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 King Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City.
It is the third SpongeBob SquarePants film in the franchise, released on March 4, 2021 on premium video-on-demand and Paramount+ in the United States. The show is now the second Nicktoon to have a theatrical film trilogy, following Rugrats Go Wild (which served The Rugrats the third and final film, The Wild Thornberrys' second film, and a crossover of both shows).
On July 30, 2020, Paramount Pictures Canada announced that the film would be released in Canadian theaters on August 14, 2020. The website for the movie also lists this airdate, but automatically redirects to the SpongeBobMovie Facebook page for viewers in the United States. The film was released internationally on Netflix on November 5, 2020.
- 1 Characters
- 2 Plot
- 3 Production
- 4 Cast
- 5 Deleted storylines
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Merchandise
- 8 Posters
- 9 Videos
- 10 References
- 11 External links
- Documentary narrator (debut)
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Young SpongeBob
- Patrick Star
- Young Patrick
- Squidward Tentacles
- Young Squidward
- Mr. Krabs
- Young Mr. Krabs (no lines)
- Sandy Cheeks
- Young Sandy
- Mrs. Puff
- Young Mrs. Puff
- Sheldon J. Plankton
- Karen Plankton
- Gary the Snail
- Young Gary
- Pearl Krabs (deleted scene)
- Otto (debut)
- French Narrator (briefly, voice only)
- King Poseidon (debut)
- Chancellor (debut)
- Sage (debut)
- Flesh-eating cowboy pirate zombies (debut)
- The Gambler (debut)
- El Diablo (debut)
- The Lighthouse Casino Dealer (debut)
- Tiffany Haddock (debut)
- Poseidon's guards (debut)
- Poseidon's concierge (debut)
- Poseidon's security guard (debut)
- Poseidon's tattoo artist (debut)
- Poseidon's band (debut)
- Blue Fin Group (debut)
- Poseidon's psychiatrist (debut)
- Poseidon's tattoo removal artist (debut)
- Fabio Star (debut)
- Bikini Bottomites and Atlantic City residents
- Perch Perkins
- Big-Mac Lemont
- Reg (no lines)
- Sandals (no lines)
- Larry the Lobster (no lines)
- Scooter (no lines)
- Fred (no lines)
- Incidental 105
- Incidental 67
- Incidental 22 (blue)
- Incidental 82
- Incidental 93
- Incidental 7 (blue)
- Incidental 49
- Incidental 45
- Incidental 6
- Incidental 69
- Robot SpongeBob (cameo)
- Plankton's robot (cameo)
- Grandma SquarePants (cameo)
- Kelpy G
The movie starts with an opening shot of Bikini Bottom, which takes us to SpongeBob's pineapple where we find Gary waking our titular character up, leaving snail trail on his face, after this, SpongeBob rushes to yell "Good Morning" to Patrick, then we see SpongeBob feeding Gary which leads to an unrealistic montage showing SpongeBob and Gary's daily routine, once the montage finishes, SpongeBob rushes to the Krusty Krab in order to be early, leaving Gary sad and alone.
At the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob unintentionally annoys Squidward with his shenanigans when Mr. Krabs walks out of office commanding SpongeBob to raise the colors, hoist the mainsail and to deploy smokestacks, meanwhile at the Chum Bucket, we see Plankton plotting yet another evil plan to get the secret formula, until Karen's stop the evil copepod, reminding him of his "wall of failures", which is a huge wall filled with pictures of Plankton's failures. Karen then convinces Plankton that SpongeBob is the factor of all his failures, Plankton of course ignores her and continues his plan.
Meanwhile, in the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob is busy cooking and serving Krabby Patties, when Sandy arrives with a special invention, a robot named Otto, so she shows the robot to Mr. Krabs and the crustacean falls in love with it when he realizes it's free and has no emotions, as he thinks it's a great invention to fire people without remorse, so after some humorous antics Mr. Krabs throws Otto to Plankton's garbage can, so then Karen decides to adopt Otto.
A bubble wipe takes us to the Krusty Krab at night, where Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob to clean up the place. One cleaning montage later, SpongeBob is ready to go home when suddenly the camera zooms into a jar of pickles, revealing Plankton, disguised as a Pickle is ready to steal a Krabby Patty, so he uses a giant mechanical claw to remove a food cover from a Krabby Patty, so once he's about to accomplish this, SpongeBob enters the kitchen looking for keys, causing Plankton to fall on a puddle, a series of comical mishaps leads us to landing on the fryer, when he suddenly realizes that SpongeBob truly is the factor for all his failures.
We then are taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City, where we meet Poseidon who discovers the existence of a wrinkle right next to his eye, so he demands Chancellor to bring him a snail, he uses the snail's trail as a face cream, when suddenly he discovers that the snail's trail has ran out, so he orders another snail to be brought to him immediately, then the Chancellor tells Poseidon that they ran out of snails, leading to the Chancellor writing a royal decree and posting it all over town, when Plankton reads one, he gets the brilliant idea of kidnapping Gary and sending SpongeBob on a risky mission to get Gary from the Lost City of Atlantic City, thereby getting rid of SpongeBob forever.
Next morning, SpongeBob arrives home, where he can't seem to find Gary anywhere, leading to a flashback to Camp Coral, where SpongeBob met Gary. Patrick then tells SpongeBob that he found one of his "Lost Snail" posters, when he gets the idea of looking for clues, his plan eventually works as they both find the royal decree mentioned earlier, so SpongeBob assumes Gary's been snailnapped and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City.
After a comedic pep talk, SpongeBob and Patrick are ready to go rescue Gary, but they'll need some wheels first, luckily Plankton (as part of his plan) provides SpongeBob and Patrick a free ride to the Lost City of Atlantic City, with Otto as the driver, so our heroes embark on a very dangerous mission to go rescue Gary. Meanwhile, Mr. Krabs and Squidward find out SpongeBob is missing and can't cook for the customers leading to them acting like savages. While that is going on, SpongeBob and Patrick seem to be on a dream where they find a bar called "The Inferno Saloon" in the middle of nowhere, when suddenly a taking tumbleweed who gives the duo a so-called Challenge Coin that's supposed to give SpongeBob the courage needed on his journey.
The two are assigned with a task before they can actually look for Gary, the task is to free the souls from "The Inferno Saloon" so after a musical number, a human known as El Diablo enters the bar capturing SpongeBob and Patrick in a cage, once they get out of the cage, El Diablo tries to kill them with a knife until the duo open the curtains letting the sunlight evaporate El Diablo thereby freeing the souls from "The Inferno Saloon" like Sage told them to. However, El Diablo comes back as a smoke monster and tries to kill SpongeBob and Patrick once again, but is quickly defeated. Soon after they both wake up from the dream but somehow Sage is still in the picture and tells them to look at the Window of Meanwhile, a magical device which allows them to watch what's happening in the kingdom, where they find Poseidon using Gary as a face cream, horrified by this Spongebob and Patrick hurry to the Lost City of Atlantic City.
A bubble transition takes us to an empty Krusty Krab, where we see an upset Mr. Krabs devastated for losing each and every customer he once had (not too long ago), when suddenly Plankton enters the Krusty Krab and demands Mr. Krabs to give him the secret formula once it for all, Mr. Krabs, without hesitation, takes out a tiny secret formula from his belt and hands it to Plankton, who at first happily receives it, feels empty and upset at seeing Mr. Krabs so depressed.
Meanwhile the duo finally arrive to the Lost City of Atlantic City, where Sage advices them to not lose any focus, when at first the duo ignore him, they quickly do in fact lose focus, leading to a montage of SpongeBob and Patrick riding rollercoasters, eating food, and gambling, it all leads to them waking up drunk and confused. When they finally regain consciousness, they hurry to the kingdom's stage entrance where they find themselves forced to participate on the talent show, then SpongeBob finds Gary and tries to get him home, but Poseidon won't let that so he gets SpongeBob arrested.
A fade out takes us to Sandy sledding to SpongeBob's pineapple where she finds out he's missing, so she goes to the Krusty Krab and starts blaming Mr. Krabs and Squidward on SpongeBob's disappearance, when they finally explain that they weren't guilty, a Bikini Bottom news report explaining SpongeBob and Patrick's arrest plays on the Krusty Krab television, so Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Sandy and Plankton embark on another dangerous journey to free SpongeBob and Patrick.
