Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
In a Sequel Bits column published last month, we learned that Sony was fast-tracking Smurfs 3 but doing it as a completely animated movie rather than a live-action animated hybrid like the first two movies. Today we learn more about the project, which turns out is a complete franchise reboot/origin story. Yes, already.
The movie will feature all new designs and environments, supposedly something closer in look to Smurfs creator Peyo’s original art. So we should expect something closer to the original cartoons compared to the recent movie adaptations. Sony Pictures Animation is developing the Smurfs origin movie with Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet director Kelly Asbury set to direct. The film is going under the working title “The Untitled Smurfs Movie”, so it is unclear what the title will actually end up being.
Smurfs 3 is aiming for a release in August 2015 — that year (and summer) has been called the most sequel/reboot packed in cinema history.
Sony’s press release follows:
Sony Pictures Animation Unveils Updated Production Slate
Sony Pictures Animation today gave an update on their lineup of upcoming projects-which includes the animated motion picture debut of a classic comic strip figure, an original tale from one of the form’s most multi-faceted filmmakers, as well as the continued expansion of two of the studio’s most popular worlds.
Concept art from the Sony Pictures Animation project tentatively titled “Genndy Tartakovsky’s CAN YOU IMAGINE?”
Bob Osher, President of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, states, “I am really excited by the variety of our upcoming projects as well as the amazing talent working on them.”
Sony Pictures Animation has hired animation industry veteran Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet) to direct an all new, fully computer-animated film featuring the world’s most popular blue creatures. The family adventure, currently going by the working title The Untitled Smurfs Movie, is anticipated in theaters August 2015. Jordan Kerner (The Smurfs) is producing, with Mary Ellen Bauder (Hotel Transylvania) co-producing. The original two live action/CG hybrid Smurfs movies from Sony Pictures Animation grossed a combined $910 million worldwide.
Genndy Tartakovsky will return to the director’s chair for Hotel Transylvania 2, , scheduled for September 2015, which will bring back Adam Sandler’s Dracula. Sandler and Robert Smigel are taking on writing duties for the comedy.
The uber prolific Genndy Tartakovsky is also busy working an all-new CG take on the comic strip hero, Popeye, all the while developing an original idea for Sony Pictures Animation titled Genndy Tartakovsky’s Can You Imagine?, described as a fantastic journey through one boy’s imagination. Producer Michelle Murdocca will once again work closely with Tartakovsky.
Kelly Asbury, who was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for Shrek 2, offers, “I’m really excited about taking the Smurfs in a completely new fresh direction. We’re not making a Smurfs 3 film. Our character designs and environments will be stylistically closer to the original artwork created by Peyo. Our story will explore the beginnings of the beloved little blue creatures in a fun full CG animated comedy-adventure for every generation to enjoy.”
13-time Emmy Award nominee Tartakovsky himself says, “It’s good to be back at the Hotel Transylvania, and I’m very excited to work on Popeye, a character that I’ve loved since I was a kid. I’m also looking forward to developing an entirely new and original animated feature here at Sony Pictures Animation. This is an exciting time for me and for the studio.”
Michelle Raimo Kouyate, the President of Production for Sony Pictures Animation, is working closely with filmmakers on those projects while overseeing an extensive development slate for the animation studio. Imagery and animation on all Sony Pictures Animation films will be provided by Sony Pictures Imageworks.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES ANIMATION
Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. Last year’s hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster The Smurfs 2 and mouth-watering adventure Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2-the follow-ups to its two global comedy hits-together grossed more than $600 million worldwide; both titles are now available on Blu-ray/DVD. In 2013, Sony Pictures Animation also released a brand new mini-movie on DVD and television, The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. The studio’s 2012 monster release, Hotel Transylvania, went on to earn more than $350 million in box office worldwide. The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise, received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film for its 2007 release, Surf’s Up. SPA, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital.