Los Angeles - The classic blue cartoon characters the smurfs are poised to make a comeback in a new three-dimensional Hollywood movie marking their 50th birthday, the industry press said on Tuesday.

Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to the tribe of small, blue-tinted characters created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo and propelled to worldwide fame in the early 1980s through a hit US television series.

The top Tinseltown studio is planning a 3-D computer-generated animated Smurf feature film that will form part of a trilogy of Smurf movies, the first of which is slated for release in 2008, Daily Variety said.

The release of the first film, to be produced for Paramount by Jordan Kerner and Nickelodeon Movies, will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the birth of The Smurfs.

The Smurfs were conceived in 1958 by Peyo, whose real name was Pierre Culliford, but popularised by an NBC series that was launched in 1981 and ran for 256 episodes.

Screenwriter Herb Ratner has been tapped to write the script for the movie, the storyline of which is being kept under wraps, Variety said.