'Smurfs 2': Westwood Premiere Had L.A. Feeling (Happily) Blue
At the Los Angeles premiere of Sony's Smurfs 2, Smurfette and Papa Smurf walked the blue carpet alongside their co-stars Neil Patrick Harris and Katy Perry, who both donned their smurfiest getups at the Sunday morning event.
"Well, by all accounts, the second film is a better film than the first film," Harris told The Hollywood Reporter. "So for all the people that have watched Smurfs because they had the DVD and their kids demanded that they watch it 75 times, I think they will be happy to know that the second movie is better."
The sequel to the 2011 family film will follow the cap-wearing mushroom-dwellers as they attempt to save a kidnapped Smurfette (Perry) from the grasp of the ne'er-do-well Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who has created pseudo-Smurf clones, The Naughties, in order to harness the Smurfs' magical powers.
The Smurfs grew to cultural prominence in the 1980s with the broadcasting of a Saturday morning cartoon, which had characters and stories that were adapted from a comic strip by Belgian comic artist Peyo.
Actress Jayma Mays, who plays Harris' wife in the film, says she loved the cartoons as a child. "I grew up with The Smurfs, a lot of people grew up with The Smurfs, a lot of people did worldwide, so it's wonderful to bring them back into your life now and bring them to your kids."
Asked if she would be willing to do a third film, the Glee actress responded: "I would totally be on board, oh my gosh it would be so fabulous."
Producer Jordan Kerner, who boasted a Smurfs-inspired necktie, told THR that the he and director Raja Gosnell had hoped that the Smurfs would be a trilogy from the beginning, saying that the supposed third film would be an origin story, answering the questions: "Why blue? Why 99 Smurfs? Why mushroom houses? Why all of those things?"
"We definitely wanted to make a franchise," said Gosnell.
Kerner and Gosnell agree that the production of a third film depends on the commercial success of the second installment. For the record, 2011's Smurfs grossed over $550 million worldwide.
Working in its favor, the kid-friendly film was able to get past the censors and secure distribution in China, where the original film earned $40 million after opening in January 2012. Recently, both World War Z and the kid-friendly Despicable Me 2 were denied access to the lucrative market.
Kerner believes that Smurfs 2's universal themes of love and family helped the film to pass the notoriously critical censors.
He said, "It is not about crime, it is not about action or things like that -- although there is a lot of fun action in this movie -- it is really about 'it takes a village' and whether that is China or Brazil or France or here, we all have to find that in our lives."
Smurfs 2, which also stars Brendan Gleeson, Anton Yelchin and George Lopez, opens July 31.