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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a film based on Nickelodeon's hit TV show SpongeBob SquarePants. In this movie, SpongeBob and Patrick go on a rescue mission to save Gary, who's been snailnapped by Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City[1].

It is the third SpongeBob SquarePants film in the franchise[16], set for release in early 2021 on premium video-on-demand and CBS All Access in the United States.[17][18]

On July 15, 2020, Netflix acquired international distribution rights to the film, excluding China and US.[19][20][21]

On July 30, 2020, Paramount Pictures Canada announced that the film will be released in Canadian theaters on August 14, 2020.[22] The website for the movie also lists this airdate, but automatically redirects to the SpongeBobMovie Twitter for viewers in the United States.



SpongeBob and Patrick go on a rescue mission to save Gary, who has been snailnapped by Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City. The movie will reveal the first time our beloved characters met as kids at Camp…a magical moment that brings meaning to the power of true friendship.[23]

Trailer blurb

Gary's been snailnapped! SpongeBob and Patrick embark on a hilarious adventure to #SaveGary! This year on, Memorial Day weekend, SpongeBob SquarePants, his best friend Patrick Star and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom hit the big screen in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event.

After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snailnapped, he 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.




In a February 2015 interview discussing the financial success of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Megan Collison, president of worldwide distribution and marketing at Paramount, stated the possibility of a third film was "a good bet."[24] In another interview, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore remarked, "Hopefully, it won't take 10 years to make another film."[25] Later in 2015, in a tweet by Viacom, it was revealed that Paramount Pictures would be developing sequels to existing franchises such as World War Z, Jack Reacher, and a third SpongeBob Movie.[26]

On August 3, 2015, in a tweet by Vincent Waller, it was confirmed that the sequel is in pre-production,[27] and that Paul Tibbitt will be directing it.[28] It was later revealed that Tim Hill would be directing the movie[29] with Tibbitt leaving the project.[30] Waller suggested the release date of the film "should be in 2018" but may "land in 2017."[31] He also revealed that the crew working on the series would not necessarily be working on the movie.[32][33] This enables the series to be produced in tandem with the movie.[34]

In November 2015, Vincent Waller said on Twitter that both computer-generated (CG) animation and traditional 2D animation were taken into consideration when making this movie in the early stages of production.[35] Vincent Waller noted that CG is the expense.[36] CG was ultimately chosen as the animation for this movie years later in 2018.

Ruben Hickman is helping out with preliminary developments of the movie, with the same group of producers being present - Cale Boyter, Mary Parent, and Craig Sost.[37] Kristen Caplan is the production manager of the movie.[38] Furthermore, Zeus Cervas was brought in to help with the movie storyboards.[39]

As of March 2017, animatics for the film had already been completed.[40]

On March 28, 2017, Yahoo! Movies reported on its Twitter feed that the movie had been given the placeholder title of The SpongeBob Movie and the release date had been pushed back to August 2, 2019.[41][42][43] On April 25, 2018, the movie received another title of The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge.[44]

On January 22, 2018, it was confirmed principal photography had begun.[45] Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett, and Lori Alan were signed on to reprise their roles.[46] Lori Alan's lines were recorded but were cut from the final version of the film.

On October 23, 2018, the president of Paramount Animation revealed that the movie will have a "nice homage to the classic movie" with references to It's a Wonderful Life. The movie will also be an origin story detailing "how SpongeBob met the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang at summer camp." The opening sequence will take place at Camp Coral where all the characters first meet.[47]

The movie is going to use full-CG characters and environments, with hybrid sequences in the real world. This animation will be completed by Mikros Image and the score will be completed by Hans Zimmer. Music from "big names" will also be included.[47]
Iaws poster 1

On February 2, 2019, the release date of the movie was moved forward to May 22, 2020.[13]

In June 2019, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, a spin-off relating to Sponge on the Run, was greenlit by Nickelodeon president, Brian Robbins.[48]

On June 12, 2019, it was announced that Awkwafina and Reggie Watts will appear in guest voice roles. Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, and Ali Dee will work on songs for the film. Ryan Harris will produce the film and Mia Michaels will act as its choreographer.[49]

At San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019, an exclusive poster was revealed.

