'The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge' to Be an Origin Story

If you've ever wondered about SpongeBob SquarePants' origin story, you're in luck. The upcoming is set to explore the beloved character's roots.

Speaking at the VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy (via Cartoon Brew), Paramount Animation president Mireilla Soira revealed that the upcoming film is set to be an origin tale with a bit of an homage to the Frank Capra holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life.

"For the first time ever, we're going to get to the origin of how little SpongeBob met the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang at summer camp," Soria said. "The film's opening will take place at Camp Coral when all of our favorite characters meet for the first time."

In addition to delving into SpongeBob's character history, the film is also set to depart from previous films as well as the television series in terms of how it's made as well. It's a Wonderful Sponge will be the first SpongeBob feature film not to be animated by the South Korean studio behind the TV show, Rough Draft Korea. Instead, Montreal-based Mikros Image will animate the film. The film will also be the first SpongeBob film to feature entirely computer-generated animation as the first film was hand animated while the second, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, featured a mix of hand animated and CG scenes.

The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge is set to open in theaters on July 22, 2020. The film will be the third in the series with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie having been released in 2004 and its sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, in 2015. Last May development of the third feature-length SpongeBob film was announced with release anticipated in 2019. In December, however, Paramount announced that film -- then being called The SpongeBob Movie -- was being pushed back a year.

SpongeBob SquarePants has emerged as a global pop culture phenomenon since the animated series first premiere don Nickelodeon in July 1999. The series is the most-watched animated program for over 14 consecutive years. Seen in over 185 countries and translated into more than 50 languages worldwide, the cartoon follows the adventures of SpongeBob, a cheerful, optimistic and earnest sea sponge -- who just so happens to look more like a bright yellow kitchen sponge than a sea creature -- and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Among those friends are SpongeBob's best friend, a pink starfish named Patrick Star, his neighbor and co-worker octopus Squidward Tentacles, and Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel from Texas.

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Both The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water were box office successes for the studio, bringing in a combined $465.3 million on a budget of $104 million between the two films.

The SpongeBob Movie: It's A Wonderful Sponge will open in theaters July 22, 2020