Thursday, August 13, 2020

Netflix Acquires ‘SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run’ International Rights From ViacomCBS

Netflix has acquired the international distribution rights for the latest SpongeBob film, insiders familiar with the deal have told Variety.

The streaming giant picked up the foreign rights for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the twice-delayed Paramount Animation title from Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures. The film is one of many theatrical releases thwarted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic this year.

The deal excludes China, where Netflix has no presence, one source said. Paramount also has plans to release the film in Canada at some point, added another individual, after which Netflix will stream the film in that territory.

Representatives for Netflix and Viacom had no immediate comment.

The international release date for the third film in the SpongeBob franchise is not set, but Netflix is not beholden to the 2021 domestic debut before offering the film to its customers abroad.

Paramount announced in late June that Sponge on the Run would forgo theaters entirely and debut as a paid VOD title in early 2021, before heading to its sister streaming service CBS All Access as a home entertainment exclusive.

While the film’s budget is unknown, the animation hybrid’s latest installment cost roughly $60 million. MRC co-financed the project. Between the Netflix and CBS All Access deals, Paramount has been made whole on the cost of the project, said sources.

The acquisition is one of several recent transactions between Netflix and Paramount, including the shuttling of films like Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae’s Lovebirds, Aaron Sorkin’s Trial of the Chicago 7, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.

Update (8/13) - Netflix has added placeholder pages for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run to its international platforms, including in the UK! Netflix are billing the movie as a "Netflix Original":

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run follows SpongeBob SquarePants, his best friend Patrick Star and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event. After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, 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.

Directed by Tim Hill, voice cast of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run includes Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, and Douglas Lawrence, and guest stars including Keanu Reeves (as a tumbleweed named Sage), Awkwafina, Reggie Watts and Snoop Dog.

Its the third SpongeBob film, after 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and 2015’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Those movies were commercially successful, earning over $450 million globally combined.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Announces Voice Cast for 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years', First-Ever 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Spinoff!

Originally published: 7/16 at 02:45 BST
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