Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 12:27 UK

The Smurfs head to the big screen

The Smurfs were created 50 years ago

Classic children's cartoon characters The Smurfs are heading to the big screen for their 50th anniversary.

Studios Columbia and Sony have scooped the film rights to the original 1958 Belgian comic book series - which later became a TV show.

The as-yet-untitled film will combine live action and animation.

"We're very excited to introduce a new generation to Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs in all of their glory," said Columbia president Doug Belgrad.

The film is due to be written by David Stem and David Weiss, who penned the second and third Shrek movies.

The Smurfs are best known in the English-speaking world through their 1980s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series.

But the small, blue characters first appeared 50 years ago and were created by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo.

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