Thursday, May 1, 2014

Smurfs Rebooted, Sony Slate Talk

It's no secret that Sony Pictures Animation plans on going in a new direction with The Smurfs.

In 2011, they adapted Peyo's comic strip into a live action/animation hybrid movie that certainly appealed to kids, but definitely not the critics nor many adults. However, it had most of the late summer all to itself so it mustered up a good $135 million domestic gross. Worldwide, it did a lot better, because The Smurfs originate from Europe plus animation like this and 3D films were and are big around the world. They made a tidy profit on it...

Then the second one came last summer, and didn't do too well domestically. Worldwide it made its budget back, and it managed to get even worse reviews than its predecessor. Retooling was in order...

Kelly Asbury (animation veteran who directed Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet) was put in the director's chair, and The Smurfs 3 was out. The all-animated current film is untitled, and it will be very different from the two live action/animation hybrid movies, both design-wise and tonally. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they get a new cast. Asbury also created a Tumblr a week ago, which he will use to update people on the film and post some concept art and other details. He's really gung ho about this, and he seems determined to make a proper Smurfs film that's closer to the original comic strip. He stated that the film won't be a sequel or a prequel, just a whole new movie that has nothing to do with 1 and 2. A true reboot.

I must say, I am happy that Sony Animation was all for going in this direction. Their upcoming slate has a lot of promise, as they are emphasizing films like Genndy Tartakovsky's projects while trying to make a decent Smurfs movie. You've heard very little about Adam Sandler's Tonka trucks flick or their ALF movie, which I think is a plus. Call me crazy, but I'm interested to see how this new Smurfs movie turns out.

Now he has revealed that the film has been pushed back a year. Originally set for an August 14, 2015 release, it'll now open on August 5, 2016. Sony Pictures Animation has another film opening in 2016, an autumn release that's currently undetermined.

Sony Pictures Animation has a lot of projects on the docket, all of them don't have concrete release dates yet. This year, we aren't getting a new film from them and next year we are getting just Hotel Transylvania 2, since this Smurfs movie was pushed back.

2016 is when they'll be returning to the two-a-year deal, with this coming first and then something else on September 23rd. What will it be?

Genndy Tartakovsky's Popeye is out of the question. Even though it was last announced that it would be a 2016 release, I can't really see it happening. Tartakovsky is directing Hotel 2 as we speak which opens in fall 2015, and I'd imagine he'd take a little break. The earliest I can see this film opening is fall 2017. After that, he'll go straight to his original project Can You Imagine? Another two years, and then it hits in 2019.

Kelly Asbury's Kazorn & the Unicorn is also out of the question for obvious reasons. Smurfs Reboot hits in late summer 2016, no way he's directing two films at once, haha. I think we'll see the unicorn tale some time in 2018.

Sony Animation's upcoming films list on their website only consists of the unicorn film, the Smurfs reboot, Popeye and Hotel Transylvania 2... Something else has to be in the mix. Maybe something they aren't telling us about, but what could it be? Usually before an animated feature gets a concrete release date, we can somewhat see it coming. We'll hear that the film in question has a director or writer attached, or considerable progress is being made on it.


Hotel Transylvania 2 - September 25, 2015
Untitled Smurfs Movie - August 5, 2016
*something* - September 23, 2016
Popeye - September 22, 2017
Kazorn & the Unicorn - 2018
Can You Imagine? - 2019

So what will fill that fall 2016 spot? Something big I assume, since Sony Animation usually scores with that late summer-going-into-fall timeframe. The other films that are planned are...

The Familiars
Harold and the Purple Crayon
How To Live Forever
How To Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
Instant Karma
Make My Own Monster
Muncle Trogg
RollerCoaster Tycoon
Secret Histories
Untitled David Sussman Project
Untitled Tonka Trucks Movie

Perhaps there is something else that's in development that they haven't even spoken about... Or maybe they intend to release a third Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs film in that spot, a good three years after the last one opened. I think that may end up being the case. Cloudy is considered their best and was a success, Cloudy 2 got generally positive reception and did just as well... Cloudy 3 would seem like a given at this point. Also, they could adapt the book's sequel - Pickles to Pittsburgh - since they didn't for the second film, opting for an original story instead.

I don't know, what do you think? Are you interested in a completely rebooted and retooled Smurfs movie? What do you think Sony Animation's slate will end up looking like? Sound off below!

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