We then find SpongeBob and Patrick in Poseidon's dungeon, when SpongeBob finds out he lost his "Challenge Coin" by gambling it (despite Patrick asking SpongeBob to think twice about doing so), the duo get on a fight and are then sent to their frightening execution, only to be sabotaged by Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Sandy and Plankton, they then start explaining why SpongeBob shouldn't get executed by travelling back to Kamp Koral in the form of flashbacks.
Sandy's Flashback: We see a young SpongeBob arrive to Camp Coral when he suddenly meets a young Sandy, she then explains why she has to wear her famous astronaut suit and SpongeBob asks if she's a scientist, with Sandy replying no, he then tells her that she can do anything, Sandy is then quickly convinced by SpongeBob that she can indeed be a scientist if she wanted to, ending the flashback.
Patrick's Flashback: We see a young Patrick crying on top of a log, then SpongeBob finds him crying and asks him what's wrong, Patrick explains he's homesick and has no friends, so SpongeBob decides to befriend the little sea star and invites him to jellyfish with him.
Squidward's Flashback: Squidward explains that back then, he wanted to win the Annual Kamp Koral Talent Show more that anything, and when SpongeBob and Patrick's act steals the crowd, Squidward runs crying to his cabin, then SpongeBob and Patrick enter his cabin and explain that there was an evaluating mistake and Squidward actually won the Kampy Award by a landslide.
After these flashbacks, Mr. Krabs gives out a speech about how SpongeBob inspired him to open the Krusty Krab and how SpongeBob is in fact the secret formula to the Krabby Patty, after that, the crew perform Secret to the Formula which is a distraction for SpongeBob to get his hands on Gary and replace it with a wooden imitation, so once Poseidon discovers this, he sends his guards to get them.
After an exciting chase scene, the gang hide in a knight armor leading to an intense climax with the guards fighting the knight armor being controlled by SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy and Plankton, they all get rounded up by Poseidon. However, it reveals that he found the whole ordeal to be exciting and agrees to let them go, if they hand over Gary. SpongeBob is destroyed by this proposal, but then Sage appears and reminds the yellow sponge that the courage he needs to confront Poseidon is inside him.
So he defies Poseidon and tells him that he loves Gary too much to hand him over. He then compliments and thanks his friends for sticking up for him, but he indirectly insults the Greek God, making Poseidon ready to attack when he is stopped by SpongeBob when he tells him he doesn't have any loyal friends, Poseidon laughs at it first but after actually checking with everyone on his kingdom, he comes to the sad conclusion that he doesn't have any friends, upset at this Poseidon cries but SpongeBob tells him that he'll gladly be his friend if he doesn't kidnap Gary, Poseidon explains that if he doesn't keep the snail then he wouldn't be able to get rid of his wrinkle, but SpongeBob explains that looks don't matter, what matters is what's inside, so after this advice, Poseidon starts "loosening up a bit" by taking off his wig, removing his neck clip, begones his perfect shiny teeth and dentures and taking off his chest plate and girdle.
When he realizes how free he feels like that, he salutes SpongeBob for having the courage to stand up against a powerful king, and frees Gary and all the snails he previously kidnapped, so SpongeBob has the idea to turn Bikini Bottom into a sea snail refuge.
The movie ends with a dedication to the original creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg, as the ending of the theme song plays in the background.
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|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Paramount 100th Anniversary Fanfare - Michael Giacchino [Paramount Animation logo]
‣ Bikini Bottom - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [opening titles/"Here, one can find..."]
 ◦ It's Always Summer in Bikini Bottom - Weezer [SpongeBob and Gary's daily routine]
‣ Opening Time - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["Get movin', Sailor!"]
‣ A Diabolical Plan - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["Not Mr. Krabs."]
‣ You’ve Got One Now - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [SpongeBob cleans up in Krusty Krab]
‣ The Secret Formula Is Mine - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Plankton recognizes the secret formula]
‣ The Royal Poseidon - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [It's like a Baby's Butt.]
‣ Gary’s Missing - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [How Spongebob Met Gary]
◦ Things Go Better With Friends - Tim Hill [Patrick trying to motivate SpongeBob; Got entirely cut from the movie]
◦ Slow Ride - David Peverett ["Beep, beep"]
‣ Roadtrip - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["One of those buddy comedies."]
