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The Smurfs Are About To Have A Feature Film Renaissance

As long as there's a collection of classic cartoon characters hanging around, there's always room for a comeback. The Smurfs are just such a band of iconic figures from the past that have had a few go-rounds on the big screen, with less success than originally hoped for. The 2011 CGI-live-action film "The Smurfs" starring Neil Patrick Harris earned a woeful critics score of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2013 sequel — the aptly titled "The Smurfs 2" — fared even worse, emerging with a pitiful 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. What followed in 2017 was the reboot "Smurfs: The Lost Village," which featured the voice talents of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Mandy Patinkin, and Jack McBrayer. This entry in "The Smurfs" canon did better than its predecessors but still failed to put up promising numbers on Rotten Tomatoes

Although "The Smurfs" franchise has found new life on Nickelodeon with a CG animated show that debuted on the kid-friendly channel in 2021 (via IMDb), it feels like there's a bit of unfinished business when it comes to delivering a successful movie adaptation. Hopefully, then, it'll be a case of Smurf times a charm with the recent news from The Hollywood Reporter that Paramount and Nickelodeon are teaming up to bring the little blue folk back in a big way — whether we like it or not.

A new Smurf film series is right around the corner

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation are joining up with LAFIG Belgium and IMPS to bring Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and the other residents of Smurf Village to the big screen. Ensuring not to do this new venture in halves, the relevant parties have plans not just to dish out one film but a whole smurfin' franchise until its audiences are blue in the face.

THR's report on the new deal and the exciting Smurf-filled projects that will spring from it included a statement about the future for the happy little hat-wearing heroes. Ramsey Naito, president of animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, said, "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." Making sure not to give the Smurf away, Naito added, "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."

The untitled Smurfs musical film already has a release date set for December 20, 2024, and will be written by Pam Brady, whose past credits include projects that were colorful in very different ways, "South Park" and "Team America: World Police" (via IMDb). Besides the franchise-sparking film, Nickelodeon is also planning another 26-episode series to follow the first season of the CG show released last year. To put it bluntly, the Minions should be quaking in their tiny little dungarees about the potential competition. Could this be a DC vs. Marvel for a new era? Smurf only knows.