Prospect Of Dueling 'Smurfs' Projects Makes Us Want To Smurf Hollywood

And here we thought the future of the Smurfs franchise in America was merely an esoteric quarterly concern at Defamer — that the talk we'd heard a while back about some feature-length updating was mere Euro-rumor. But the impossible blue dream of about 350 emotionally stunted children of the '80s inched closer to reality Monday when Sony Pictures Animation announced it had acquired the domestic rights to develop a Smurfs movie at last.

We're not sure where this puts the original project we'd privately cherished a few months ago, but you won't hear us tell you the world isn't big enough for a pair of Smurfs films — especially something blending live-action, animation and such unadulterated corporate dorkdom:

Smurfs marks SPA's first hybrid film — a subgenre that proved popular given the success of 20th Century Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks. ... [Sony Pictures Entertainment] digital production prexy Bob Osher said the studio plans to rely on SPA for the film's character animation, and Imageworks — which was recently taken off the sale block — for its visual effects.
"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."

Columbia and Sony are negotiating with Shrek 2/3 screenwriters David Stem and David Weiss for a script introducing a new Mushroom Village to our complex times — perhaps not narratively or with regard to the creatues' notorious asexuality, but rather as the highly charged battleground where Chris Rock, George Lopez, Cheech Marin and the rest of Hollywood's multi-ethnic voice-talent A-list further confound expectations over what a Smurf actually is.