◦ On the Road Again (song) - Willie Nelson ["Come on, Guys"]
‣ Goner Gulch - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["This must be a Dream."]
◦ Dream Weaver - Gary Wright ["And I am the Dream Weaver"]
◦ El Diablo (song) - Tim Hill and Steve Mazzaro ["Ah, El Diablo the Wicked approaches."]
◦ How We Do - Tim Hill, Snoop Dogg, Ali Dee, Alex Geringas [Zombie Dance Party]
‣ El Diablo - Tim Hill, Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Its's not a dream!!!/Whirlwind El Diablo chases SpongeBob and Patrick]
◦ Livin' La Vida Loca - Desmond Child, Robi Rosa [SpongeBob and Patrick riding amusement park rides and gambling in casinos]
◦ Aka Waka Maka Mia - Tim Hill ["Well, let's have it. Perform please!"]
‣ His Name is Fred - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [You renamed Gary?!]
‣ Sandy's Arrival - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Sandy arriving at Spongebob's House]
‣ Where is He? - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [We need Spongebob back.]
◦ Gary's Song (Sponge on the Run) - Kenny G, Stew, Heidi Rodewald ["It's a fun-filled family event, with opening act, Kelpy G"]
‣ To the Patty Mobile - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [We embark imedditly!]
‣ ? - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [SpongeBob and Patrick in the dungeon]
◦ Hey Pachuco! - James Achor, David Mando Dorame, Edwin Nichols
‣ Storming The Last City - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [No time to lose!]
◦ Tijuana Taxi - Ervan F. Coleman
◦ My Heart Will Go On - Kenny G, James Horner, Will Jennings [The execution]
‣ ? - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Chancellor's speech]
‣ ? - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [SpongeBob arrives in Camp Coral]
‣ The Defense - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Patrick's flashback]
◦ Flight of the Bumblebee - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov [Performance of Larry at Camp Coral talent show]
• Aka Waka Maka Mia - Tim Hill [Performance of SpongeBob and Patrick at Camp Coral talent show]
◦ My Heart Will Go On - Kenny G, James Horner, Will Jennings [Performance of Squidward at Camp Coral talent show]
‣ ? - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Squidward's bad clarinet playing]
‣ The Campy Award - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["I was robbed. And never to play the clarinet again."]
‣ The Secret to the Formula - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [Mr. Krabs' speech]
• Secret to the Formula - Tim Hill, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman ["Maestro?"]
‣ After Them! - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro ["Seize them!"]
‣ Friends like These - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [The Courage Inside You...]
‣ You’ve Got One Now - Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro [A reconciliation with Poseidon]
◦ Take on Me - Weezer ["And free the snails!"]
◦ SpongeBob SquarePants Theme Song - Stephen Hillenburg, Derek Drymon ["In Memory of Stephen Hillenburg"]
• Agua - J Balvin, Tainy, Jhay Cortez, Alejandro Ramírez, Kevyn Mauricio Cruz Moreno, Juan Camilo Vargas, Alejandro Borrero, Ivanni Rodriguez [Closing credits — part 1]
• Krabby Step - Michael Stevenson, Khalif Brown, Lathan Moses Stanley Echols, Donny Flores, Marcos Masis, Albert Menendez, Alejandro Borrero, Pablo Batista, Robert Alexander White [Closing credits — part 2]
• Snail: I'm Avail - The Flaming Lips [Closing credits — part 3]
◦ Gary's Song (Sponge on the Run) - Kenny G, Stew, Heidi Rodewald [Closing credits — part 4]
- This movie is available on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run DVD and Blu-ray, The SpongeBob 3-Movie Collection and The SpongeBob 3-Movie Collection Blu-ray DVDs.
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." In another interview, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore remarked, "Hopefully, it won't take 10 years to make another film." 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.
On August 3, 2015, in a tweet by Vincent Waller, it was confirmed that the sequel is in pre-production, and that Paul Tibbitt will be directing it. It was later revealed that Tim Hill would be directing the movie with Tibbitt leaving the project. Waller suggested the release date of the film "should be in 2018" but may "land in 2017." He also revealed that the crew working on the series would not necessarily be working on the movie. This enables the series to be produced in tandem with the movie.
