Earlier this year we posted what were supposedly the first shots of early CGI designs for a Smurfs movie. After some nasty e-mails from people involved, it turns out that the photos had nothing to do with any movies. Alas, here we are four months later confirming news that there is actually a Smurfs movie now officially in the works at Sony. J. David Stem and David Weiss, who wrote the last two Shrek films, are in negotiations to write the screenplay. Producer Jordan Kerner actually secured the rights in 2002 and has been developing it at Paramount, however Sony has separately decided to get it into production as a hybrid live-action feature. I wonder if that post earlier this year had anything to do with it?
This will mark Sony Pictures Animation's first hybrid film, which is a live-action blend of CGI characters and real actors, as was seen with Alvin and the Chipmunks last year. Given the success of that film (an enormous $217 million at the box office), Sony decided that there was definite potential to turn the Smurfs into a similar kind of family film. "The Smurfs are one of the best-known franchises, and among the most beloved collection of characters in the world," Columbia co-president Doug Belgrad said. "We're very excited to introduce a new generation to Papa Smurf, Smurfette and the other smurftastic Smurfs in all of their 'three-apple-tall' glory."
The Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs as they were originally called in French, first appeared in October 1958 in the Belgian comic magazine Spirou. They were created by the Brussels-born cartoonist Pierre Culliford - better known as Peyo - and were originally mere supporting cast in his medieval Johan and Pirlouit series. (via Time) Hanna-Barbera later produced a very successful animated TV show featuring the Smurfs that aired from 1981 to 1989 for around 256 episodes.
Initially I was open to the idea of a Smurfs movie, primariy because I am very curious to see how it would turn out and I once enjoyed the TV show. However, now that I know this is being made like Alvin and the Chipmunks, I'm really no longer excited. I admit that I never even saw Alvin and the Chipmunks, but that's because I was turned off at the animation to begin with and thought it was way too childish. I would have much preferred a normal CGI version of the Smurfs. We'll see how this eventually turns out, but right now all the signs point to this being awful. I know it'll be a huge hit at the box office with the kids, but I'll pass. Does a live-action Smurfs sounds exciting to you?