Smurfs 3 will be a wholly computer-animated affair that will take the popular cartoon characters in “a completely new fresh direction”.
“We’re not making a Smurfs 3 film,” said its director Kelly Asbury.
“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.”
The August 2015 release will follow two live action/CGI “hybrids” in which the Smurfs interacted with human actors.
The new film, Kelly Asbury added, “will be stylistically closer to the original artwork created by Peyo”.
Peyo was the pen name of Pierre Culliford, the Belgian comic book artist who in 1958 created Les Schtroumpfs, as they are known in their home country.
Kelly Asbury’s previous films include 2011’s Gnomeo & Juliet and 2004’s Shrek 2, which he co-directed with Andrew Adamson and Conrad Vernon.
Released in 2011, the first Smurfs film made $142.6 million in the US and Canada and more than $563.7 million worldwide, according to the Box Office Mojo website.
Yet its 2013 follow-up did not perform as strongly, making just $71 million in North America and $347.5 million in total.
It is not known whether Katy Perry will return to provide the voice for Smurfette, the only female in the fantasy village where her mischievous species reside.
Sony Pictures Animation has also announced plans for a fully computer-generated return of spinach-eating sailor Popeye, to be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky of Hotel Transylvania fame.
[youtube ae6WLq9it30 650]