The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a 2004 American animated adventure comedy film based on the animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. The film was directed, co-written, and produced by series creator Stephen Hillenburg, with live-action sequences directed by Mark Osborne. It features Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass and Mr. Lawrence reprising their roles from the series with Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff, [pScarlett Johansson]], and [Jeffrey Tambor]] joining them voicing new characters. It is also the first film in the SpongeBob SquarePants film series. In this film, Plankton devises a plan to discredit his business nemesis Mr. Krabs, steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and take over the world by stealing King Neptune's crown and framing Mr. Krabs for the crime. SpongeBob and Patrick team up to retrieve the crown from Shell City to save Mr. Krabs from Neptune's wrath and the oceanic world from Plankton's rule.
Hillenburg accepted an offer for a film adaptation of SpongeBob SquarePants from Paramount Pictures in 2002, after having turned it down multiple times the previous year. He assembled a team from the show's writing staff, including Paul Tibbitt, Derek Drymon, Aaron Springer, Kent Osborne, and Tim Hill, and they structured the film as a mythical hero's journey that would bring SpongeBob and Patrick to the surface. The film was originally intended to serve as the series finale, but Nickelodeon ordered more episodes of the series as it had become increasingly profitable, so Hillenburg resigned as showrunner, with Tibbitt taking his place.
The film was widely promoted by Paramount and Nickelodeon, with tie-in promotions made by 7-Eleven, the Cayman Islands, and Burger King, which decorated various of its franchises with 9-foot (2.7 m) SpongeBob inflatable figures. The film had its yellow-carpet premiere at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2004 and it was released in the United States on November 19, 2004. It grossing $140 million worldwide, and was positively welcomed from audience and fans of the series alike. It was followed by two sequels, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in 2015 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in 2020.
The film starts with a pirate crew, led by Captain Pinty, eagerly awaiting their treasure: tickets to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. When they recover it, they sail to the movie theater and sat down at the front row seats to watch the movie.
SpongeBob SquarePants has a dream of becoming the manager of the Krusty Krab restaurant and that the restaurant is in danger because a customer named Phil has no cheese on his Krabby Patty, but SpongeBob comes in in a limo and puts cheese to the Krabby Patty to save the day. SpongeBob wakes up from the dream, and happily gets ready for the "Krusty Krab 2" opening ceremony, with the hope that Mr. Krabs will promote him to general manager of the new restaurant. At the opening ceremony, SpongeBob is denied the title, which is instead given to Squidward Tentacles, due to being "more mature" than SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs thinking that he's "just a kid" and is unable to handle the task.
Severely depressed, SpongeBob heads to his favorite restaurant, Goofy Goober. There, he eats numerous sundaes with his friend Patrick Star, and wakes up the next morning with a hangover. Meanwhile, Plankton, Krabs' business rival, enactes a plot to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula burger with the dreaded "Plan Z". He steals King Neptune's beloved crown (which Neptune claims symbolizes his authority, even though it is obvious he wants to conceal a bald spot lining the entire top of his head), sends it to Shell City, a hazardous location to which no marine life has ever returned from and is guarded by a killer Cyclops, and leaves a note that says "I stole your crown. Signed, Eugene Krabs". Incensed, Neptune crashes into the Krusty Krab 2 and assaults Krabs. SpongeBob later arrives and bad-mouths Krabs, but, when seeing Krabs' life is at risk, promises Neptune that he will retrieve the crown from Shell City, but Neptune doubts that SpongeBob is capable of that. In the end, though, his compassionate daughter, Mindy, convinces him. He orders SpongeBob to be back with the crown back in exactly ten days, but thanks to Patrick, who seems to overestimate his friend, the time is argued down to six days. So he will not run away, Neptune freezes Krabs with his trident and says that Krabs will fry if SpongeBob does not complete his task. SpongeBob and Patrick then head off for Shell City in a car shaped like a Krabby Patty.
With his rival frozen solid, Plankton steals the Krabby Patty formula with ease. Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick meet two owners of a gas station who make fun of them for no apparent reason. As the duo push on, their car is stolen by a thug.