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. Vincent Waller noted that CG is the expense. CG was ultimately chosen as the animation for this movie years later in 2018.
Ruben Hickman helped out with preliminary developments of the movie, with the same group of producers being present - Cale Boyter, Mary Parent, and Craig Sost. However, they only worked on earlier versions of the movie. Kristen Caplan was the production manager of the movie  before being replaced by Mark Fitzgerald and Gabrielle Miles Hill. Furthermore, Zeus Cervas was brought in to help with the movie storyboards. 
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. On April 25, 2018, the movie received another title of The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge.
In early 2018, Andrew Overtoom, Head of Character Animation, and Rachel Tiep Daniels, made the SpongeBob model in Maya at Mikros in Montreal based on early model sheets and episodes of the 1st season. Tim Hill said that the CG was hard to get and sometimes the SpongeBob character model would get distorted. Hill said that the plot of SpongeBob finding Gary in a movie is something that Hillenburg thought would be a good premise for a movie.
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.
It was announced that the movie was 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.
On January 22, 2019, it was confirmed principal photography had begun. 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. Lori Alan's lines were recorded but were cut from the final version of the film.
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.
At San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019, an exclusive poster was revealed.
On November 14, 2019, the trailer was released in the United States.
On December 7, 2019, the sneak-peek was released.
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 January 28, 2021, it was announced on their official Facebook that the movie would be released on March 4, 2021 in the United Sates.
- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants/Gary the Snail
- Antonio Raul Corbo as young SpongeBob
- Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star
- Jack Gore as young Patrick
- Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles
- Jason Maybaum as young Squidward
- Clancy Brown as Eugene H. Krabs
- Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks
- Presley Williams as young Sandy
- Doug Lawrence as Sheldon J. Plankton
- Jill Talley as Karen Plankton
- Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Puff
- Matt Berry as King Poseidon
- Tim Hill as Documentary narrator
- Awkwafina as Otto
- Keanu Reeves as Sage
- Snoop Dogg as The Gambler
- Danny Trejo as El Diablo
- Tiffany Haddish as Tiffany Haddock
- Reggie Watts as Chancellor
- Dee Bradley Baker as Perch Perkins
- Rick Pasqualone as Dealer
- Tyler Peterson as Poseidon Concierge
- Aaron Smith De Niro as Security Guard
- Veronica Alicino, Robert Ambrose, Michael Froton, Noel Bajandas, Bong Buno, Karen Chuang, Eric Dawkins, Comfort Fedoke, Yusuf Nasir, Ryan Ramirez, Marie Spieldenner, Larsen Thompson, Jaymz Tuaileva and Tom Sheeter as Flesh-eating cowboy pirate zombies
The "Atlantis" storyline is the first pitch made for the movie, pitched as a hybrid live-action/animated movie by Stephen Hillenburg and Paul Tibbitt after the release of the second SpongeBob movie, it was rejected by Paramount, fearing that the movie would underperform at the box office due to being set in Atlantis. Another reason of the pitch being cancelled was also due that the "studio changed directors."
According to two Reddit posts made on November 2019, the pitch would have been about Gary being kidnapped and taken to Atlantis in order to be cloned while SpongeBob would have to save him. King Neptune would have appeared in this movie and would have been played by David Bowie. A picture attached to the post showed the planned scenery for this movie.
Paul Tibbitt confirmed the existence of this pitch and added that the third act taking place in Atlantis would have featured human actors while the paintings were meant for live-action sets. He also clarified that David Bowie was never involved in this movie.
Two concept art made by Jared Krichevsky and revealed on October 2020, showcase the original design for King Neptune and his minions and that King Neptune would have originally being portrayed by actor Will Ferrell. More concept art were later revealed by Ruben Hickman.
"Alien Cat" storyline
The "Alien Cat" storyline is the second pitch created by Paul Tibbitt  and Kyle McCulloch  and written by Michael Kvamme, Jordan Dunn, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.  Unlike the first pitch or the final version of the movie, this storyline is more "Science-fiction" inspired. This version started development around summer 2015 and ended on July 2017. New Deal Studios was supposed to work on the visual effects of the movie.
