The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run Is Still Heading To Theaters, But Not How You’d Think

Spongebob and Patrick in Sponge on the Run

While a lot of movies, both completed and in the midst of being made, have been delayed by the current health crisis, a handful of movies that were ready to hit theaters this year have instead become VOD or streaming offerings instead. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run looked to be taking that approach, but now it’s been revealed that it will play in theaters after all… sort of.

A little over a month ago, it was reported that The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run was scrapping its theatrical release in favor of heading to VOD in early 2021, and then making CBS All Access its exclusive streaming home at some point after. However, the Paramount Pictures Canada Twitter page revealed that Sponge on the Run will play in Canadian theaters starting August 14. People in the United States, however, will still have to wait for the threequel to hit VOD next year in order to watch it.

Many movie theaters, including major chains like AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas, are looking to reopen soon, but the fact of the matter is that the pandemic is still raging strong, particularly in the United States. As such, there’s been talk lately about theatrically releasing movies in other territories in the near future first, and dropping them in the U.S. at a later date. This is what’s happening with Tenet, with Christoper Nolan’s latest flick debuting in 70 international countries on August 26, followed by a limited U.S. theatrical release on September 3.

In the case of The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, it’s unclear if Paramount is still contemplating releasing it in U.S. theaters later this year, but regardless, if you live in Canada, you’ll be able to watch in a traditional theatrical setting in a few weeks. The U.S. and Canada are traditionally grouped together in one market, so for the studio to separate its Sponge on the Run plans for both nations is a bold move.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run has bounced around a lot on the calendar over the years, with the plan before the pandemic wreaked havoc on everyday life being to release the movie on May 22. It was later shifted to July 31 and then August 7, and by early June, the VOD/CBS All Access news was announced. Earlier this month, Netflix acquired the international distribution rights for Sponge on the Run, excluding the U.S., Canada and China.

As mentioned earlier, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the third movie based on the hit Nickelodeon series that premiered back in 1999 and is still going strong. Its predecessors, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, came out in 2004 and 2015, respectively. This is the first Spongebob movie to be fully animated in CGI rather than traditional 2D animation.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run sees its eponymous protagonist and his best friend Patrick embarking on a mission to rescue Gary, who’s been “snail-napped” by King Poseidon. The movie also includes a flashback scene showing how Spongebob and Gary met each other while the former was at camp, and that will set up the prequel series Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, which will air on CBS All Access.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest movie news, and look through our 2020 release schedule to learn what other movies are supposed to play in theaters later this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.