Back in Bikini Bottom, Plankton sells the Krabby Patty and makes a huge fortune, claiming Krabs willed the recipe to him. He also sends a hitman named Dennis to pursue SpongeBob and Patrick. Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick recover the car, but are forced to get the key from the thug, who is in a night club where anyone who blows a bubble is mauled. They end up blowing countless and are almost caught, but they escape with the key.
Squidward, meanwhile, uncovers the truth about Plankton stealing Neptune's crown and attempts to alert the authorities, but Plankton uses mind-controlling buckets, disguised as souvenirs, to control the residents of Bikini Bottom, including Squidward, and renames the city Planktopolis.
Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick discover an ice cream stand and buy some, but it is revealed to be a trap created by a frogfish. The frogfish attempts to eat them, but they escape by jumping out of the car. The frogfish eats the car, but is eaten by an eel that lives in a trench filled with carnivorous creatures. Before the two admit defeat, knowing that they can not cross the trench, Mindy appears to give them encouragement by falsely claiming they are men, not kids, by using her "Mermaid Magic" to give them moustaches (strands of seaweed). Singing a song, SpongeBob and Patrick dance their way across the trench with ease, only to meet Dennis on the other side. Before Dennis steps on them with his giant boot, he is stomped on by a human boot. The human, revealed to be the Cyclops Mindy warned them about, grabs SpongeBob and Patrick and heads off for his store by the beach, which is in fact "Shell City" itself; (until the duo returns to the Krusty Krab 2, besides the SpongeBob, Patrick, and the sea animals, the film is shot in the real world).
When they arrive, SpongeBob and Patrick find the crown, but encounter a lethal drying-out process which kills them. However, they shed tears that short-circuit the heat lamp, which releases smoke and activates the emergency sprinkler system, reviving them, as well as the other dried-out sea creatures being sold as souvenirs. While the sea creatures attack the Cyclops, including a lobster who sprayed Elmer's glue onto him, SpongeBob and Patrick take the crown out to the beach. After accidentally losing the bag of winds Mindy gave to return to Bikini Bottom, David Hasselhoff offers the two a ride, which they gladly accept.
On the way, Dennis catches up to them, but is struck by a catamaran back into the sea. Back at the Krusty Krab 2, Neptune arrives to execute Krabs, while Plankton eagerly watches. In the nick of time, SpongeBob and Patrick return with the crown, save Krabs, and then confront Plankton. In turn, Plankton drops a mind bucket on Neptune. Just as Plankton thinks he is triumphant and has won, SpongeBob, cherishing the fact he is just a kid yet he accomplished a lot in the past six days, five minutes, and 27-and-a-half seconds, uses his imagination to play the Goofy Goober theme in the form of a rock song (a parody of "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister), using his guitar to free Plankton's slaves. Realizing defeat once again, Plankton tries to escape, but is trampled by Bikini Bottom's citizens.
Plankton is arrested and incarcerated. King Neptune thanks Mindy for her bravery and unfreezes Krabs, who graciously gives the title of general manager of the Krusty Krab 2 to SpongeBob. During the end credits, SpongeBob is seen doing jobs and chores for Mr. Krabs with an oversized Krusty Krab employee hat.
In a post-credits scene, a theater usher forces the Captain and his pirate crew to leave.
- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants and Gary the Snail
- Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star
- Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs
- Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles
- Mr. Lawrence as Plankton
- Alec Baldwin as Dennis
- Scarlett Johansson as Princess Mindy
- Jeffrey Tambor as King Neptune
- Jill Talley as Karen
- David Hasselhoff as himself
- Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks
- Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Puff
- Lori Alan as Pearl Krabs
Other characters from the television series also appear in the film. Carlos Alazraqui, director Stephen Hillenburg, and Neil Ross voice King Neptune's squire, a parrot, and the Cyclops, respectively. In a post-credits scene, Mageina Tovah portrays a theater usher.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was long-planned; Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures had approached series creator Stephen Hillenburg for a film based on the show, but he refused for more than a year. Hillenburg was concerned, after watching The Iron Giant and Toy Story with his son, about the challenge of SpongeBob and Patrick doing something more cinematically-consequential and inspiring without losing what he calls the SpongeBob "cadence". While on a break from season four post-production, "To do a 75-minute movie about SpongeBob wanting to make some jellyfish jelly would be a mistake, I think this had to be SpongeBob in a great adventure. That's where the comedy's coming from, having these two naïve characters, SpongeBob and Patrick, a doofus and an idiot, on this incredibly dangerous heroic odyssey with all the odds against them."
