Despite the gradual reopening of cinemas, Variety has reported that The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will be skipping its theatrical run. Instead, it will debut on digital rental in early 2021, and will later stream exclusively on ViacomCBS’ streaming service CBS All Access.
The third SpongeBob SquarePants movie was originally scheduled for theatrical release by Paramount Pictures on May 22, 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was pushed back to July 31, and later to August 7 before finally being pulled from Paramount’s theatrical schedule. The revised release continues the trend of VOD debuts previously set by Universal’s Trolls World Tour, and Warner Bros.’ Scoob!, although it is not stated on why Sponge on the Run‘s VOD release got postponed to next year.
Additionally, as part of CBS All Access’ ongoing expansion and rebranding, ViacomCBS announced that the streaming service will be the home of all seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants. The expansion and rebranding are intended to bring the extensive library of Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, Smithsonian, and MTV onto the service.
The following statements were provided with the announcement:
“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. 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.”Marc DeBevoise, Chief Digital Officer, ViacomCBS
“I’m incredibly proud of this film, and the phenomenal cast and filmmaking team that made it happen. 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.”Mireille Soria, President, Paramount Animation
“We’re incredibly 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.”Ramsey Naito, Executive VP, Nickelodeon Animation Production and Development
With the departure of Sponge on the Run‘s theatrical run, there won’t be a widely-released theatrical animated film until Sony Pictures Animation’s Connected on October 23, 2020. Paramount Animation’s other upcoming animated feature Rumble is still theatrically scheduled for January 29, 2021.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a co-production between Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies, United Plankton Pictures, and Mikros Image Canada. Written and directed by early SpongeBob writer Tim Hill, the third movie sees best buddies SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) and Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) on a mission to rescue SpongeBob’s kidnapped pet snail, Gary.
Please visit our Animation Calendar for the up-to-date release schedule of mainstream animated features.