The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
The SpongeBob Movie Sponge Out of Water teaser poster.jpg
Teaser poster
Directed by Paul Tibbitt
Produced by
Written by Jonathan Aibel
Glenn Berger
Story by
Based on SpongeBob SquarePants 
by Stephen Hillenburg
Music by John Debney[4]
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • February 6, 2015 (2015-02-06)[5]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $66 million[6]

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is an upcoming 2015 American 3D live-action/animated comedy film based on the Nickelodeon television series SpongeBob SquarePants created by Stephen Hillenburg. The film is a sequel to the 2004 animated film The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and is directed by the show writer and executive producer Paul Tibbitt, and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The movie stars the regular television cast (Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence and Mr. Lawrence), who are returning to reprise their respective roles from the series and the previous film,[7] with guest appearances by Antonio Banderas and Slash.[8][9] The film is produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Animation, and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

The film will feature live action scenes directed by Mike Mitchell. Shot on various locations in Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island, filming began on October 9, 2013 in the downtown area, where various establishments were changed to resemble a beach community. Filming completed in November 2013. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is scheduled to be released in theaters on February 6, 2015.


Burger Beard is a pirate who is in search of the final page of a magical book that makes any evil plan he writes in it come true, which happens to be the Krabby Patty secret formula. When the entire city of Bikini Bottom is put in danger, SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Sandy, and Plankton need to go on a quest that takes them to the surface. In order to get back the recipe and save their city, the gang must retrieve the book and transform themselves into superheroes.[10]




Following the release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004, producer Julia Pistor stated that a sequel film is unlikely, despite the film's successful box office performance.[13] In a 2009 interview with Digital Spy, SpongeBob SquarePants writer and executive producer Paul Tibbitt was asked about the possibility of a sequel.[14] He said, "I think that they are talking about doing that, but I haven't signed up for anything. We just feel like we've told so many stories, and SpongeBob exists so well in this short 11-minute form."[14] He further stated that making another film "is a huge challenge."[14] However, Tibbitt denied that a sequel is not impossible to emerge, saying "I wouldn't say no, but I don't know if there will be another one."[14] In 2010, Nickelodeon reportedly had been approaching the crews of the show to make another film adaptation.[15] The network had long wanted to partner with Paramount Pictures to release another SpongeBob SquarePants film to help reinvigorate the series from its declining ratings.[16] However, internal disagreement delayed collaborations.[16][15]

On March 4, 2011, in an article by the Los Angeles Times, it was first reported that Paramount had "another SpongeBob picture" in development.[17] Several months later, in July, Paramount formed its new animation unit, Paramount Animation, in the wake of commercial and critical success of the 2011 computer-animated film Rango, and the departure of DreamWorks Animation upon completion of their distribution contract in 2012.[18] Philippe Dauman, the president and CEO of Paramount's parent company Viacom, officially announced on February 28, 2012 that a sequel film was in development and slated for an unspecified 2014 release, saying that "We will be releasing a SpongeBob movie at the end of 2014."[19][20][21] Dauman added that the film "will serve to start off or be one of our films that starts off our new animation effort."[19] Nickelodeon expected the film to do much better in foreign box office than the 2004 feature, given its increasingly global reach.[16][22] Dauman said, "This will continue to propel SpongeBob internationally."[16]

The film is titled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which was announced on June 10, 2014.[23] The film's title had been changed a few times, going over working titles such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2,[2] SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2,[24] and SpongeBob SquarePants 2.[7] Series creative director Vincent Waller said, on the changes, "There is no official title yet."[25] The film's executive producer is series creator Stephen Hillenburg, who departed from the show as its showrunner in 2004 following the release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. He no longer writes or runs the show on a day-to-day basis, but reviews each episode and delivers suggestions.[26][27] However, in a 2012 interview with Thomas F. Wilson, Hillenburg stated that he is helping in writing the film.[28] Tibbitt later revealed on Twitter in late 2013 that "Steve [Hillenburg] and I wrote the new movie together and he has been in the studio everyday working with us."[3] Production on the film is expected to finish by November 2014.[29]


The regular series main cast members were reportedly returning to reprise their roles from the series and the previous 2004 film.[7] The film stars Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs, Mr. Lawrence as Plankton, and Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks.[7] In August 2013, casting directors from Marty Siu Casting began casting calls for the background extras for the live action scenes.[30][31] On September 21, 2013, it was reported that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas had been cast for a live action role as Burger-Beard the pirate.[8][32] Banderas will also voice the character in the animated segments of the film.[33]


Style guide depicting the main characters, with the film's working title logo in the upper left corner.

Animation for the film is handled overseas by Rough Draft Studios in South Korea.[34] Vincent Waller said, "We're getting animation back that is looking terrific."[35] The sequel is a combination of traditional animation and live action as its predecessor was,[36][37] and also used computer-generated imagery (CGI) to render the characters in 3D.[23][38] Sherm Cohen, who worked as a character designer and the lead storyboard artist of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and left the show in 2005, returned to work on the sequel film.[39] Series animation directors Tom Yasumi and Alan Smart worked on the film's exposure sheets.[40] Most of the character layout crew of the film are from the series.[41]

In a preview of upcoming Paramount films held in 2012, it first exhibited the film as a "3D feature film" with "CGI-like animation".[42] Following the release of the SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue, a 3D short film released in early 2013 at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando, executives also talked of perpetuating the 3D stereoscopy in the film.[43] Director Tibbitt was asked on Twitter concerning what animation technique the film would have, and responded, "I don't wanna spoil anything but it is mostly 2D."[44]

