‘The Smurfs’ License Holder IMPS Rebrands As Peyo Company & Unveils Expanded IP Drive – Annecy

The Smurfs global license holder IMPS has announced it is rebranding as Peyo Company after the pen name of Belgian comic book artist Peyo, who created the iconic little blue creatures in the late 1950s.

The company also revealed it is embarking on a new strategy to expand The Smurfs franchise and revive other original creations from Peyo’s ‘Johan & Peewit’ and ‘Benny Breakiron’ comic books.

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Set against the backdrop of Medieval Europe, the Johan & Peewit comic strip series was first published in 1946, and eventually generated 13 separate albums.

Peyo first introduced the Smurfs in a Johan & Peewit story called The Smurfs & the Magic Flute in 1958. Readers loved the characters so much that Peyo decided to create a spin-off dedicated to their adventures.

Benny Breakiron (Benoît Brisefer) was launched in 1960, about revolves around an outwardly normal little boy with secret superhuman strength.

Johan & Peewit
Johan & Peewit

IMPS announced its name change and expansion plans at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s MIFA market on Tuesday.

The company was founded in 1984 by Peyo’s daughter Véronique Culliford, to promote and preserve her father’s work and legacy. Under her watch, The Smurfs has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

“It’s been an honor to be able to build such a success out of the blue characters my father created,” said Culliford.

“And now I hope we will do the same for some of his other creations, ‘Johan & Peewit’ and ‘Benny Breakiron’. To underline our engagement to expand his legacy beyond the Smurfs, we are renaming IMPS as The Peyo Company,” she continued.

“It’s a well-deserved tribute to my father, and features his signature, with which he signed thousands of drawings, as our new logo. Peyo was a storyteller, and so is Peyo Company. The renamed company will tell new stories inspired by Peyo’s creations with a touch of modernity that will resonate with new generations.”

The new strategy will kick off with two TV series project: The Tales of Johan & Peewit and Benny Breakiron for which the company is currently seeking partners.

IMPS/Peyo Company also gave an update on upcoming projects inspired by The Smurfs IP.

They include Smurfs’ Village: Season 2 which launches on Netflix on June 30, followed by Season 3 on Nickelodeon this summer, with Season 4in pre-development.

In addition, CCO Nele De Wilde said the company was excited about Paramount Animation’s upcoming The Smurf Movie.

The movie was also teased by the studio in a separate event in Annecy on Tuesday fronted by Paramount & Nickelodeon Animation President Ramsey Naito and director Chris Miller.

“Paramount pulled together a dream team of filmmakers led by the smurftastic director, Chris Miller, co-director Matt Landon, and producers Ryan Harris, Rihanna, Laurence ‘jay’ Brown, and Tyran ‘ty-ty’ Smith,” Said De Wilde.

“This fresh take on the beloved Smurfs will see them go on an interdimensional adventure to discover the power within and answer the universal question: “What is a Smurf?”. We’re thrilled that Rihanna is on board to voice Smurfette and write, produce, and perform original songs for the film.”

The film is scheduled for a worldwide theatrical release in February 2025.

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