BREAKING: Paramount is taking The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run off the theatrical calendar and sending it straight into homes for an early 2021 release. We heard sources talking about this earlier today. Sponge on the Run will go on PVOD before it hits CBS All Access.
The movie was originally scheduled to play over Memorial Day weekend before COVID-19, but was rescheduled for Aug. 7.
While it’s a move that seems similar to Warner Bros. segue with theatrical release Scoob!, another TV property made for the big screen which ultimately premiered in homes instead of cinemas due to COVID-19, the SpongeBob movies have rained a great amount of cash on the Melrose lot. The first 2004 movie earned $141M at the global box office, followed by the 2015’s Sponge Out of Water which grossed $325.1M.
That said, ViacomCBS is using the movie as part of a big-rebranding of CBS All Access in early 2021, also making previous seasons of SpongeBob Squarepants available on the expanded service.
Also, let’s be honest — it’s going to be hard to get screens with reduced auditorium capacities once cinemas reopen next month. SpongeBob is wedged in the immediate two-week wake of Disney’s Mulan on July 24 and Warner Bros.’ Tenet on July 31.
SpongeBob‘s departure from the calendar leaves 20th Century Studios’ cop movie The Empty Man left on Aug. 7. The following weekend on Aug. 14, United Artists Releasing’s Bill & Ted Face the Music opens.
Directed by Tim Hill and featuring the voiceover cast of Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Douglas Lawrence and Reggie Watts, Sponge on the Run follows SpongeBob SquarePants, his best friend Patrick Star and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom in the first-ever all CGI pic. After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home. 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.
Variety first had the news.