Raja Gosnell to Direct 'Smurfs' for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation


Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have tapped Raja Gosnell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Scooby-Doo) to direct Smurfs, the live-action/animated film based on the legendary blue characters created by Peyo, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures, Bob Osher, president of digital production for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Hannah Minghella, president of production for Sony Pictures Animation. The film will be released in 3-D and 2-D formats on December 17, 2010. Smurfs will be produced by Jordan Kerner (Charlotte's Web, George of the Jungle) and written by J. David Stem and David N. Weiss (Shrek 2 and 3) and Audrey Wells (George of the Jungle).

Commenting for the announcement, Kerner said, "With Raja coming aboard, we now have a brilliant director who has proven time and again that he has a deft touch in blending the worlds of physical comedy and honest emotion with both live action and photo real animated characters. Our three-apple-high heroes are in good hands, and we feel absolutely, positively Smurfy to be working with him."

RAJA GOSNELL started his career as an editor, cutting such blockbuster films as Home Alone, Pretty Woman and Mrs. Doubtfire, among many others. When John Hughes suggested Gosnell helm Home Alone 3, the talented editor successfully took on his new role as director. He has since directed Never Been Kissed, Big Momma's House, the hugely popular Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Yours, Mine and Ours, and, most recently, the hit film Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

About Lafig

Lafig Belgium s.a. is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on the Smurf universe. Lafig Belgium s.a. and IMPS s.a. are worldwide licensors of the Smurf merchandising rights. The companies are controlled by Veronique Culliford, the daughter of Pierre Culliford, better known under his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of the Smurfs.

For 50 years, the Culliford family has licensed the Smurf characters worldwide, including more than 3,000 pages of comics, the highly-rated Smurfs television series, presented with Warner Bros. and produced by Hanna Barbera, distributing that series for foreign-language television and international home video, music publishing rights, rights on lyrics, audio plays, storybooks, and several hundred licenses for the use of Smurfs on products or in promotions.

About the Kerner Entertainment Company (KECO)

KECO has been developing the Smurfs for 7 years and can't wait to see these wonderful, blue characters make it onto a 3D screen. Jordan Kerner, along with Ben Haber, the Executive Producer, has a host of other projects in the works and two other films nearing production, one being The Miracle of St. Anthony's at Walden Media readying for the fall, to be directed by Sam Weisman and written by Kerry Ehrin and Josh Shelov. Kerner has produced Fried Green Tomatoes, George of the Jungle, The Mighty Ducks series, When a Man Loves a Woman, Inspector Gadget, Snowdogs, and many others. Paul Nessan is also an Executive Producer.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 130 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com/

About Sony Pictures Animation:

Sony Pictures Animation exemplifies the next generation of CGI storytelling to produce a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. Sony Pictures Animation is developing a full slate of films including the mouth-watering 3D comedy Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs now in production for a September 2009 release, and in pre-production The Smurfs Movie and Hotel Transylvania. In 2007, Surf's Up, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and won two Annie Awards. The company's first film, Open Season, was a box office success and the #2 DVD title of the year for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Its sequel, Open Season 2, released in 2009, was an international family hit. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

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  Steve Elzer
  Senior Vice President, Media Relations
  Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group

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SOURCE: Columbia Pictures

CONTACT: Steve Elzer, Senior Vice President, Media Relations of Columbia
TriStar Motion Picture Group, +1-310-244-7142, steve_elzer@spe.sony.com