In a more just timeline, we would’ve all enjoyed The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in theaters this Memorial Day weekend. The joyful innocence of queer icon Mr. Squarepants, his group of Bikini Bottom friends, and the star-studded cast would’ve given us such joy on the dang big screen. Instead, the coronavirus locked us all up in our homes, and the theatrical release was pushed to August. But now, it’s been pushed again — outside of movie theaters in general. Per Variety, Sponge on the Run will now debut as a digital rental in 2021, before moving to streaming on (of all places) CBS All Access.
The move of the film to CBS All Access makes some kind of sense, despite the streaming service not necessarily being seen as a kid-friendly network (or even a “kid heard of” network, to be frank). All of the Nickelodeon SpongeBob Squarepants series catalog will be moving to the network at a similar time of the film’s move, perhaps representing CBS All Access’ (and parent company Viacom’s) desire to be seen more as a kid-friendly network. “We’re incredibly happy to give kids and families a much-deserved lift in any way we can,” said Ramsey Naito, executive VP of Nickelodeon Animation Production and Development. “The PVOD release of the new SpongeBob theatrical and putting all seasons of the TV series on CBS All Access are two of the best ways I can think of to get immersed in the optimism and joy that this terrific character represents.”
But before folks who subscribe to CBS All Access can check out the new movie, there is that “PVOD release” that Naito mentions. Like Trolls World Tour and Scoob! before it, it looks like Sponge on the Run is trying to capture some of that “families stuck at home because of the pandemic lockdown” magic. But Sponge on the Run is an interesting case because, unlike those two movies released smackdab during the middle of it all, Sponge on the Run‘s initially pushed August theatrical release date could still feasibly happen, given the fact that theaters are opening as soon as July. This all means — and I’ve been saying this for years — that SpongeBob Squarepants is more socially responsible than Christopher Nolan.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will move to digital rental spaces in 2021 before streaming on CBS All Access. For more on that streaming service, here’s Some Good News.