On November 12, 2019, the movie was renamed to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run and the movie's poster was released.[50]

On November 14, 2019, the trailer was released in the United States.

On December 7, 2019, the sneak-peek was released.

On January 29, 2020, a Super Bowl LIV spot was released in the United States.

On April 2, 2020, the release date of the movie was reverted back to July 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[51]

On April 14, 2020, the release date of the movie was delayed to August 7, 2020.[52]

On May 2, 2020, a second sneak-peek for the film was released in the United States.

On June 8, 2020, a third sneak-peek for the film was released in Australia.

On June 22, 2020, it was announced that the film's theatrical release had been cancelled and it would instead go straight to digital with no release date set.[53][54]

On July 30, 2020, Paramount Pictures Canada announced that the film will be released in Canadian theaters on August 14, 2020.

Deleted storyline

Below follows a set of storyboards by Wolf-Rüdiger Bloss from a storyline that Vincent Waller believes was "a first pass at the story, but the entire alien cat storyline was later tossed out and rewritten."[55][56] The storyboards was revealed in January 2019.

Sleepy Time 052
"I can turn into a skyscraper!"
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Karen's design is unique and mixes elements of her previous two designs.

  • Karen's design in this movie is unique and mixes elements of her silver design from the first movie and her blue design from the main series. She is silver and has bolts on her screen like in the first movie, but she has panels and wheels on the bottom like in the series.
  • Gary plays a much more major role in this film compared to the previous two, where he was mostly a background character.
  • Three copies of Perch Perkins can be seen in Atlantic City. This marks the first time that he has been used as a generic background character model, rather than just as an individual character.
  • This movie has a similar plot to the season 4 episode "Have You Seen This Snail?," as both involve Gary being taken in by a stranger and SpongeBob and Patrick teaming up to go find him.
    • It is also referenced in the promotional material, as SpongeBob and Patrick make "Lost Pet" posters for Gary, which happened in the episode as well.
    • This is the third time Gary goes missing. The first time was the aforementioned "Have You Seen This Snail?" and the second time was "Gary in Love" from season 7.
      • He was also mentioned by SpongeBob to have been lost for eight minutes in "Plankton's Pet," though that was never shown onscreen.
    • SpongeBob also looks for Gary and shouts his name several times, once in the elongated speech, similar to how he does in "Have You Seen This Snail?"
  • The film's title follows the same pattern as the previous one, both starting with "The SpongeBob Movie" followed by a colon stating the more important part of the title.
  • This film has been promoted heavily on the official SpongeBob Movie Twitter account, which uses the #SaveGary hashtag followed by a Gary emoji hashtag whenever tweeting content related to the movie.
  • One of the "lost pet" posters in the promotional material lists "Gare-bear" as one of the nicknames Gary responds to. This is a reference to "Krab Borg" where SpongeBob calls him that name.
  • In most episodes that flashback to SpongeBob as a kid, his voice sounds similar to his modern adult one if not done with a somewhat higher pitch. However, in this film, he has a realistic-sounding kid voice.
  • There is a major series retcon: SpongeBob mentions having adopted Gary at the animal shelter in "Plankton's Pet," and is also suggested to have had him ever since he was a little boy in "Have You Seen This Snail?" and "Treats!," however, this film reveals that he met him at Camp Coral after soaking up a big puddle.
  • In the film's poster, Patrick is seen using a pair of binoculars backward. He also does this in Sponge Out of Water, which is a reference to that gag.
  • In the trailer, the Krusty Krab's basement from the first film is seen, as well as a Patty Wagon-like vehicle, but it resembles either a hoagie or submarine sandwich, instead of the burger shape that the original Patty Wagon had.
  • The movie serves as the backdoor pilot for Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years.
  • On the bottom of the "Lost Pet" promotional poster, there is a Number, (707) 663-GARY, If called, a recording of SpongeBob plays informing that the recipient has reached "The Find Gary Hotline."
    The SpongeBob Movie Sponge On The Run Poster Hotline ( SaveGary) Recording

