Netflix to Release SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run in International Markets

The upcoming SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run has been on the run from its initial release date. The third outing of the animated sponge was originally supposed to come out in May of this year but was delayed until August only to be pushed back again to an early 2021 debut. When the film arrives it won't be on the big screen either, premiering on VOD and later the CBS All Access streaming service in the US. Internationally though the film has found a new home as Variety reports Netflix will distribute the film in every territory but China, Paramount Pictures will reportedly debut the film in that market on their own at some point.

“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,” said Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer at ViacomCBS and president and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital said last month. “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.”

The debut of SpongeBob outside of theaters marks the latest move from an animated/kid's film to jump from theatrical exhibition due to to the coronavirus pandemic. Trolls: World Tour debuted on VOD back in April to major success for Universal Pictures, followed by WB's Scoob! in May. Disney released its long-gestating live-action adaptation of Artemis Fowl straight to its Disney+ streaming platform, skipping the on-demand option altogether.

Tom Kenny will once again voice SpongeBob SquarePants in the film which sees his beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped. In the film, SpongeBob and 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.

Kenny is joined by returning franchise stars Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Lori Alan, Rodger Bumpass, and Carolyn Lawrence in the film. Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, and Reggie Watts are also in the cast in undisclosed roles, with Keanu Reeves set to appear as a talking tumbleweed. Long-time SpongeBob writer Tom Hill directs the new film and Hans Zimmer will provide the score.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.