One year after this summer’s monster epic Godzilla: King of Monsters will come the highly-anticipated follow-up, Godzilla vs. Kong. The 2020 release now has another contender who will battle the iconic leviathans at the box office during its opening weekend… and he lives in a pineapple under the sea.
Yes, the third SpongeBob Movie now shares the same opening day as Godzilla vs. Kong on May 22, 2020, after a recent date shift from Paramount from its previous date of July 17, 2020, according to Deadline. By dodging the old July date, the lovable fry cook won’t have to compete with fellow animated television show movie adaptation Bob’s Burgers and Christopher Nolan’s upcoming project, which are both currently set to open on July 17, 2020.
If The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge opened in July, the movie would also go head-to-head with Ghostbusters 3, which comes out on July 20, 2020 and Jungle Cruise on July 24. Not to mention that Minions 2 hits theaters two weeks earlier.
Those are tons of family-friendly releases to compete with -- good move, SquarePants! However, Paramount additionally shifted the release date of an untitled animated feature from August 7, 2020 to The SpongeBob Movie’s previous date, July 17, 2020.
Either way, The SpongeBob Movie is braving the summer movie season and more films are sure to pack close to the May 22, 2020 slot. The same weekend slot for this year includes Disney’s live-action Aladdin, the James Gunn-produced horror film Brightburn, sci-fi thriller Ad Astra, and female-led comedy Booksmart.
Considering the prominence of the television show SpongeBob SquarePants for its 20-year-run, and the combined success of the first two films at the box office with $465.4 million worldwide, the release may just sell itself. On top of that, the series’ creator Stephen Hillenburg recently died in November, so fans will likely be eager to pay their respects through buying a ticket.
The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge just started production in late January 2019. It's being directed by Tim Hill, who has been a developer on the TV show since the beginning and worked on the script of 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The film's screenplay was written by Kung Fu Panda writers Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, along with newcomer Michael Kvamme.
This film is meant to tell an origin story of how SpongeBob met his friends for the first time at Camp Coral. The title It’s a Wonderful Sponge gives the impression that the film might riff off the plot elements of the 1946 holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
Godzilla vs. Kong, on the other hand, could see a huge opening weekend as the title implies a spectacle fight between two iconic movie monsters. 2014’s Godzilla made $529 million worldwide and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island similarly took home $566 million worldwide.
I’d guess by these numbers, The SpongeBob Movie will be taken down by Godzilla vs. Kong in its opening weekend, but I’m not one to place bets nearly two years ahead. Plus, one of the titles may move from here to another date. Studios love to reshuffle their film decks. We’ll have to see how Godzilla: King of Monsters does when it comes to theaters on May 31, 2019.