Sony Pictures announced today that their Untitled Smurfs Movie has moved from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2017. As of now, the Smurfs currently have that release date all to themselves, although the movie comes one week after The Divergent Series: Allegiant: Part 2 on March 24 and a week before Warner Bros.' Pacific Rim 2 on April 7, 2017. If it would have stayed in the August 5, 2016 release slot, the animated comedy would have gone up against the highly-anticipated superhero adaptation Suicide Squad. Here's what Sony's Rory Bruer had to say about the release date shift in a statement.
"With a fully animated feature close in tone and design to Peyo's original creation, we're embracing everything that has made the Smurfs so special for audiences worldwide. The date is a perfect match for this movie. With the kids on break, every day plays like summer, and for franchises with global appeal like the Smurfs, audiences are ready to turn out for great entertainment."
The production is currently casting voice actors, with Mandy Patinkin signing on to voice Papa Smurf back in January, although no other cast members have been confirmed yet. Unlike The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, this reboot will be fully animated, and not a live-action/animation hybrid, although no other story details have been confirmed. Director Kelly Asbury also elaborated on the release date change in a statement on his official production blog, revealing that the story wasn't quite ready for production to get under way.
"I want nothing more than for this all-new Animated Smurf Movie Reboot to be the very best ever depiction of the Smurfs since the original Peyo comic books. Since this new film has no connection to the previous live action hybrids, we have a whole new world to create and it is critical to me and my crew that we deliver a movie that will enchant families and fans worldwide for years to come. So when my partners and I here at Sony Pictures Animation realized that rushing towards a summer 2016 release date meant having to launch production on a story that was not fully in the place we wanted it to be yet, we have decided to give ourselves a little more time to not compromise quality and deliver the truly smurftastic movie we all want to see on the big screen. Our new release date, March 31, 2017, is a perfect opportunity to be sprung with the Smurfs in Spring! The Easter date is a perfect match for this particular movie for fans around the world. Get ready to experience an all-new adventure unrelated to the first two Smurfs films. Now with more time to work with, we're delivering the best movie possible without compromising - I could not be more happy! More updates soon... - KA"
What do you think about the release date shift? Are you upset that you'll have to wait a few more months to see the Untitled Smurfs Movie in theaters? Let us know what you think below, and we'll keep you posted with more updates as soon as we have more information.