CULVER CITY, Calif., June 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, in honor of Global Smurfs Day, Smurfs fans around the world once again joined together to celebrate the birthday of Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs (born June 25, 1928), with a series of family fun and special events, it was announced today by Marc Weinstock, president, Worldwide Marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment. The worldwide events were organized by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation in anticipation of the release of The Smurfs™ 2, which will be released in the US on July 31, 2013.
The day was highlighted by a worldwide Smurf Ambassadors initiative, which began in Brussels as Veronique Culliford, Peyo's daughter, appointed Smurf Ambassadors from 28 different countries and dispatched them to Paris, where much of The Smurfs 2 takes place. The ambassadors dressed as Smurfs and then boarded their Smurfs-themed Thalys train for Paris.
In Paris, a huge flash mob greeted the ambassadors by dancing to Britney Spears' song "Ooh La La" from the film's soundtrack – with a little help from Silvia Notargiacomo, choreographer of the French version of "Dancing with the Stars." The ambassadors also got to take a goodwill tour of Paris.
Ambassadors included a wide range of Smurf fans, including television personalities, voice talent, actors, choreographers, contest winners, and journalists -- and not least, the mayor of Júzcar, the Spanish town that Smurfed itself blue in 2011 in celebration of the first Smurfs film.
But the Ambassadors' tour was just the beginning, as people in countries around the world celebrated this special day. Iconic locations visited by the Smurfs include the beaches of Athens; Dublin's Ha'Penny Bridge and Moscow's Gorky Park, which were covered in Smurf-blue flowers to celebrate; Australia's Surfers Paradise, where city signage was actually changed to Smurfers Paradise for the day; the busy tramways of Hong Kong; Ponte Sant'Angelo in Rome; and the Leaning Tower of Pisa; and in China, Smurf figurines took over the world-famous Great Wall and other iconic locations around the country.
Elsewhere, Smurfs signed a giant birthday card for Peyo in Mexico City; visited children's hospitals in Finland; painted Portuguese neighborhoods and South African orphanages blue; and joined the group Right Said Fred in a sing-along in London.
In India, the top rated serial "Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah" is integrating the Global Smurfs Day celebration into its storyline, ensuring that even fictional characters -- very popular at that -- pay homage to the Smurfs.
Finally, in Los Angeles, Neil Patrick Harris, star of The Smurfs 2, was on hand at the Grove as families enjoyed the day with appearances by the Smurfs, played the Ubisoft video game, sampled Menchie's Smurfberry frozen yogurt, checked out the environmentally friendly, 100% electric Smurf-ified DASH cars, and participated in other fun activities. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council's Discover the Forest campaign was on hand to distribute activity booklets and encourage children and their families to get outside and experience the many benefits of nature. In the evening, families caught the first Smurfs film at an evening outdoor screening.
Commenting on the announcement, Weinstock said, "It's a real testament to the worldwide and multi-generational appeal of the characters that Smurfs fans and families around the world were able to come together and celebrate Global Smurfs Day. We're thrilled to see this unique event come together in such a big way for the second time."
In 2011, the world celebrated the first Global Smurfs Day as the round-the-world events included painting one of the famous White Towns of Andalusia blue and setting a new record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Smurfs within a 24-hour Period (Multiple Venues).
In The Smurfs™ 2, the sequel to Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation's hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs, Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world's greatest sorcerer. It's up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to return to our time, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexy and Hackus – or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue? The film is directed by Raja Gosnell and produced by Jordan Kerner. The screenplay is by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn and Karey Kirkpatrick with a story by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss & Jay Scherick & David Ronn, Based on the Characters and Works of Peyo.
About the Smurfs
The story of the Smurfs - a property created by Peyo - started in 1958 with the creation of comic books which were later brought to both the big and small screen. Over the years, the little blue characters haven't just limited themselves to the page and the screen. They have inspired records and CDs that have sold millions of copies, entire collections of figurines and toys, and many more products. In all, more than 3,000 derived products have been produced and leading brands and companies have spread their messages worldwide with the help of the Smurfs. A multitude of new projects appear regularly, thus making the success of the Smurfs planetary!
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.
About Sony Pictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The studio is following its worldwide comedy hits – the 2012 monster hit comedy Hotel Transylvania, the 2011 hybrid live action/animated blockbuster The Smurfs, and the 2009 mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – with The Smurfs 2 in July 2013, and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 in September 2013. Sony Pictures Animation, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2007, Surf's Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise, turned 10 in 2012. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.
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About Lafig Belgium S.A.
Lafig Belgium is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on the Smurf universe and of the Smurf worldwide licensing rights (together with IMPS). Lafig Belgium is controlled by the heirs of Pierre Culliford, better known under his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of the Smurfs. For 50 years, the Culliford family has controlled the Smurf characters and all licenses worldwide.
SOURCE Sony Pictures Entertainment; Sony Pictures Animation