Paramount Canada made a surprise announcement this morning that The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run will open in theaters across Canada on August 14.
The release date is a significant departure from the plans for its release in the U.S., where ViacomCBS has announced that the film won’t be released until early 2021, and even then, only on premium video on demand. After its PVOD window, the film will be available on ViacomCBS’s CBS All Access streaming service.
Netflix has picked up international rights to the Paramount Animation-produced film, and will release in all territories it operates excluding the United States. The streamer had previously indicated that it would also make the feature available in Canada after its theatrical run by Paramount Canada.
Sponge on the Run may, in fact, become available in most countries before the end of the year, since Netflix’s deal does not oblige them to wait until the U.S. release before making the film available on their service.
For now, it’ll be interesting to watch how the film performs theatrically in Canada, which will be one of the movie’s rare bigscreen releases. While there are signs that moviegoing is returning to normal in some European countries, the situation in North America remains fragile, and though Canada is a few steps ahead of the U.S., many people here (myself included) don’t plan on entering a movie theater anytime soon. In a Cartoon Brew poll of 850 participants last month, nearly 80% of readers said they would not feel comfortable going to see a movie at the theater this summer.