“The Smurfs” empire will continue to expand.
Multiple feature films based on the Smurfs, as well as another season of the original television series, have been put into development, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation announced on Monday. A renewed emphasis on the tiny blue creatures is the result of a new creative partnership with LAFIG Belgium and IMPS, the company that owns the Smurfs brand. (Sony Pictures previously held film rights to the Smurfs.)
The first project under the alliance will be an animated musical film, which is slated to begin production this year and set to release in theaters on Dec. 20, 2024. Pam Brady, a “South Park” alum, has come on board to write the upcoming movie.
Created by the Belgian comics artist known as Peyo, the Smurfs have been the subject of several feature films over the years, most recently in Sony’s 2011 movie “The Smurfs.” Despite negative reviews, the Neil Patrick Harris-led film became a commercial smash and spawned a 2013 sequel.
On the television side, “The Smurfs” show has been picked up for a second season, which will consist of 26 episodes. The series launched in September 2021 in the U.S. and later debuted on Nickelodeon channels internationally.
“Nickelodeon is the home to some of the world’s most popular family franchises, and we’re honored to add ‘The Smurfs’ to that roster,” said Ramsey Naito, President of Animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation. “We’re excited to tell a story that stays true to its origins, but with a Smurf-tastic musical twist that excites new audiences and builds on the Smurfs franchise and universe of wonderful characters and stories.”
Véronique Culliford, founder and president of LAFIG and IMPS, adds, “It is with great joy and pride that I welcome this new ‘Smurfs’ film! I am truly excited with this wonderful partnership with the talented, creative and dynamic teams at Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation, and IMPS. I am convinced that this great collaboration will allow families around the world to immerse themselves in this unique universe of humor and extraordinary adventures. I have no doubt that my father, creator of these marvelous world-famous characters, would also be delighted with this continuation of his work. I look so forward to seeing audiences gather together in the near future to enjoy this new adventure of our beloved Smurfs!”
Latifa Ouaou, executive VP of movies and global franchises, at Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, will manage the LAFIG Belgium and IMPS partnership on behalf of the studio. She is currently in the process of hiring key creative leads, including a director, for the previously mentioned animated musical.
“The Smurfs is an iconic and beloved franchise, and we can’t wait introduce it to a whole new generation of fans by bringing a fresh cinematic perspective to the Smurfs franchise with this all-new story on the big screen,” Ouaou said.
“The Smurfs” film marks another step in Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation’s push to enter the theatrical space. A new animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is slated for August of 2023, while “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” a sequel to the studio’s 2021 surprise box office hit, is set for October of 2023. Paramount will distribute those films in theaters.
In addition to the content partnership on big and small screens, the new allegiance will wring the brand for consumer product riches. ViacomCBS, the parent company of Paramount and Nickelodeon, has become the consumer products licensing agent for The Smurfs property across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and certain South American territories. ViacomCBS’s consumer products team will seek new merchandising and promotional partners in specific categories and territories for the Smurfs classic brand, in addition to a new product line for the new animated series “The Smurfs,” spanning a variety of categories, launching at retail in 2022.
For the film, the Smurfs’ right owners are represented by WME’s Dave Wirtschafter, Rob Markus and Jordan Naftalis.