie Brown from Charles Schulz's timeless "Peanuts" comic strip in their big-screen debut in a CG-animated feature film in 3D, "The Peanuts Movie." The movie releases in U.S. theaters Nov. 6, 2015. (Blue Sky Animation/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation via AP)
In this photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC, Snoopy takes to the skies to battle his arch nemesis in the new film, "The Peanuts Movie." The movie releases in U.S. theaters Nov. 6, 2015. (Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC via AP)
In this photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC, Lucy, right, is none too happy about Charlie Brown's newfound status in the new film, "The Peanuts Movie." The movie releases in U.S. theaters Nov. 6, 2015. (Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC via AP)
In this photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC, Charlie Brown and Lucy play in the new film, "The Peanuts Movie." The movie releases in U.S. theaters Nov. 6, 2015. (Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC via AP)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 5: Snoopy and Alan Tacher are seen on the set of 'Despierta America' to promote the film 'The Peanuts Movie' at Univision Studios on November 5, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 5: Snoopy and Francesca Capaldi are seen on the set of 'Despierta America' to promote the film 'The Peanuts Movie' at Univision Studios on November 5, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Paul Feig and Snoopy from 'The Peanuts Movie' ring the NASDAQ closing bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brook Christopher/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Paul Feig, David Wicks, and Snoopy from 'The Peanuts Movie' ring the NASDAQ closing bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brook Christopher/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Snoopy from 'The Peanuts Movie' mingles with school children at NASDAQ Closing Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Snoopy poses on his star at the star unveiling ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, November 2, 2015 in Hollwyood, California. Snoopy co-stars with Charlie Brown and Lucy in 'The Peanuts Movie' which opens in the US on November 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Director Steve Martino (front center) and the cast of 'The Peanuts Movie' attend the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at The Regency Village Theatre on November 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Actress Francesca Capaldi and singer Meghan Trainor attend the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at The Regency Village Theatre on November 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Actress Francesca Capaldi, purse detail, attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at Regency Village Theatre on November 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Snoopy and Meghan Trainor attend the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at Regency Village Theatre on November 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
BUENA PARK, CA - OCTOBER 31: (L-R) Alexander Garfin, Francesca Capaldi, Hadley Belle Miller, Noah Schnapp and Marleik Mar Mar Walker attend 'The Peanuts Movie' cast photocall at Knott's Berry Farm on October 31, 2015 in Buena Park, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Knott's Berry Farm)
SAINT PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 20: A young fan admires her Sally face painting at THE PEANUTS MOVIE Fall Festival Celebrating Charles M Schulz Day at Landmark Plaza on October 20, 2015 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Allied)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Francesca Capaldi attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at Pier 39 on October 19, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
SAINT PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Francesca Capaldi, voice of Little Red Haired Girl, Noah Schnapp, voice of Charlie Brown, and Hadley Belle Miller, voice of Lucy, pose for a photo with fans at THE PEANUTS MOVIE Fall Festival Celebrating Charles M Schulz Day at Landmark Plaza on October 20, 2015 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Allied)
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