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The Smurfs Celebrate their 50th Anniversary
With a New Giant Character Helium Balloon and Whimsical Float in the 82nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®
New York, NY- October 22, 2008 - Tomorrow will be positively Smurfy as the world marks the 50th Smurfday of the Smurfs, the blue heroes that first appeared in the comic books by Belgian cartoonist Peyo (a/k/a Pierre Culliford) October 23, 1958.
In honor of their Smurfday, the Smurfs will be celebrating as they make their first-time-ever appearance in the 82nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®. As they make the journey from the Smurf village to Broadway this Thanksgiving, the Smurfs will take to the streets and the sky of the Big Apple with a new Smurf giant character helium balloon and float. When the balloon flies down Broadway, followed closely by a smurfariffic float, the Smurfs - one of only three new giant helium character balloons in the legendary parade - are sure to delight over 3.5 million spectators and over 50 million viewers nationwide.
From three apples tall to 47 feet high, the new Smurf balloon will be sure to put the blue in the sky on Thanksgiving Day. Waving hello to all his friends as he flies through the streets of Manhattan, the Smurf will measure approximately 57.6 feet long, 38.7 feet wide and 47 feet tall, when he is filled with 15,050 cubic feet of helium on Parade day.
Along for the ride down Broadway and taking a leave from the Smurf village, Papa Smurf and Smurfette will follow the Smurf balloon on a float featuring a replica of one of the Smurfs legendary mushroom shaped homes. Not to be left out of the balloon fun, the entire Smurf mushroom home will be an inflatable balloon too!
"Without a doubt, the sky will be blue this Thanksgiving," said Amy Kule, producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "We are thrilled to help The Smurfs celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a new giant balloon that will be one of the highlights of this year's Parade. Following closely behind this flying wonder will be the ubiquitous mushroom village float holding the classic characters everybody remembers so well: Papa Smurf and Smurfette." Kule continued, "We are pleased that following this inaugural flight, a whole new generation will have a chance to get to know and love the Smurfs for many more decades to come."
Hendrik Coymsan, CEO of Lafig Belgium s.a., comments: "To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Smurfs have been touring throughout Europe with the Ã¢Â€Â˜Smurf Happy Birthday Project,' supporting UNICEF's mission to Ã¢Â€Â˜bring education to all the children of the world'. At this coming Thanksgiving, the Smurfs will appear for the first time in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. This will be one of the highlights of their 50th anniversary year. The Smurfs are proud to have been invited to make this special appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and to greet three generations of fans in America. Smurfs are only three apples high, but in the Big Apple at Thanksgiving they will be super-sized! It will be a unique experience."
Juli Boylan, senior vice president, worldwide consumer products for Sony Pictures Entertainment, added, "We are thrilled to be celebrating the Smurfs' 50th Smurfday in America, and the giant character balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the perfect highlight for this milestone. People all over the world love the Smurfs and the parade is the perfect time and event to celebrate 50 years of Smurfing."
The Smurfs were born on October 23, 1958, in the pages of the Belgian magazine Spirou. Johan and Peewit, the heroes of a cartoon taking place in the middle ages, suddenly hear a small voice: "Can't you look where you smurf? You nearly smurfed me!" - and a small, blue gnome emerges from behind a rock.
Since then, the Smurfs have moved into legend. The stars of comic books, the big screen, and the long-running NBC television series, the Smurfs also inspired record albums, video games, toys, and a steadily increasing collection of figurines. The Smurfs, known by many names in countless languages, are beloved all over the world.
Sony Pictures Entertainment previously announced that a live-action/animated hybrid Smurfs motion picture is in development, to be produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation with producer Jordan Kerner (Charlotte's Web) and writers David Stem and David Weiss (Shrek 2 and 3).
The 82nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off on Thursday, November 27, 2008 and is broadcast nationally on NBC-TV, from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M. in all time zones.
About the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
With more than 50 million viewers across the country and more than 3.5 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event. For over 80 years, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season. Growing in size and scale, the Parade proudly marches down a 2.5-mile route in New York City with over 10,000 participants in tow including Macy's employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups spreading holiday cheer. The Parade also features America's best marching bands, fabulous floats and Macy's signature giant helium character balloons. For more information on the Macy's Parade please visit http://www.macysparade.com or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.
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 the heirs 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 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 100 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 with Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs now in production. Its second film, Surf's Up, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and won two Annie Awards. Its first film, Open Season, was a box office success and the #2 DVD title of the year for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2007. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.
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