The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Paramount and Nickelodeon’s newest installment in their hugely successful multi-platform aquatic buddy-buddy franchise, is skipping its previously planned August 7 theatrical debut. The studios are opting instead for a VOD release in early 2021 before the film moves to an exclusive run on CBS All Access as part of the streaming service’s planned expansion and rebranding.
“We are thrilled to have The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, a premier, first-run movie from one of ViacomCBS’ biggest brands, join CBS All Access’ expanding slate of franchise content from across ViacomCBS,” said Marc DeBevoise, Chief Digital Officer, ViacomCBS and President & Chief Executive Officer, ViacomCBS Digital. “This launch will be perfectly timed with our continued expansion and planned rebranding of the service in early 2021, as we welcome SpongeBob and the gang from Bikini Bottom to the service in the biggest way possible.”
In addition, all prior seasons of the iconic SpongeBob Squarepants animated series will soon be available on the expanded subscription VOD service.
“I’m incredibly proud of this film, and the phenomenal cast and filmmaking team that made it happen,” said Mireille Soria, President of Paramount Animation. “Bringing this movie to life was a true collaboration and labor of love, and I’m thrilled for audiences to enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Ramsey Naito, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon Animation Production and Development, added, “We’re happy to give kids and families a much-deserved lift in any way we can, and the PVOD release of the new SpongeBob theatrical and putting all seasons of the TV series on CBS All Access are two of the best ways I can think of to get immersed in the optimism and joy that this terrific character represents.”
This year, a number of high-profile films, such as Universal’s Trolls World Tour, Warner Bros’ Scoob and Disney’s Artemis Fowl, have released straight to VOD rather than in theatres, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced movie houses to shut down this past March. With cinemas set to reopen sometime next month, Disney is still planning for a Mulan release on July 24; other films are sure to follow.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run follows SpongeBob SquarePants and his best friend Patrick Star as they embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to find his beloved pet snail Gary, who has been snail-napped. As they navigate the delights and dangers on this perilous and hilarious rescue mission, SpongeBob and his pals prove there’s nothing stronger than the power of friendship.
The 3D/CG animated film is directed by Tim Hill, with a voice cast that includes Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Douglas Lawrence and Reggie Watts.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.