The official trailer and poster have arrived for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. Over twenty years after its premiere on Nickelodeon, the SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon series is still going and now bears two movie spinoffs to its name (2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and 2015's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water). And judging by Sponge Out of Water's $325 million gross at the worldwide box office, Paramount made the right call in getting a third film up and running while the iron, er, sponge is still burning hot.
Originally titled It's a Wonderful Sponge, Sponge on the Run will tie-into the upcoming prequel series Kamp Koral, which revolves around a 10-year old SpongeBob's experiences at summer camp. Kamp Koral attracted controversy this summer, with former SpongeBob showrunner Paul Tibbitt criticizing Nickelodeon for green-lighting the spinoff after creator Stephen Hillenburg's passing a year ago, saying he would've disapproved of it. Regardless, the prequel series continues to move forward, even as Sponge on the Run gets its marketing up and going this week.
Paramount dropped the first trailer for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run online this morning, shortly after unveiling the new poster. You can check both the trailer and one-sheet out in the space below.
So far, the plot for Sponge on the Run seems pretty straightforward: Gary's gone missing, so SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) and his friends go looking for him in The Lost City of Atlantic City. The trailer includes plenty of classic SpongeBob humor, ranging from the antics of his dim-witted starfish pal Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) to a surreal cameo by Keanu Reeves as a wise sagebrush named, well, Sage. Of course, the major difference this time around is that SpongeBob and everything around him is fully computer-animated. This isn't the first time the character's gone CGI, admittedly; Sponge Out of Water's third act also featured CG versions of SpongeBob and his pals as they ventured into the real-world. Nevertheless, Sponge on the Run marks a change of pace for the traditionally 2D franchise.
With longtime SpongeBob Squarepants writer Tim Hill directing and co-writing, it's safe to assume Sponge on the Run will deliver exactly what its target audience (read: kids and adults who still love the frequenly-bizarre animated property) is expecting. The film will hit theaters in late May 2020, where it should thrive as counter-programming to that weekend's big release, Fast & Furious 9. Its only direct competition will come from Scoob!, a CGI animated Scooby-Doo movie that, coincidentally, also explores how its main characters became best friends, like Sponge out of Water does. The pair will release a week apart, though, so there should be enough room for both of them to carve out a decent-sized slice of box office pie.