In 2002, Hillenburg and the show's staff stopped making episodes to work on the film after the show's third season. The film's plot originally had SpongeBob rescue Patrick from a fisherman in Florida; an obvious reference to the 2003 film, Finding Nemo, this was later said by Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob) to be a "joke" plot to keep fans busy. Hillenburg wrote the film with five other writer-animators from the show (Paul Tibbitt, Derek Drymon, Aaron Springer, Kent Osborne, and Tim Hill) over a three-month period in a room of a former Glendale, California bank. Osborne said, "It was hugely fun although it did get kind of gamy in there." At the beginning of the series, Hillenburg screened a number of silent shorts (from Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton) and work by two modern comic actors: Jerry Lewis and Pee-wee Herman, both obvious inspirations for SpongeBob. For the film, the writers created a mythical hero's quest: the search for a stolen crown, which brings SpongeBob and Patrick to the surface. Bill Fagerbakke (the voice of Patrick) said about the plot, "It's just nuts. I'm continually dazzled and delighted with what these guys came up with."
When the film was completed, Hillenburg wanted to end the series "so it wouldn't jump the shark". However, Nickelodeon desired more episodes; Hillenburg stated: "Well, there was concern when we did the movie [in 2004] that the show had peaked. There were concerns among executives at Nickelodeon." As a result, Hillenburg resigned as the series' showrunner, appointing writer, director, and storyboard artist Paul Tibbitt to succeed him. Tibbitt was one of Hillenburg's favorite crew members: "[I] totally trusted him." Tibbitt would remain showrunner until he was succeeded in 2015 by the show's creative director Vincent Waller and staff writer Marc Ceccarelli. He has also acted as an executive producer since 2008. Hillenburg no longer wrote or ran the show on a day-to-day basis, but reviewed each episode and submitted suggestions: "I figure when I'm pretty old I can still paint I don't know about running shows." Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, and the crew confirmed that they had completed four episodes for broadcast on Nickelodeon in early 2005, and planned to finish a total of about 20 for the fourth season. In 2015, Hillenburg returned to the show following the completion of the second movie as an executive producer, having greater creative input and attending crew meetings until his death on November 26, 2018.
In September 2003, Jules Engel, Hillenburg's mentor when he studied experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts, died. Hillenburg dedicated the film to him: "He truly was the most influential artistic person in my life. I consider him my 'Art Dad.'"
See also: List of SpongeBob SquarePants characters
The film stars the series' main cast members: Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gary the Snail, and the French Narrator, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs, Mr. Lawrence as Plankton, Jill Talley as Karen, Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks, Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Puff, and Lori Alan as Pearl Krabs. It also features Dee Bradley Baker as Perch Perkins, Carlos Alazraqui as King Neptune's squire, Aaron Hendry as the Cyclops, and Neil Ross as the voice of the Cyclops. In addition to the series' cast, it was reported on March 23, 2004 that Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Tambor, and Alec Baldwin would play new characters Princess Mindy, King Neptune, and Dennis, respectively, and David Hasselhoff would appear as himself.
Johansson accepted the role because she likes cartoons and was a fan of The Ren & Stimpy Show. When Jeffrey Tambor signed for his voice cameo, he saw his character (King Neptune) and joked, "This is me." He remembered the first cartoon he saw, Bambi: "My first cartoon, I had to be carried out crying It was Bambi. It's like the great American wound: the death of Bambi's mother. 'Run, Bambi, run!'" Another guest voice was Alec Baldwin; Stephen Hillenburg said that the actor recorded his character Dennis on a "phone": "I wouldn't say that about his performance. He might be mad if we said that. Technically, it was like he was in another booth in the studio."