The main antagonists were an army of anthropomorphic cats wearing red mech-suits, lead by a character named Twinkles. This army was comprised of many spaceships such as battlecruiser, troop carriers and spacecrafts named "Catsaucer". Their homeworld was composed of giant scratching posts and furniture such as an oversized piano. Some concept art also showcase an giant cat called Galcatacus, an ancient god that can use his paws to destroy everything around him. He can be seen in an storyboard where he is lured by SpongeBob and Gary through a black hole and in a flashback scene where he's destroying Gary's homeworld.
According to concept art and storyboards made by Andy Gaskill, Kristina Vardazaryan, Ruben Hickman, Steven E. Gordon, Wolf-Rüdiger Bloss, David Stephan and Shellie O'Brien. Gary was kidnapped by the cats bent on using him to free Galcatacus and turn Earth into a giant litter box, leading SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward and Sandy to rescue Gary and save Earth. Throughout the story, they would have visited different worlds. One of them was a futuristic-like world inhabited by dolphins. Storyboards showcase that at one point, they were supposed to sneak into Bubbles' spaceship. Another world that the group would have visited was an hell-inspired world where a purple character named Mortius and a woman called Sarcoma live. According to two storyboards, the group would also have returned to the surface. There, they would have met human versions of SpongeBob and Patrick during a fight with the cats.
Other concept art showcase a flashback scene where Gary was the prince from a world inhabited by snails. During an attack by the cats and Galcatacus, Gary was evacuated through an escape pod thanks to his parents. During his escape, the capsule would have collided with the collar of Galcatacus, seemingly paralysing him in the process. After escaping his homeworld, Gary's escape pod would eventually arrive to Earth before diving into the ocean near the Bikini Atoll island.
According to a few storyboards, two subplots were planned. One would have involved the president of the United States named Johnson (portrayed by Nicolas Cage), his pet tiger Fluffy, a general called Tallenback (portrayed by Jeff Goldblum) and an animal trainer named Terry trying to repel the Alien Cats' invasion. The other one would have followed Mr. Krabs disguised as SpongeBob opening a "favor truck" where he sell favors and compliments to the Bikini Bottomites. According to a poster, David Hasselhoff was also planned to return in this movie.
When asked on Twitter about the storyboards, Vincent Waller wrote "I believe that was a first pass at the story, but the entire alien cat storyline was later tossed out and rewritten." However, according to an interview with Tim Hill about the movie, the reason why this storyline was scrapped was because "the previous script was a bit too far-fetched." And that "Steve was always a fan of grounded, relatable and simple stories."
Unknown third storyline
Not much is known about this third scrapped storyline aside from the fact that it was the final pitch made by Paul Tibbitt and that the final plot of Sponge on the Run was based on this pitch.
- The Blu-ray release includes deleted scenes. One of the original opening scenes (watchable here) featured Pearl Krabs rollerskating around the house while Mr. Krabs counts money. In the final cut, this scene was shortened to only include Mr. Krabs counting money.
- This is Paramount's first movie where their opening logo is cel-shaded.
- The release of this movie marks the second time a Nickelodeon series has received a trilogy of theatrical films after the Rugrats.
- This is the first piece of SpongeBob media to be released digitally in the 4K UHD HDR format.
- This is the third SpongeBob SquarePants production that involves full CGI sequences, the first being The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and the second being "Karen's Virus." This is the second SpongeBob movie to do so.
- However, unlike the second movie, this movie is mostly CGI-animated, though having a live-action scene, whereas Sponge Out Of Water was mostly 2D animated and usually had CGI models in live-action environments.
- This is the first time Frank Weiss has worked on SpongeBob since "I Had an Accident" in 2003
- This is also the first SpongeBob project Aaron Springer has worked on since "Hello Bikini Bottom!" in 2012.
- This is also the first SpongeBob project Tim Hill has worked on since "Friend or Foe" in 2007.
- This is also the first SpongeBob project William Reiss has worked on since "Truth or Square" in 2009.
- This is also the first SpongeBob project Mark O'Hare has worked on since "The Sponge Who Could Fly" in 2003.
- This is also the first SpongeBob project Zeus Cervas has worked on since "Squirrel Jelly" in 2018.
