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Smurftastic! After returning to the small screen, the Smurfs are coming back to the big screen. Nickelodeon Animation and Paramount Pictures have announced that they have partnered with LAFIG Belgium and IMPS to produce multiple feature films based on the iconic little blue characters and stories created by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo.
The first project under the new partnership banner is an animated musical film set to begin production this year. It is slated for a December 20, 2024, release.
The movie will be produced by Nickelodeon Animation in partnership with Paramount Pictures, LAFIG Belgium and IMPS. Pam Brady (South Park, Team America) will write the first movie.
"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, in a statement. "We're excited to tell a story that stays true to its origins, but with a Smurftastic 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, added: "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 Vice President, Movies and Global Franchises, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, will manage the LAFIG Belgium and IMPS partnership on behalf of the Studio and is in the process of identifying key creative leads including the director for the first film. Additional details will be available soon.
In addition, Nickelodeon, LAFIG Belgium, and IMPS have also announced that the original CG-animated television series The Smurfs has been picked up for a 26-episode second season.
Debuting in the pages of Franco-Belgian magazine Spirou in 1958, the Smurfs are a race of small, blue, humanoid characters who fill in typical archetypes such as intelligence ("Brainy Smurf"), laziness ("Lazy Smurf"), or grouchiness ("Grouchy Smurf"). They get into all sorts of adventures, often while evading capture from Gargamel, a human wizard obsessed with turning them into gold. Typically, the Smurfs have resided in the realm of animation, most notably in NBC's 1981-1989 cartoon, The Smurfs.
The upcoming 2024 Smurfs film will be Nickelodeon Animation's second CG-animated theatrical production following the Jeff Rose-helmed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Chapter, which is currently slated for an August 4, 202 release.