Baywatch and Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff accepted the role when his daughters, Taylor-Ann and Hayley, urged him: "I got an offer to do a cameo in the SpongeBob Movie and I turned to my girls, who were like 16 and 14, and I said, 'Who's SpongeBob?' and they said, 'Oh my God, Dad, it's the number one cartoon in the world, you gotta do it.'" Hasselhoff enjoyed his cameo: "It was great fun and to this day around the world kids stop me and say, 'Are you David Hasselhoff?' because I was the only human in the picture." Hasselhoff said that the film gained him new fans: "It's amazing - so many of the kids were so young and didn't see Baywatch and Knight Rider so I got a whole new legion of fans."
There were a number of stages involved in the making of the film, beginning with a rough animation process of ideas drawn on Post-it notes. The writers drew, working from rough outlines rather than scripts (which made the humor more visual than verbal). The storyboard artists, including Sherm Cohen, then illustrated ideas conceived by the writers. In the series Tom Yasumi and Andrew Overtoom do the animatics, but director Hillenburg and writer Derek Drymon did the animatics for the film. Yasumi and Overtoom were the film's animation-timing directors, concentrating on the sheets. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was animated at Rough Draft Studios in South Korea. The animators worked semi-digitally; pencil-drawn poses would be composited into layouts in Photoshop.
Series writer and storyboard artist Erik Wiese left the show for a year to work on Samurai Jack and Danny Phantom, but returned to do storyboards and character layout for the film. He "always wanted to be a feature animator, and the movie felt like I was on the character animation end", describing the experience as "a blast it felt like coming home."
Hillenburg enjoyed the process of making the film: "The TV schedule is tight, and you don't always have a lot of time to work on your drawings." He appreciated the film's hand-drawn animation: "I think the movie's drawings are much superior than the TV show", although CGI animation was flourishing at the time of the film's release. "There's a lot of talk about 2-D being dead, and I hope people don't think that. Even Brad Bird is a proponent of 2-D. He would agree with me that it's all about what you're trying to say. There are many ways to tell a story, and what's unique about animation is that there are many styles with which to tell a story." The clay animation scenes were shot by Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh and Chris Finnegan at Screen Novelties in Los Angeles.
The film features live-action scenes directed by Mark Osborne in Santa Monica, California. The ship used during the 30-second opening featuring the pirates singing the theme song was the Bounty, a 180-foot (55 m)-long, enlarged reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty built for 1962's Mutiny on the Bounty. The ship appeared in a number of other films, including Treasure Island (1999), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007). In film trailers, live-action scenes were taken from Das Boot (1981), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Crimson Tide (1995), and U-571 (2000).
Baywatch and Knight Rider actor David Hasselhoff made a cameo in the live-action scenes, offering SpongeBob and Patrick a ride to Bikini Bottom. The scene was originally written before consulting Hasselhoff. Hillenburg was pleased with the storyboards; Lead storyboard artist Sherm Cohen said, "He had been wrestling with the ending for quite a while, and finally he was ready to pitch his ideas to some of the other board artists." Hillenburg was counting on casting Hasselhoff, and the first question he asked him was "So, do we have Hasselhoff?" He replied "No", with a grin. Hasselhoff eventually agreed, before seeing the script. Hillenburg said about the actor, "He's a great guy He was great at making fun of himself."
The crew built a 750-pound (340 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) replica of Hasselhoff. The $100,000 replica was kept at Hasselhoff's home; he has said, "It freaked me out because it was so lifelike, with teeth, when you touch it it feels like real skin. It's soft, like your skin." At the completion of filming, Hasselhoff said, "That's ridiculously awesome. What are you gonna do with it?" Asked by the crew if he wanted to keep it, he answered, "Uh, yeah. Okay." Hasselhoff filmed in cold water, where he was pulled by a sled nine yards across the sea; he described the experience as "cold but a lot of fun."
In late March 2014, Hasselhoff offered the replica up for auction with other memorabilia collected during his career. Julien's Auctions handled the item's sale, which were expected to bring in between $20,000 and $30,000. Ultimately, Hasselhoff pulled the item, just a few days before the auction.
The DVD and Blu-ray releases include animatics of deleted scenes from the film, including SpongeBob and Patrick's meeting with Sandy Cheeks (a squirrel) on the surface after their escape from Shell City. Patrick repeatedly vomits, upset by Sandy's unusual appearance. The squirrel is pursued by black-suited exterminators, and defends herself with acorns. She informs SpongeBob and Patrick that they can return to Bikini Bottom by taking a bus at the beach. This idea was later used for the second film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, where Sandy became a giant realistic squirrel.