- This is also the first SpongeBob project Chris Reccardi has worked on since The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in 2015, although this was his very last SpongeBob project as he passed away in 2019.
- The title for this movie is the name of a mobile game based on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, the previous SpongeBob SquarePants movie. There is also a book of the same name.
- 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.
- Karen's voice is also slightly warped to more resemble a robotic tone.
- One of the robots in Plankton's lab is from the episode "Plankton's Army" sitting next to his robot chef he once put SpongeBob's brain in.
- Some pictures on Plankton's Wall of Failure shows pictures of his schemes from previous episodes in the series, like "Culture Shock", "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", "Imitation Krabs", "The Algae's Always Greener", "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie", "Krabs vs. Plankton", "Enemy In-Law", "Gramma's Secret Recipe and one picture of Plankton in a can of tuna referencing the episode "Hooky".
- 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.
- Irony: Since the prison cells were unlocked, SpongeBob and Patrick could've escaped very easily, and taken their argument on the way.
- 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 was later confirmed by Tim Hill that the story was indeed, inspired by this episode as "Stephen wanted to springboard off of that idea for the movie,".
- 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 marks the third time Squidward has said the line "Another day, another migraine," the first two being in "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler" and The SpongeBob Musical.
- 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.
- This is the first movie from SpongeBob to mention social media, to be specific, Skype and FaceTime.
- King Poseidon's tattooist has the date May 1, 199(9) tattooed on his arm, which is the date SpongeBob SquarePants premiered on television.
- In most episodes that flashback to SpongeBob as a kid, his voice sounds similar to his modern adult one if never done with a somewhat higher pitch. However, in this film, he has a realistic-sounding childish 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 young in "Have You Seen This Snail?" and "Treats!," however, this film reveals that he met him at Camp Coral. It was later explained that SpongeBob adopted Gary when he got older.
- 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.
- According to the website FlixPatrol, the movie got Top 1 on Netflix worldwide.
- 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.
- On the bottom of the "Lost Pet" promotional poster, there is a Number, (707) 663-GARY, If called, a custom recording of SpongeBob plays informing that the recipient has reached "The Find Gary Hotline." Spongebob then manages to find the button to make a beep but fails, and ends up making a beep himself, ending the recording.
- 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 Sage 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.
- 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 was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date eventually got pushed to March 2021.
- However, it already got released outside of the United States
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the third animated film to be released straight to digital/home media instead of having a theatrical release in the United States; the first two being Warner Bros.' Scoob! (which would eventually get a theatrical release in the said country one year later) and Disney/Pixar's Soul.
- This is the first SpongeBob film to have an original music score composed by two composers instead of just one.
- This movie has been delayed more times than the previous 2 SpongeBob movies.
- During Squidward's flashback at the camp's talent show, Sandy is seen juggling chainsaws, a feat she previously performed in "Squirrel Record".
- 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 second time SpongeBob keeps a lot of snails in his house after "Sanctuary!".
- 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.
- This is the second SpongeBob project to commemorate the death of creator Stephen Hillenburg (who passed away two years before this movie premiered). The first project was "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout."
- This film ending, the tribute reads "In Memory of Stephen Hillenburg," with a SpongeBoy drawing (an early version of colorized SpongeBob) above it. During this scene, the end part of the SpongeBob theme song plays before transitioning to "Agua", the soundtrack in the credits.
- Only in the Dutch dub, the theme song was replaced with the Dutch theme song. All other dubs so far remain the English one.
- This film ending, the tribute reads "In Memory of Stephen Hillenburg," with a SpongeBoy drawing (an early version of colorized SpongeBob) above it. During this scene, the end part of the SpongeBob theme song plays before transitioning to "Agua", the soundtrack in the credits.
- This movie is to be released on Netflix in Ireland as the first ever Irish language version of a movie to appear on the platform.
- In one scene at The Krusty Krab, if one can see closely, there is a "SpongeBoy" sketch near the cashier window.
- The scene where young Sandy imagines that she is a scientist is made by the studio "Screen Novelties".
- 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.
- When Mr. Krabs commands SpongeBob to clean the kitchen, a picture of SpongeBoy is seen below the order window.
