Here’s some news that might unsettle even Spongebob. The buoyant sponge’s third theatrical outing, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, may not make its August 7 theatrical release date. It may not reach theaters at all.
After ViacomCBS — the parent company of Sponge on the Run producer-distributor Paramount and producer Nickelodeon — reported its first-quarter earnings, its CEO Bob Bakish cast doubt on the film’s scheduled release in yesterday’s call to investors:
With respect to movies, yes, we moved them later. We thought that was the right thing to do to preserve asset value. We obviously look at the market and look at what it will be at a point in time, and we’ll make a decision if there’s sufficient critical mass of screens if you will, theaters to warrant opening a film.
Our first film on the schedule is Spongebob at the beginning of August — I think it’s August 7. So it’s too far out to call if that’s definitely going to be released or it’s definitely not going to be released. We hope it will release, but we will continue to look at and make the right decision in terms of the return on those assets because we got great films.
The feature has already played a good round of release-schedule musical chairs: its date has been changed twice since the coronavirus outbreak, and six times altogether. A large-scale reopening of theaters remains a distant prospect — only a handful of tentpole features, including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (July 17) and Disney’s Mulan remake (July 24), are currently set to open before August 7.