In 2013, the film's lead storyboard artist, Sherm Cohen, released a storyboard panel of a deleted scene from the film with SpongeBob awakening from his dream saying "WEEEEE!" and Mr. Krabs holding a manager's hat.
Gregor Narholz composed the score for the film, conducting the recording sessions (in 5.1 surround sound) with the London Metropolitan Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London. Narholz was signed when series music editor Nick Carr recommended him to Hillenburg after they worked together at the Associated Production Music library. Narholz was honored at the 2005 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards for his work on the film, and received a nomination for Music in an Animated Feature Production at the 32nd Annie Awards.
American rock band The Flaming Lips recorded SpongeBob And Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy They shot the song's music video, directed by band member Wayne Coyne and filmmaker Bradley Beesley, in Austin, Texas. Coyne said, "Stephen Hillenburg seems to be a fan of the weirder music of the late '80s and early '90s He wanted to evoke the music he got turned onto back then." Coyne suggested a duet with Justin Timberlake, but Hillenburg refused, saying "I don't want any of those sort of commercial weirdos on there. I don't like those commercial people. I like you guys, and Wilco and Ween." American band Wilco wrote and recorded "Just a Kid". One of the film's producers contacted frontman Jeff Tweedy after seeing a SpongeBob air freshener hanging from Tweedy's rearview mirror in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco. Tweedy said, "I fell in love with SpongeBob when I heard him describe the darkness at the bottom of the sea as 'advanced darkness' How could I not write a song for this film? It automatically makes me the coolest dad on the block." Avril Lavigne recorded the series' theme for the soundtrack. Other artists contributing to the soundtrack were Motörhead, singing "You Better Swim" (a derivative of their 1992 song "You'd Better Run"); Prince Paul ("Prince Paul's Bubble Party"); Ween ("Ocean Man"), and the Shins ("They'll Soon Discover", partially written in 2001).
"The Best Day Ever", written by Tom Kenny (SpongeBob's voice actor) and Andy Paley, was featured in the film and on its soundtrack. Kenny and Paley were working on what would become the album The Best Day Ever, writing "The Best Day Ever" and "Under My Rock". The film's production team needed two more tracks for the soundtrack; Hillenburg heard the songs, and decided to include them. "The Best Day Ever" ended up being played during the film's closing credits.
The first teaser trailer was released on December 26, 2003, and was attached to Peter Pan. The teaser includes footage from Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, and U-571. The film's second trailer was released on May 19, 2004, and was attached to Shrek 2. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie opened in theaters on November 19, 2004; its yellow-carpet world premiere was at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on November 14, 2004. Among celebrities who saw the premiere with their children were Ray Romano, Larry King, Ice Cube, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's Gary Dourdan, and Friends' Lisa Kudrow. The carpet was a reminder of home for Tom Kenny, SpongeBob's voice actor; he said, "I have a 15-month-old daughter, so I'm no stranger to yellow carpets."
Julia Pistor, the film's co-producer, said that although Nickelodeon (which owns the SpongeBob trademark) wanted to sell character-themed backpacks, lunch boxes, and wristwatches it respected Hillenburg's integrity and gave him control of merchandising. Hillenburg had no problem with candy and ice cream tie-ins, Pistor said (because of the treats' simplicity), but he had issues with fast food tie-ins; according to him, the latter was "full of hidden additives." Pistor said, "The trouble is that you can't go out with animated films without a fast-food tie-in. People don't take you seriously." Hillenburg replied, "Yeah, well, my take on that is that we shouldn't do that. We didn't want to suddenly become the people serving up food that's not that good for you especially kids. We work with Burger King, and they make toys and watches. But to actually take the step of pushing the food, that's crossing the line. I don't want to be the Pied Piper of fast food."
The film was promoted across the United States. Nickelodeon joined Burger King for a 12-figure toy line based on the film, and about 4,700 Burger King stores perched 9-foot (2.7 m), inflatable SpongeBob figures on their roofs as part of the promotion (one of the largest in fast-food history). Customers could also purchase one of five different SpongeBob-themed watches for $1.99 with the purchase of a value meal.
