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Kerner, Nick on Smurf turf

Studio gives classic Saturday morning toon CGI redo

Paramount’s getting the blues, acquiring film rights to vintage cartoon characters the Smurfs and setting up development of a 3-D CGI feature with producer Jordan Kerner and Nickelodeon Movies.

Producers have conceived the project as a trilogy and are aiming to release the first film in 2008 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs.

Par has tapped Herb Ratner to script. He recently wrote “Mr. Lucky” for Revolution and co-wrote Focus’ “Clean Break” with Trevor Sands. Storyline is being kept under wraps.

Kerner Entertainment production topper Paul Neesan, who helped acquire the rights, will exec produce along with Nick senior VP Julia Pistor. Paramount veep Matt Jackson will oversee for the studio.

The Smurfs originated in 1958 as a Belgian comic strip from Peyo (Pierre) Culliford. NBC launched “The Smurfs” in 1981, spawning 256 episodes and multiple Emmy awards.

Teaming of Nick and Kerner on “Smurfs” comes as the shingles have wrapped production on “Charlotte’s Web” together with Walden Media. That pic, starring Dakota Fanning, is set for a June release.

Nick and Kerner announced previously that they were working together on adaptations of the “Aliens for Breakfast” series and on “The Trumpet of the Swan,” E.B. White’s final book.

Paramount recently set up a remake of the comedy “Summer School” with Kerner.

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