Although we have yet to hear any official confirmation from Sony Pictures, a new report from Variety reveals that The Smurfs 3 will be completely animated, as opposed to 2011's The Smurfs and 2013's The Smurfs 2, both of which were live-action/animation hybrids.
It is believed that The Smurfs 2's $347 million worldwide box office take, which was $215 million less than The Smurfs' $563.7 million, is a reason the decision to go with a fully-animated sequel was made. Both movies made over 70% of their worldwide grosses from international markets.
What's interesting is that The Smurfs' main villain Gargamel has been portrayed in live-action by Hank Azaria, so it isn't clear if the studio is crafting a new villain, or if they will simply use Gargamel in animated form. Other live-action cast members from The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 include Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays as Patrick and Grace, a New York couple who help the Smurfs on their adventures.
We reported in May 2012 that Over The Hedge writers Karey Kirkpatrick and Chris Poche were hired to write the screenplay, with Jordan Kerner producing. It isn't known if Raja Gosnell, who directed both The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, will be back at the helm.