On November 11, 2004, it was reported that a number of the inflatables had been stolen from Burger King roofs nationwide. Burger King chief marketing officer Russ Klein said, "As to the motives behind these apparent 'spongenappings', we can only speculate. We did receive one ransom note related to an inflatable SpongeBob disappearance in Minnesota." The chain offered a year's supply of Whopper sandwiches as a reward for information leading to the return of inflatables stolen in November. One was found attached to a railing at the football-field 50-yard line at an Iowa college, and another under a bed in Virginia. A ransom note was found for a third: "We have SpongeBob. Give us 10 Krabby Patties, fries, and milkshakes." Steven Simon and Conrad (C.J.) Mercure Jr. were arrested after stealing an inflatable from a Burger King in St. Mary's County, Maryland. While facing up to 18 months in jail and a $500 fine, Simon and Mercure said they were proud of what they did; Simon said, "Once we got caught by the police, we were like, now we can tell everybody." The following year, Burger King took "extra security precautions" in response to the SpongeBob incident, when Stormtroopers from George Lucas' Star Wars guarded the delivery of Star Wars toys to a Burger King in North Hollywood as part of a promotion for Revenge of the Sith.
The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea, joined with Nickelodeon to create the first Cayman Islands Sea School with SpongeBob for the film. The partnership was announced by Pilar Bush, Deputy Director of Tourism for Cayman Islands, on March 10, 2004. As part of the agreement the Cayman partnership was seen on Nickelodeon's global multimedia platforms, including on-air, online and in magazines.
In 2005, Nickelodeon and Simon Spotlight released a book, Ice-Cream Dreams, as a tie-in to the film. It was written by Nancy E. Krulik and illustrated by Heather Martinez, with Krulik and Derek Drymon as contributors.
SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300
On October 15, 2004, the film was the first to sponsor a NASCAR race: the 300-mile (480 km), Busch Series SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. It was the first race of its kind where children at the track could listen to a special, "kid-friendly" radio broadcast of the event.
Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson debuted a pair of SpongeBob SquarePants-themed Chevrolet race cars in the race. Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet included an image of SpongeBob across the hood, and Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet featured Patrick Star. Johnson said, "This sounds so cool I know there are a lot of families who will be excited that Lowe's is doing this. The great thing is there will be something for every type of race fan. Plus how can we go wrong with SpongeBob helping us out on the car?"
The film was released on VHS and DVD on March 1, 2005, in wide- and full-screen editions, by Paramount Home Entertainment. The VHS release is known for being the last animated film by Nickelodeon Movies to be released on the platform. The DVD special features include an 18-minute featurette, The Absorbing Tale Behind The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, featuring interviews with most of the principal cast and crew; a 15-minute featurette, Case of the Sponge "Bob", hosted by Jean-Michel Cousteau; a 20-minute animatic segment featuring scenes from the film with dialogue by the original artists, and the film's trailer. As a tie-in to the film's DVD release, 7-Eleven served a limited-edition Under-the-Sea Pineapple Slurpee in March 2005. The film was released as a Blu-ray-plus-DVD combination pack on March 29, 2011 alongside Charlotte's Web.
It was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 30, 2014.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie earned $9,559,752 on its opening day in the United States, second behind Disney's National Treasure (which earned $11 million). It grossed a combined total of $32,018,216 during its opening weekend, on 4,300 screens at 3,212 theaters, averaging $9,968 per venue (or $7,446 per screen, again second to National Treasure). The film dropped an unexpected 44 percent over the Thanksgiving weekend, and 57 percent the weekend after that. The opening weekend earned 37.48 percent of the film's final gross. It closed on March 24, 2005, failing to out-gross holiday animated competitors The Incredibles (from Disney-Pixar, grossing $261,441,092) and The Polar Express (from Warner Bros., grossing $183,373,735). It was still profitable for distributor Paramount Pictures and producer Nickelodeon Movies, earning $85,417,988 in the United States and $140,161,792 worldwide on a budget of $30 million. The film was the 29th-highest-grossing 2004 film domestically and is the sixth-highest-grossing animated TV adaptation of all time.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 68% based on 129 reviews and an average score of 6.18/10. The website's consensus reads, "Surreally goofy and entertaining for both children and their parents." Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.