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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a 2021 American live-action/computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. Directed by series developer and former series writer Tim Hill, who wrote the screenplay with Michael Kvamme from a story by Aaron SpringerJonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, it is the first film in the franchise to be fully animated in stylized CGI rather than traditional 2D animation. The regular voice cast of the series reprise their respective roles from the series and the previous films, and the plot follows the origin of how SpongeBob met Gary the Snail, and SpongeBob's quest to rescue him after he is kidnapped. It is the third theatrical film based on the series, following the first in 2004 and second in 2015.

The film was produced by Paramount AnimationNickelodeon Movies, and United Plankton Pictures, with animation provided by Mikros Image. Originally slated for a worldwide theatrical release by Paramount Pictures, plans were changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was released theatrically in Canada on August 14, 2020 and August 7, 2020 in Norbek and Gantum, while it had a premium video-on-demand and Paramount+ release in the United States on March 4, 2021, and digitally on Netflix in other territories.


SpongeBob and Patrick embark on a rescue mission to save Gary, who has been "snailnapped" by Poseidon, traveling to the Lost City of Atlantic City. The movie also reveals the origin of SpongeBob and Gary's meeting for the first time as children.




In a February 2015 interview discussing The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water's success at the box office, Megan Colligan, president of worldwide distribution and marketing at Paramount Pictures, stated the possibility of a third film was "a good bet."[15] In another interview, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore remarked, "Hopefully, it won't take 10 years to make another film," in reference to the time passed between The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) and its 2015 sequel.[16] Later in 2015, it was revealed that Paramount was developing sequels to its franchises, including another SpongeBob film.[17]

The film was initially scheduled for release in 2019,[18][19] before being delayed to 2020.[20] By January 2016, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger had been hired to write the film.[21]

In March 2017, Paramount president Marc Evans announced that the studio would work closely with Viacom on its TV brands, including the SpongeBob film.[22] During the same month, Yahoo! Entertainment stated that the film would be titled The SpongeBob Movie.[23]

In April 2018, the film's official title was revealed as The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge, and SpongeBob co-developer Tim Hill was announced as director and writer for the film.[24][25] It was reported later in the year that the film would be written by Aibel, Berger, and Michael Kvamme.[26] The principal cast – Tom KennyBill FagerbakkeClancy BrownMr. LawrenceRodger BumpassCarolyn LawrenceJill TalleyMary Jo Catlett, and Lori Alan – are all expected to reprise the roles as their respective characters from the series and the previous films.[27] In October 2018, at the VIEW Conference in Turin, ItalyParamount Animation president Mireille Soria revealed the plot for the film. The same day, Hans Zimmer was announced as the composer for the film, while Paris and Montreal-based Mikros Image would handle animation for the film, which would be created entirely through computer animation.[28]

On June 12, 2019, it was announced that Reggie Watts and Awkwafina were added to the cast while Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, who wrote a song for The SpongeBob Musical, would be writing original songs for the film. It was also announced that Mia Michaels would be choreographing and Ali Dee Theodore would add an original song for the film.[1] The next day, Snoop Dogg announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he would be in the film.[11]

On November 12, 2019, it was revealed that the film's title was changed from It's a Wonderful Sponge to Sponge on the Run, along with the casting of Keanu Reeves.[13]


On January 22, 2019, it was confirmed that production on the film had officially begun.[29] Like its predecessors, the film will include live-action sequences, with Larry Fong as the film's cinematographer.[5] Unlike the previous films, the animated sequences of the film will be entirely computer-animated.


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run was originally scheduled to be theatrically released on February 9, 2019. It was then was pushed back to August 2, 2019, before being delayed nearly a year to July 31, 2020. It was moved four more times: to July 17, 2020, May 22, 2020, July 3, and finally August 7, 2020. In June 2020, it was announced that the film's theatrical release had been cancelled and it would instead go straight to digital via CBS All Access in early 2021. On July 30, 2020, Paramount Pictures Canada announced the film would be released in Canadian theaters on August 14, 2020. On July 31, 2020, Paramount Pictures Victor announced the film would be released in Victornese (Norbek) theaters on August 7, 2020 Between the Netflix and CBS All Access deals, Paramount recouped the entire production cost of the film.[35]


Box office

In the film's debut Canadian weekend, it grossed $865,824 from 300 theaters. Since Canada's grosses are factored into American totals, Sponge on the Run finished first at the box office, and had the highest weekend total for a film since the start of the pandemic.[37]

CTV News

Writing for CTV NewsRichard Crouse gave the 3.5 stars and wrote: "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on The Run brings with it the usual anarchy, inside jokes and unexpected celebrity cameos, but at its little osmotic heart is SpongeBob, a character who belongs to the same genus of entertainers as Soupy SalesStan Laurel and Pee Wee Herman."[38] Aparita Bhandari of The Globe and Mail gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, writing: "I totally understand if the latest SpongeBob SquarePants movie spinoff will draw in longtime fans and new audiences brave enough to venture into a movie theatre this Friday... However, for me and my two kids (aged 10 and 8), this dive into the deep sea wasn't as thrilling an adventure as we'd hoped for."[39]

Television Spin-off

Main article: Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years

Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years is a SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off prequel series, based on the flashback scene from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, that introduces a 10-year-old SpongeBob at a summer sleepaway camp.[33][34][35][36]

On February 19, 2020, the official title was revealed, and it was announced that the series would be premiering in July 2020. The main series voice cast will be reprising their roles.[37]

On July 30, 2020, it was announced that the series would be released on CBS All Access, the ViacomCBS streaming service, in early 2021.[38][39]