Netflix has landed the international rights to distribute the upcoming Paramount animation The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
The streaming service will control the release of the movie in most territories outside of the USA, excluding Canada and China.
It had originally been set to debut in cinemas in May, before the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay in its arrival.
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In the States, the movie has been earmarked to debut on premium VOD in the early part of 2021 before heading to Paramount’s sister streamer CBS All Access.
According to Variety, Netflix is “not beholden to the 2021 domestic debut before offering the film to its customers abroad”.
Sponge on the Run is the latest Paramount movie to be acquired by Netflix, following Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae romcom The Lovebirds, which debuted on the platform earlier this year.
The streamer also recently bought the rights to Paramount’s awards season hopeful The Trial of the Chicago 7, directed by Aaron Sorkin.
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In the USA, Sponge on the Run is becoming the latest movie to embrace the PVOD model, which has been used for several animated blockbusters since the pandemic caused cinemas to close.
Universal released Trolls World Tour online to great success in April and Warner Bros followed suit with Scoob! — their new take on the Scooby-Doo franchise.
Sponge on the Run will be the first fully CGI-animated SpongeBob film, following its predecessor — 2015’s Sponge Out of Water — using a combination of the cartoon’s traditional 2D style and computer animation.
The film follows SpongeBob and his friend Patrick on a journey to rescue pet snail Gary after he is kidnapped by Poseidon.
A trailer for the movie caused a stir last year when it teased a bizarre cameo from Keanu Reeves as a tumbleweed made of sage.
As well as the regular voice cast of the animated show, Sponge on the Run will also feature Matt Berry, Awkwafina and Snoop Dogg.