Thursday, January 10, 2019

‘The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge’ To Be An Origin Story; 'Luck' to be a Nickelodeon Movie [Updated]

Originally published: Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

Major names in the film and animation world today spoke at the VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy including film composer Hans Zimmer, Mireille Soria, president of Paramount Animation, and Rob Bredow, head of Industrial Light & Magic.

During her talk, Soria revealed previously unannounced details about the upcoming The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge, currently slated for release on July 17, 2020 - the 21st anniversary of the show’s premiere on Nickelodeon.

The film will have a “nice homage to the classic movie,” per its title, inspired by Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, but the bigger story is that it’s an origin tale, which sounds like a fitting way to celebrate the pop culture phenomenon, which turns 20 years old next year.

“For the first time ever, we’re going to the get to the origin of how little SpongeBob met the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang at summer camp,” Soria said during her talk. “The film’s opening will take place at Camp Coral when all of our favorite characters meet for the first time.”

The film is going to offer the first-ever full-CG (characters and environments) version of the universe, and there will also be hybrid sequences with the characters in the live world, which also happened in the previous film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

Mireille Soria speaking at the VIEW Conference. (Photo: Damné Jesús Pérez Irigoyen.)

It’s a Wonderful Sponge will be the first of the SpongeBob SquarePants feature films not to be animated by Rough Draft Korea, the South Korean animation studio that has also worked on the TV show. The CG animation on the movie this time round will be entrusted to Paris and Montreal-based Mikros Image, which has announced the project on their website. The studio is well equipped for cartoony cg animation, having previously produced the animation for Dreamworks’ Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, and currently working on Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, for which the new trailer was shared a few days ago.

Oscar-winning composer (and 11 time nominee) Hans Zimmer is scoring the new SpongeBob film, and providing overall musical direction, which will include songs from big names, to be announced at a late date.

For now, though, it’s fascinating to think that 20 years after the introduction of the character, we’ll finally be seeing the meeting stories of SpongeBob and Patrick, or Squidward, or every other beloved character in the SpongeBob SquarePants universe.

The first film in the series, the 2D The Spongebob SquarePants Movie (2004), grossed $140 million worldwide, and the follow-up, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015), more than doubled that total with $325m worldwide. The upcoming film, directed by show veteran Tim Hill, who developed the series, sounds like a super-cute concept and should continue the winning streak for Paramount’s most successful feature animation franchise.

Soria was also asked by someone in the audience about whether Paramount would make films in different techniques besides CGI. The studio’s current announced slate is all-CG, but Soria didn’t rule out that other techniques would be used in future films.

“The big tentpole movies are our meat and potatoes,” she said. “Those have to reach a broad audience. I don’t think we can do 2d movies, to be honest. I think that’s hard.” However, Soria said that she could envision movies in different techniques that don’t have the same budget as a tentpole-cg feature and don’t have to appeal to the four-quadrant demographic. Acknowledging her openness to different possibilities, she said, “There’s nothing I wouldn’t say no to.”

The studio’s next film is Nickelodeon Movies' Wonder Park, which is set to be released on Friday 15th March 2019. That film has been in the works since at least 2013, and was well into production when Soria joined as president last year.

Other announced films are Monster on the Hill and Luck.

Update (1/10/2019): Hypable is reporting the exciting news that Luck will be a Nickelodeon Movie co-produced by Skydance Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Animation!

The film “pulls back the curtain on the millennia-old battle between the organizations of good luck and bad luck that secretly affects our daily lives.”

Dreamworks veteran Alessandro Carloni (co-director of Kung Fu Panda 3, head of story on first two How to Train Your Dragon films) is directing from a script by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda trilogy, Trolls). The movie's current release date is March 19, 2021.

More Nick: 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' Movie to Feature the Return of the Midnight Society and the Campfire; All-New Original Story!

Original source: Cartoon Brew; H/T: Anime Superhero Forum /@superkeegan9100; Additional sources: Paste, ComicBook, Nerdist.
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