Paramount and Nickelodeon are set to begin production on a new animated movie musical based on “The Smurfs,” the first of what will be multiple theatrical feature films starring the beloved blue characters.
Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation are teaming with LAFIG Belgium and IMPS on the “Smurfs” films, tapping Pam Brady, the co-writer of “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and “Team America: World Police,” to write the first film. And the studio has also set the first of the movies to be released on Dec. 20, 2024, with production kicking off later this year.
As part of the announcement, Nickelodeon has also picked up the CG animated TV series “The Smurfs” for a second season of 26 episodes after the show first launched in September. Season 2 will follow Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty, Clumsy and others as they time travel, invent a magic camera, accidentally swap bodies and more.
“The Smurfs” are the iconic blue creatures created by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo, in the classic animated comics and TV series. The characters have been adapted to the big screen several times, including for a trio of live-action/animation hybrid films released by Sony, the most recent one from 2017, “Smurfs: The Lost Village.”
The 2024 movie will be produced by Nickelodeon Animation in partnership with Paramount Animation, LAFIG Belgium and IMPS.
Latifa Ouaou, EVP, 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.
“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,” Ramsey Naito, president of animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, said in a statement. “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.”
“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 Animation, Nickelodeon Animation, and IMPS,” Véronique Culliford, founder and president of LAFIG and IMPS, said in a statement. “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!”
“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” TV series since its launch has ranked among the top five animated series on cable for kids between 2-11.
ViacomCBS Consumer Products is also 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, and VCP will seek new merchandising and promotional partners for the brand, including a new product line for the animated series.
“The Smurfs” film is Nickelodeon Animation’s second CG-animated theatrical production, which also includes “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Chapter” from Seth Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures. That film is directed by Jeff Rowe, is currently in production and is slated for release on Aug. 4, 2023. Nickelodeon and Paramount also have a sequel in the works to “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” from Spin Master Entertainment that’s due for release on Oct. 13, 2023.
Additional upcoming theatrical titles under Ouaou’s purview includes Paramount’s next animated feature “The Tiger’s Apprentice” (Feb. 10, 2023), starring Henry Golding, and the feature film strategy for Avatar Studios.
For the film, The Smurfs’ right owners are represented by WME’s Dave Wirtschafter, Rob Markus and Jordan Naftalis.