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Sony Animation Is Promoting ‘The Smurfs’ Early and Often

The all-CG Smurfs reboot won’t be released until 2016, but you wouldn’t know that from the aggressive manner in which Sony Pictures Animation is promoting the film. It’s a curious tactic, especially considering that Hotel Transylvania 2 will come out a year before it, and that’s not being promoted nearly as extensively. But after Sony’s creatively disastrous CGI/live-action hybrid Smurfs films, they aren’t taking any chances and seem to be trying to distance the reboot from the earlier versions.

Sony’s early Smurfs promotional efforts include a “movie director’s blog” by the film’s director Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet), who is touting the authenticity of the current project by documenting his visit with the daughter of Smurfs creator Peyo. Asbury also attended the Annecy festival last month to introduce the film to French audiences who are much more aware of and sensitive toward the characters’ legacies than Americans.

Last month Sony also began posting video profiles of the artists who are working on the film. To further push the European connection, the first profile centered around Patrick Mate, a French-born DreamWorks Animation veteran who has joined the Sony crew as a character designer and “Smurf specialist.”

If you’re interested in seeing more of Mate’s art, he has a blog with an extensive selection of his personal artwork. I was pleased to feature a couple of his paintings in the last issue of my zine Animation Blast.

John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen.
  • Rune Bennicke

    Patrick is wonderful! Could have watched 2 hours of this.

  • I may not be the biggest Smurfs fan, but I do appreciate how much Asbury is pushing to make this film more akin to Peyo’s original work. The production blog in particular has also been a real treat so far.

  • Toonio

    Good luck re-building a screwed up franchise *cough* Spider-man *cough*

  • Anonymous

    I worked with Patrick at DreamWorks. He’s a really nice guy to work with.

  • Ant G

    I mean seriously how anyone from the director to the artist who designed her, could not see how Vexy in smurfs 2 was a horrible character, is beyond me. I didn’t need to see the movie, the poster alone repulsed me. That other troll looking guy was terrible too, but can’t bother remembering his name.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man was leaps and bounds ahead of Sam Raimi’s movies. The sequel? Not so much.