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This is the page about the movie. For other uses, see The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (disambiguation).

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[10], set for release on August 7, 2020.[11]



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.[12]

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.



You think i'm special! "You think I'm special!"

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In 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."[13] In another interview, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore remarked, "Hopefully, it won't take 10 years to make another film."[14] 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.[15]

On August 3, 2015, in a tweet by Vincent Waller, it was confirmed that the sequel is in pre-production,[16] and that Paul Tibbitt will be directing it.[17] It was later revealed that Tim Hill would be directing the movie[18] with Tibbitt leaving the project.[19] Waller suggested the release date of the film "should be in 2018" but may "land in 2017."[20] He also revealed that the crew working on the series would not necessarily be working on the movie.[21][22] This enables the series to be produced in tandem with the movie.[23]

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.[24] Vincent Waller noted that CG is the expense.[25] 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.[26] Kristen Caplan is the production manager of the movie.[27] Furthermore, Zeus Cervas was brought in to help with the movie storyboards.[28]

As of March 2017, animatics for the film had already been completed.[29]

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.[30][31][32] On April 25, 2018, the movie received another title of The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge.[33]

On January 22, 2018, it was confirmed principal photography had begun.[34] Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett, and Lori Alan are expected to reprise their roles.[35]

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.[36]

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.[36]
Iaws poster 1

On February 2, 2019, the release date of the movie was moved forward to May 22, 2020.[7]

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.[37]

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.[38]

At San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019, an SDCC 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.[39]

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

On December 7, 2019, the sneak peek was aired during "The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!" on Nickelodeon.

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 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[40]

On April 14, 2020, the release date of the movie was delayed to August 7, 2020.[41]

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."[42][43] The storyboards was revealed in January 2019.

Sleepy Time 052
"I can turn into a skyscraper!"
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It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 1

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 1

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 2

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 2

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 3

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 3

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 4

It's a Wonderful Sponge Deleted Scene 4



  • The release of this movie will mark the second time a Nickelodeon series will receive a trilogy of theatrically released films after the Rugrats film trilogy.
  • This was originally going to be the first SpongeBob SquarePants film to be shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, but this will not be used as well, and it will instead used to be shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and/or known as 4:9 aspect ratio.
  • This will be the third SpongeBob SquarePants production that involves CGI, the first being The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and the second being "Karen's Virus." Although, this is the second SpongeBob movie to do so.
    • However, unlike the second movie, this movie seems to be mostly CGI-animated, though having live-action scenes, whereas Sponge Out Of Water 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.
  • 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.
  • Gary will play 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?"
  • This will be the first entry in the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's death.
  • This is the first time the characters go to a land-locked place in the surface world, instead of on a beach.
  • Technically, this is the first animated theatrical Nickelodeon film to be based on an animated series since the second SpongeBob movie from 2015, as Dora and the Lost City of Gold is live-action and based on a Nick Jr. series, Dora the Explorer, and Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie was a television film.
  • 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.
  • This movie's pre-production was confirmed by Vincent Waller eight years after "Blackened Sponge" and "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob" premiered and two years after "Squidtastic Voyage" premiered in Poland.
  • The trailer was released 10 years after "Truth or Square" premiered in Poland, seven years after SpongeBob Comics No. 14 was released, six years after SpongeBob Marbles & Slides was updated for the 11th time and "Little Yellow Book" and "Bumper to Bumper" premiered in Eastern Europe, four years after "The Executive Treatment" premiered in Russia and "Krabby Road" premiered in Wales (UK), and one year after "The Incredible Shrinking Sponge" and "Sportz?" premiered in the UK and Ireland.
  • One of the "lost pet" posters in the promotional material lists "Garebare" 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 continuity error: 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, which is a number that exists in real life. 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.
    • 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 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."
  • In the first trailer, SpongeBob finds green slime in Gary's playpen, but in the second trailer, it is blue instead.
    • 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.

Cultural references

  • The movie's previous title was It's a Wonderful Sponge, a parody of the Christmas film It's a Wonderful Life.
  • The "Kick Me" Poster has the Words "They're Not in Bikini Bottom Anymore" which may be a reference to a quote from the 1939 Movie The Wizard of Oz, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
  • Atlantic City is based on the real Atlantic City in New Jersey, which is also famous because of its casinos.








Book covers



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  7. ^ a b c d 'The SpongeBob Movie' Moves To May 2020 For Paramount (February 2, 2019). Retrieved on March 28, 2019.
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  13. ^ ‘SpongeBob’ Soaks Up $55 Million to Swamp ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ ‘Seventh Son’ at Box Office. (February 8, 2015).
  14. ^ Box Office: 'SpongeBob' Capsizes 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son' With $56M. The Hollywood Reporter (February 8, 2015).
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