- 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. The second version was used in the final film.
- 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. The first version was used in the final film.
- 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.
- This is the only SpongeBob movie where "SpongeBob Theme" does not play, if one doesn't count snippets from the song in "Agua".
- In the following Nickelodeon movies, the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies openings are used:
- The Loud House Movie
- Paw Patrol: The Movie
- The movie's previous title was It's a Wonderful Sponge, a parody of the Christmas film It's a Wonderful Life.
- The movie's final title Sponge on the Run could be a parody of the song Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings.
- Atlantic City is based on the real Atlantic City in New Jersey and Las Vegas, which are both famous because of the casinos, hotels, attractions, and shops founded there.
- The storyline of Sheldon J. Plankton and Eugene H. Krabs' subplot has the same plot of Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Krabs takes on the Capulets' role and Plankton takes on the Montagues' role. There was a big feud for the two rivals, but during the climax, they redeemed themselves by deciding to end their rivalry with each other.
- The dancing zombies during the Snoop Dogg musical number pay homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller music video.
- Sage relates the Window of Meanwhile to a video on demand service.
- While in Poseidon's palace, SpongeBob and Patrick crash into the Blue Fin Group, a parody of the musical group Blue Man Group.
- The song that Kelpy G plays at the execution is the cover of My Heart Will Go On from the movie Titanic, performed by Kenny G.
- The beginning of the song Slow Ride by Foghat plays when Otto drives with Plankton to SpongeBob's house.
- The song that plays when Otto driving away when SpongeBob and Patrick try to get in the boat is On the Road Again by Willie Nelson.
- The song that plays when Sage describes himself as the Dream Weaver is the self-titled song called Dream Weaver by Gary Wright.
- The song that plays when SpongeBob and Patrick lose focus and have fun in the Lost City of Atlantic City is Livin' la Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. SpongeBob and Patrick sing along to it in some parts of the sequence.
- When Squidward tries to walk in the armor while protecting from anchovy guards, he performs a spider-walk from The Exorcist.
- The book "The Little Griddle Who Could" is a parody of The Little Engine That Could.
- When Mr. Krabs finds out about SpongeBob and Patrick's upcoming execution on the news, he asks "Whatever happened to habeas swordfish"? Habeas swordfish is a play on words of a right known as "habeas corpus", in which a prisoner should be put on trial and for the court to make a decision in which the prisoner should be executed or not.
- When SpongeBob and Patrick are walking out of SpongeBob's house laughing, SpongeBob is seen without any pores for a split second.
- When SpongeBob and Patrick were in the prison, when SpongeBob blinked when laying on his side, eyelashes were still visible on one eye.
- SpongeBob's hole pattern either shifts or has missing holes throughout the movie.
- Plankton's evil plan blueprint shows the number 3,084 but he says it's evil plan #3,087.
- Sandy's flower switches from right to left at times.
- Patrick's eyebrows frequently disappear. For example, they are missing when he says "Those laws should be broken."
- Sandy's flashback of meeting SpongeBob is inaccurate, "Tea at the Treedome" already explained us how she met him.
- Squidward's flashback of meeting SpongeBob is also inaccurate, "Truth or Square" already explained us how he met him.
- A similar situation is with Mr. Krabs' flashback, where young SpongeBob advised him to open his own restaurant; in "Truth or Square", it is revealed that Krusty Krab existed before SpongeBob was born.
- During the scene where the characters are in the knight costume, several errors are there:
- When the characters leave Squidward in the knight costume, it is not shown how they left or were kicked out.
- Spongebob is seen rotating Patrick to control the knight's sword, yet later he's there alone.
- When Mr. Krabs says "Shouldn't have stayed there with Squidward?" None of the characters' bodies are seen, despite the space between legs being open.
- Patrick also appears out of nowhere.
- When Poseidon reveals his true self, he throws his jaw into Squidward's mouth. Later, it mysteriously appears.
- When SpongeBob says "But, I just wanna find Gary and take him home", his belt is brown instead of black.
- When SpongeBob rolls the dice in his mouth and Patrick says "Come on, Seven!", they get 4 and 2, which makes 6 even when the fish says "Lucky 7, Winner!" But in the scene, it changed to 5 instead of 4.