'The Smurfs' Writers Returning for Sequel (Exclusive)

July 29: "The Smurfs"
Sony Pictures

This 3D live-action/CGI family film will finally release July 29 after having its release date changed three times. While being chased by evil wizard Gargamel, the Smurfs are chased into a portal, which transports them to Central Park. Neil Patrick Harris stars alongside the voices of Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, B.J. Novak, John Oliver and Paul Reubens.

David Stem and David Weiss, along with Jay Scherick and David Ronn, worked on a story in the spring, with Stem and Weiss taking on scripting duties.

Sony Pictures is actually closer to Smurfs 2 than you might think.

Last week, in the wake of The Smurfs surprisingly robust $35 million opening weekend, the company set a date for the sequel — Aug. 2, 2013 — and said Jordan Kerner was returning as a producer.

Not revealed was the fact the studio had been working on a script for months and in fact has a completed draft in hand.

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Earlier this year, when the movie began taking the form of a viable franchise launcher, Sony went to its original writers to begin work on a sequel. In the spring, writing teams David Stem and David Weiss and Jay Scherick and David Ronn began work on a story. Stem and Weiss then took on scripting duties.

The early assignment was due to the large amount of lead-time required for live action/CG hybrids. Sony was willing to bet on the franchise, even though some questioned the appeal of a Smurfs movie.

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The script was handed in a couple of weeks ago, giving the studio confidence it has a template for a sequel.

Stem and Weiss, repped by WME, are well-versed in the family film field, having worked on kid-friendly projects ranging from the Rugrats TV show to Shrek 2 to Daddy Day Camp.

ICM-repped Scherick and Ronn wrote Zookeeper and National Security.

The Smurfs has grossed nearly $250 million worldwide so far.

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