SpongeBob Movie Skipping Theaters for On-Demand Release

Yet another major family film is skipping movie theaters in favor of a straight-to-on-demand release. Paramount and Nickelodeon's new SpongeBob flick, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, was originally supposed to come out in May of this year, but was pushed back to August 7th when the coronavirus pandemic caused several studios to shuffle their release schedules. Now, Paramount has decided to shift SpongeBob to an online release, though a specific release date has yet to be announced.

The news of SpongeBob's online debut, which was first made by Variety, also comes with the announcement that the film will be available to exclusively stream on CBS All Access in early 2021. ViacomCBS is planning a big overhaul of the streaming platform, which will also be adding every episode of past SpongeBob Squarepants seasons at the beginning of next year.

“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. “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 news of SpongeBob's streaming debut comes on the heels of rival studios Warner Bros. and Universal doing the very same thing with some of their 2020 family films. Universal's Trolls: World Tour made its on-demand debut back in April, followed by WB's Scoob! in May. Disney sent its live-action adaptation of Artemis Fowl straight to its Disney+ streaming platform, skipping the on-demand option altogether.

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“We’re incredibly happy to give kids and families a much-deserved lift in any way we can, and the PVOD release of the new SpongeBob theatrical and putting all seasons of the TV series on CBS All Access are two of the best ways I can think of to get immersed in the optimism and joy that this terrific character represents,” said Ramsey Naito, executive VP of Nickelodeon Animation Production and Development.

At this time, Paramount and Nickelodeon have yet to announce a premiere date for The SpongeBob Movie.