The blues are gone – not literally, though – with the end to a bitter royalty dispute.
- Everything blue and Smurf
- Chosen by Sony to promote its Smurf films
The residents of Juzcar were left feeling blue at having to pay out royalties to the Smurfs to keep their village as a turquoise-painted tourist attraction.
The row was feared to be the end of the Spanish village of Juzcar, on the Costa del Sol, where all the buildings are painted entirely blue and the locals dress up as Smurfs.
But with the dispute in the past now, all’s well again at the village of the Smurfs.
Home to just 50,000, Juzcar has flourished since it was chosen for the promotion of three Smurf movies, drawing as many as 80,000 tourists every year.
Juzcar used to be one of the ‘white towns’ of Andalucia but in the spring of 2011, all the buildings, including the 16th-century church and gravestones, were painted blue by Sony Pictures to celebrate the premiere of a new Smurfs movie.
The result was such a hit that when Sony offered to repaint the buildings white in December 2011, the local residents held a public vote and decided to keep them blue as they had never seen so many visitors flock to their village!
Many businesses, including restaurants, bars and guesthouses sprung up as a result of its success but eventually, some locals became fed up with having to pay money to the heir of the Smurfs creator.
Some even threatened to withdraw from the blue experience and took down Smurfs from their buildings.
Fortunately, the dispute was settled when the villagers agreed to pay 12 percent of all profits from Smurf-related income in royalties.
The village has also agreed to remove any images or figures which do not comply with the Smurf brand and will be getting new attractions, thanks to a €300,000 grant from Malaga council.
The Mayor of Juzcar said a formal agreement had now been reached.
“If you receive money for some activity related to the Smurfs, such as the sale of products or some service, you have to pay an amount for copyright,” he confirmed.
Juzcar nestles in the Serrania de Ronda, with the properties perched on the ridges of the mountains. It is 115 km from Malaga and 25 km from Ronda.
Regular activities are held on most weekends, together with special events, which are either free or cost no more than five pounds.
For Smurf fans, this is a must in your travel list.