Sony Pictures Animation issued a press release today that confirmed a report from February that The Smurfs 3 will be a completely animated reboot, with the studio bringing on Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo and Juliet) to direct. The studio also confirmed that Genndy Tartakovsky is directing Hotel Transylvania 2, which has Adam Sandler returning to voice Dracula, along with the previously announced Popeye and a new project entitled Can You Imagine? that he is developing for the studio. Check out all the details in the official press release below.
Bob Osher, President of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, had this to say in a statement.
"I am really excited by the variety of our upcoming projects as well as the amazing talent working on them."
Sony Pictures Animation has hired animation industry veteran Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo and Juliet) to direct an all new, fully computer-animated film featuring the world's most popular blue creatures. The family adventure, currently going by the working title The Untitled Smurfs Movie, is anticipated in theaters August 2015. Jordan Kerner (The Smurfs) is producing, with Mary Ellen Bauder (Hotel Transylvania) co-producing. The original two live action/CG hybrid Smurfs movies from Sony Pictures Animation grossed a combined $910 million worldwide.
Genndy Tartakovsky will return to the director's chair for Hotel Transylvania 2, scheduled for September 2015, which will bring back Adam Sandler's Dracula. Sandler and Robert Smigel are taking on writing duties for the comedy.
The über prolific Genndy Tartakovsky is also busy working an all-new CG take on the comic strip hero, Popeye, all the while developing an original idea for Sony Pictures Animation titled Genndy Tartakovsky's Can You Imagine?, described as a fantastic journey through one boy's imagination. Producer Michelle Murdocca will once again work closely with Tartakovsky.
"I'm really excited about taking the Smurfs in a completely new fresh direction. We're not making a Smurfs 3 film. Our character designs and environments will be stylistically closer to the original artwork created by Peyo. Our story will explore the beginnings of the beloved little blue creatures in a fun full CG animated comedy-adventure for every generation to enjoy."
13-time Emmy Award nominee Tartakovsky himself also released the following statement.
"It's good to be back at the Hotel Transylvania, and I'm very excited to work on Popeye, a character that I've loved since I was a kid. I'm also looking forward to developing an entirely new and original animated feature here at Sony Pictures Animation. This is an exciting time for me and for the studio."
Michelle Raimo Kouyate, the President of Production for Sony Pictures Animation, is working closely with filmmakers on those projects while overseeing an extensive development slate for the animation studio. Imagery and animation on all Sony Pictures Animation films will be provided by Sony Pictures Imageworks.