Earlier this decade, Columbia Pictures revived the Smurfs franchise by releasing two live-action/animated hybrid films. In 2011, The Smurfs overcame its negative critical reception to gross $563.7 million at the worldwide box office. Unfortunately for the studio, the comeback was short-lived. Two years later, The Smurfs 2 saw diminishing returns, earning $347.5 million globally and once again was panned by pundits. It became clear that if the series was to win a new generation of fans, some changes would have to be made to the approach.
Sony was developing The Smurfs 3, but following the poor performance of the second movie, they opted to cancel the project so they could move ahead on a hard reboot. In contrast to the earlier works, Smurfs: The Lost Village is a completely animated film that will strive to stay closer to the original tone and vision from the source material. Back in February 2016, they got the ball rolling on promotion well ahead of its 2017 premiere by releasing a pair of photos. Now, the studio has unveiled the first poster for the upcoming film.
The one-sheet debuted on The Smurfs’ official Twitter account, showing the lovable blue creatures setting out on a grand adventure to discover a whole new world. Sony took the opportunity to announce that a teaser trailer will be out on September 21, 2016. You can check it out below:
Here’s the official synopsis, per Sony Pictures Animation:
It seems to Smurfette that everyone else in the Village has a purpose — Papa Smurf (leading), Baker Smurf (baking), even Grouchy Smurf (grouching) — except for her. So what’s the only girl in the village to do? Go in search of hers, of course! When she accidentally crosses paths with a mysterious creature that takes off into the Forbidden Forest, she follows it, and sets off into the uncharted woods. Joined by her brothers Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy — and with the evil wizard Gargamel shadowing their every step — Team Smurf undertakes a wild journey full of action, danger and discovery, setting them on a course that leads to the biggest mystery in Smurf history!
From the sound of it, director Kelly Asbury and co-writers Stacey Harmon and Pamela Ribon have crafted a fun, whimsical adventure that should connect with families when Lost Village premieres next spring. Longtime fans of the property will appreciate the fact that this is a Smurfs movie without any humans, and in all likelihood, the youngsters in attendance will love watching the collection of characters. Judging by the names, most of the Smurfs could be reminiscent of the dwarves in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and be a strong source of comedy.
Some may question the need or demand for a third modern Smurfs film since the first two failed to leave much of an impression, but the pieces are in place for a quality time at the theater. Asbury is best known for helming the acclaimed Shrek 2, and worked on Disney hits like Toy Story, Wreck-it Ralph, and Frozen. In addition, there’s an all-star voice cast that includes the likes of Demi Lovato, Mandy Patinkin, Jack McBrayer, Rainn Wilson, and Joe Manganiello. The trailer will give viewers a better taste of what to expect, but hopefully Sony’s newfound commitment to the brand yields positive results.
Smurfs: The Lost Village opens in U.S. theaters April 7, 2017.