In March 2014, Paramount screened live-action footage from the film during the National Association of Theatre Owners' CinemaCon. News websites report that the film would be CGI-animated,[45] with an Internet Movie Database staff commenting, "When Paramount announced there would be a new SpongeBob SquarePants movie, the assumption was that it would be animated (like all other incarnations of SpongeBob). The very brief footage from tonight's presentation suggested otherwise – it looked as though this was a CGI/live-action hybrid akin to Alvin and the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, The Smurfs, etc."[46] In an article published by, author Edward Douglas wrote: "The CG animation just looks weird".[47] Philippe Duaman said that the CGI elements are intended to "refresh and give another boost" to the characters.[48]


The film features live action scenes directed by Mike Mitchell.[49] Filming began on September 30, 2013 and lasted through November 5, 2013, on various locations in Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island.[50][51][52] The Savannah Film Office first announced that the film would shoot live action scenes in Savannah for 40 days on July 11, 2013.[37] City of Savannah Film Services director Jay Self said "[...] we are very excited to be working with Paramount [Pictures] on this project [...] We know from experience how valuable the investment and exposure generated by a project like this can be for our community."[37][53] Will Hammargren, location specialist for the Savannah Film Office, said the film was expected to contribute $8 million to the city's economy, including booking at least 5,600 hotel room nights.[54][55]

On September 30, 2013, the start of production filming was interrupted when Jay Self was dismissed.[56][57] According to a memorandum from Joe Shearouse, bureau chief of the leisure services department of Savannah, Self was fired for his "failure to properly plan and manage the arrangement for the movie."[56][58] It accused Self of shortcomings surrounding the filming and also cited complaints from local residents of Savannah.[56][58][59][60] Another reported reason for Self's dismissal was a disagreement between Paramount and the Savannah Film Office, about the deal of granting the local businesses to negotiate with Paramount for potential business losses during filming.[61]

The film's live-action scenes were shot on various locations in Savannah, Georgia, including the downtown (top), and in Tybee Island's Pier (bottom).

In preparing the filming location in the downtown, the film crew painted storefronts along Broughton Street to resemble a "beach community" called "Salty Shoals".[54][62][63][64] Jay Self said, "They're trying to make it look like it's right at the seaside."[63] The Jen Library and Trustees Theater, a landmark situated on Broughton Street, of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was converted into a sea museum.[62] Paramount first approached SCAD to utilize the Jen Library for a scene back in August 2013.[65] Once SCAD approved, the studio's art department transformed the buildings in choice for the film.[65] It remained open to students during filming, while the "SCAD" letters atop Trustees remained untouched.[65] Other establishments, like flower shops, convenience stores and coffeehouses, were converted to surfing, fudge and buoy shops, respectively.[66] Self said, "The changes are temporary with all buildings scheduled to be restored to their original colors after filming is complete."[63][67]

Filming began on October 9 in the downtown where parts of the Broughton Street between Montgomery Street and Habersham Street were closed through October 18.[62][68][69] Prior to October 9, residents were given yellow flyers handed out by the production crew to detail the inconveniences of the filming would have on them.[70] Actor Antonio Banderas appeared as a pirate and was filmed on a pirate ship with wheels for a car chase scene.[62][70][71] At one point, a film crew member caused an accident that damaged a downtown building and rushed a woman to the Candler Hospital.[72][73] William Hammargren, with the Savannah Film Services office, said that Paramount was issued a permit to use motorized vehicles within certain areas closed for filming, but the permit did not extend to the lanes.[72]

Filming in the downtown ended on October 18, when a raffle was also held, with City Mayor Edna Jackson announcing the winners.[74] The prizes include: a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed party, bicycles, a vacation at Marshall House, dinner at Savannah Bistro, gift certificates, and a 60-inch television.[74] After filming in the downtown, the production received mixed response from local businesses located in filming areas.[61] A concern raised by business owners was the choice in dates for shooting as October is "a big month for merchants along Broughton."[61] Some merchants suggested February, July, or August as prime filming dates.[61]

Filming for the scenes resumed on October 21 on Tybee Island.[74][75] The producers of the film were permitted to film on Tybee Island after meetings held at the Tybee Island City Hall with businesses and residents that imposed concerns about the possible effects of the filming, and also the apprehensions about sea turtle safety.[76][77] Musician Slash of the band Guns N' Roses was seen on set at the Tybee Pier for filming.[9] The film crew later moved to Strand Avenue for a chase scene with extras on bicycles.[9]


The original score for the film is being composed by John Debney.[4][78]


The film was originally planned for a 2014 release.[19] However, Paramount Pictures announced on August 22, 2013 in an article by The Hollywood Reporter that the film would instead have its official wide release in theaters on February 13, 2015.[7][79][80] On June 5, 2014, the film's release date was moved up one week to February 6, 2015 in order to avoid competition with Universal Pictures' Fifty Shades of Grey, which is set to premiere on the previous date.[5]


In March 2012, in regards to consumer products for the film, Dauman stated, "This will be a Nickelodeon-branded movie. We'll license the toys, but we own it."[16] The film's first teaser poster was released on June 10, 2014, along with the announcement of its new title, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.[23] The poster is a nod to the famous Coppertone sunscreen advertisements from the 1950s, in which a dog is seen pulling the bikini bottom off of a blonde girl.[81][82]

At the San Diego Comic-Con International held on July 25, 2014, Paramount Pictures released the first footage of the film, as part of their presentation at Hall H, with Tom Kenny, SpongeBob's voice actor, hosting the panel.[83] The film's trailer was released on July 31, 2014.[84]


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