Annecy MIFA 2024: IMPS changed its name to Peyo Company

Under the new name and brand identity, early Peyo characters, including “The Smurfs” and other IPs, will be revived using modern animation with new stories inspired by the original “Johan & Peewit” and “Benny Breakiron” comic books.

12 JUN 2024

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IMPS, “The Smurfs” global license holder, announced at MIFA (the International Animation Film Market) the launch of a new animation production program and the company’s new strategy of expanding “The Smurfs” franchise and reviving other original creations from creator and storyteller Peyo. Under its new name and brand identity, Peyo Company, the world-famous Smurfs, as well as other early Peyo characters, will be revived using modern animation with new stories inspired by the original Johan & Peewit and Benny Breakiron comic books.

Before “The Smurfs” became a worldwide hit, Peyo (Pierre Culliford) had already created an entire fantasy world and other fascinating titles, such as “Johan & Peewit” and “Benny Breakiron”. Few people know that Peyo first introduced “The Smurfs” as a supporting act in a “Johan & Peewit” story called “The Smurfs & the Magic Flute” (original title in French “la Flute à Six Schtroumpfs”) in 1958. Readers from the weekly magazine in which Johan & Peewit was published, were so enthusiastic about how much they loved these blue characters that they returned and, eventually, Peyo created a spin-off fully dedicated to their adventures.

To promote and perpetuate the work and the legacy of Peyo, Véronique Culliford, Peyo’s daughter, founded IMPS in 1984. Under her guidance, "The Smurfs" has become an immensely popular brand across the globe, reaching an incredible 95% global brand awareness. As a tribute to Peyo, Véronique and IMPS have created Peyo Company to regroup all of Peyo’s universes under one single new banner.

Véronique Culliford said: “It’s been an honor to be able to build such a success out of the blue characters my father created. 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. It’s a well-deserved tribute to my father, and features his signature, with which he signed thousands of drawings, as our new logo.”

The renamed company will tell new stories inspired by Peyo’s creations with a touch of modernity that will resonate with new generations. This begins with the launch of two new TV series projects: “The Tales of Johan & Peewit”, and “Benny Breakiron”. Peyo Company is currently looking for talents to make these projects happen.

There are also new projects coming from the “Smurfs’ Village”: Season 2 is coming to Netflix on June 30, and Season 3 will launch on Nickelodeon this summer, while Season 4 is in pre-development. A new Paramount movie is also on the works.

Nele De Wilde, CCO at Peyo Company, added: “We are delighted to be working with Paramount Animation on an all-new theatrical production, ‘The Smurfs Movie’. 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. 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.”

Paramount and the filmmakers are working side by side with the Peyo Company to help carry out the vision of the artist and creator of “The Smurfs”, and to celebrate the charm of Peyo’s world and the beauty of his artwork, while translating that look for today’s audiences. The film is scheduled for a worldwide theatrical release in February 2025.