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Sony already smurfing ‘Smurfs 3’

Threequel script in the works with 'Over the Hedge' scribes

Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures are feeling confident in their upcoming “Smurfs” sequel, as the studios are already developing a script for “Smurfs 3” with scribes Karey Kirkpatrick and Chris Poche, sources tell Variety.

Duo previously worked together on DreamWorks Animation’s “Over the Hedge.” Jordan Kerner, who produced the movie and its sequel, is also on board to develop the third film.

Released last summer, “The Smurfs” grossed a boffo $563 million worldwide. Sony wasted no time announcing a sequel, waiting all of 12 days before setting a July 31, 2013 release for “Smurfs 2.” Sequel will see the return of director Raja Gosnell, producer Jordan Kerner and executive producer Ezra Swerdlow.

A live-action/CG hybrid, “Smurfs 2” has already started production, with most of the original cast back for the sequel, including stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Hank Azaria. New cast members include Brendan Gleeson, J.B. Smoove as a naughty smurf named Hackus and Christina Ricci as Vexy, an evil version of Smurfette (Katy Perry).

“Smurfs” is based on the Belgian comic characters created by Peyo.

In addition to “Over the Hedge,” Kirkpatrick and Poche collaborated on the script for Michael Lehmann’s 2007 indie comedy “Flakes.” Kirkpatrick separately had a hand in adapting the beloved children’s books “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

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