Sponge on the Run release

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the latest big studio pic to skip theaters entirely and head directly to digital. But there’s a twist! Instead of arriving this year, which would seem to make the most sense, Sponge on the Run won’t arrive until 2021. The movie was originally set to open in theaters next month before being pushed to August, but now it’ll skip theaters – and 2020 – entirely.

Variety has the report about the Sponge on the Run release change. Rather than hit theaters on August 7, 2020, the animated sequel will launch on premium digital rental services in early 2021 before going exclusively on CBS All Access. Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer at ViacomCBS and president and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital, issued the following statement regarding the move:

“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. 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.”

CBS All Access will soon undergo rebranding “to incorporate more of the company’s cable brands and library programming, including Paramount Pictures’s vast film catalog and Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, Smithsonian and MTV channels.” That will include adding all season of the SpongeBob Squarepants TV series to the streaming service. And while I understand holding Sponge on the Run‘s CBS All Access debut until 2021, when the rebranding is done, I’m still not entirely sure why it’s not arriving on digital rental platforms this year.

“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.

In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, “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 will also reveal the origin of SpongeBob and Gary’s meeting for the first time as children.”

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