    The SpongeBob Movie Sponge On The Run Poster Hotline ( SaveGary) Recording

    The Find Gary hotline

  • This movie has a similar plot to the first SpongeBob film, as both involve SpongeBob and Patrick traveling away from Bikini Bottom to go save something or someone.
  • Patrick jokes that his name means "toaster" in Celtic and Keanu Reeves acknowledges that it's probably not true.
    • In actuality, the name "Patrick" originates from the Latin Patricius, meaning patrician or nobleman.
  • This is the second time a casino has been shown in the series, the first being "Have You Seen This Snail?" Although, this is the first time the interior of one is shown.
  • Patrick mistakes a "7" for an "L." The reverse happened in "Party Pooper Pants."
  • SpongeBob is revealed to have several photos of Gary hung on his wall and a playpen for Gary, neither of which have been shown in his house before.
  • In the trailer, Spongebob says he found Gary at Kamp Koral, but in the episode "Treats!," he says he found Gary at the pet shop.
  • Due to this movie being entirely CGI-animated and live-action, this marks the first SpongeBob movie to not have any involvement with Rough Draft Studios in South Korea. Rough Draft Studios was known for animating the 2D hand-drawn sequences in the previous 2 SpongeBob movies.
  • As of June 14, 2020, the film was officially rated PG due to "rude humor, some thematic elements, and mild language."
  • This movie was originally going to be released in May 2020, but it is on hold due to coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, but the date got pushed to early 2021.
  • This movie has been delayed more times than the previous 2 SpongeBob movies.
  • In the series, the anchovies have an American accent combined with their "Meep!" catchphrase. In this film, however, they have British accents and can talk.
  • On the international posters, the signs on the characters' backs are replaced with a person outline, "Kik me" and "Idiot."
  • This is the second time Matt Berry had a role in a SpongeBob movie. The first being the previous one, as Bubbles.
  • This is the second time Goofy Goober's Ice Cream Party Boat is shown in a movie.
  • The flower arch in Bikini Bottom shown in "Pizza Delivery" makes an appearance.
  • This is the first time since "Sailor Mouth" that we hear SpongeBob swear, but this time it's uncensored saying the word "crappy."
  • Unlike the previous SpongeBob films, this marks the first SpongeBob movie to not have a post-credits scene.
  • The Balding guy is seen as a bakerman as he returns for the first time.
20200814 185840

In Memory of Stephen Hillenburg.

  • This is the second SpongeBob project to commemorate the death of creator Stephen Hillenburg. The first project was "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout".
  • In one scene at The Krusty Krab, if one can see closely, there is a Hillenburg sketch near the cashier window.
  • This movie reunites with Richard Horvitz and Rodger Bumpass as they were previously casting together in Invader Zim and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.
  • In the first trailer, SpongeBob finds green slime in Gary's playpen, but in the second trailer, it is blue instead.
  • There's two versions of the same scene where SpongeBob kicks his front door open. In the first trailer, SpongeBob has a mad look on his face while Patrick talks to him. While in the World Laughter Day TV spot, SpongeBob is shown plugging his nose and airing himself while laughing with Patrick. Also, the background is brighter.
    • Another edit made in the second trailer is that fecal matter is visible in Gary's litter box in the first trailer, but in the second one, the image of feces is removed.
    • There's two versions of the scene where SpongeBob says to Patrick "Do I smell a road trip?!", the first one from the Big Game spot, the second one from the etalk exclusive sneak peek.

Cultural references


SpongeBob's missing holes error in The SpongeBob Movie Sponge on the Run
  • When SpongeBob and Patrick are walking out of SpongeBob's house laughing, SpongeBob is seen without any pores for a split second.


Book covers








World Oceans Day


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  24. ^ ‘SpongeBob’ Soaks Up $55 Million to Swamp ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ ‘Seventh Son’ at Box Office. (February 8, 2015).
  25. ^ Box Office: 'SpongeBob' Capsizes 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son' With $56M. The Hollywood Reporter (February 8, 2015).
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External links

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