List of SpongeBob SquarePants films

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SpongeBob SquarePants films
Logotype created for the 2015 film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
Logotype for the second film
Directed byStephen Hillenburg (1)
Paul Tibbitt (2)
Tim Hill (3)
Produced bySee below
Written bySee below
Based on
SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Stephen Hillenburg
StarringTom Kenny
Bill Fagerbakke
Rodger Bumpass
Clancy Brown
Mr. Lawrence
Jill Talley
Carolyn Lawrence
Mary Jo Catlett
Lori Alan
(See below)
Narrated byTom Kenny (1)
Music bySee below
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
2004, 2015, 2020
Running time
179 minutes (1–2)
CountryUnited States
BudgetTotal (2 films):
$104 million
Box officeTotal (2 films):
$463.6 million

SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series that has been adapted into multiple theatrical films, beginning in 2004 with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The films are distributed and owned by Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of Nickelodeon's parent company ViacomCBS. All films feature the regular television voice cast: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett and Lori Alan.

Plans for a film based on the series began in 2001, when Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures began approaching series creator Stephen Hillenburg for a theatrical feature. He initially refused their offers, but began developing it in 2002 upon completion of the show's third season. Hillenburg directed the film, which was theatrically released in the United States on November 19, 2004 to critical and commercial success. It was originally planned to act as the series finale, but the franchise's success led to the production of more episodes. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, directed by former showrunner Paul Tibbitt, followed in 2015. A third film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, will be directed by former show writer Tim Hill and is scheduled for release on May 22, 2020.


The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)[edit]

In this live-action animated comedy, Plankton's plan is to steal King Neptune's crown and send it to the dangerous Shell City, and then frame Mr. Krabs for the crime. SpongeBob and Patrick must journey to Shell City while facing several perils along the way to retrieve the crown to save Mr. Krabs from Neptune's wrath and Bikini Bottom from Plankton's tyranny.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)[edit]

The plot follows a pirate named Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas), who steals the Krabby Patty secret formula using a magical book that makes any text written upon it come true. After Bikini Bottom turns into an apocalyptic cesspool and the citizens turn against SpongeBob, he must team up with Plankton to find the formula and save Bikini Bottom. Later, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy and Plankton must travel to the surface to confront Burger Beard and get the formula back before Bikini Bottom is completely destroyed.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020)[edit]

A third film is scheduled for release on May 22, 2020.[1] It was initially scheduled for release on February 9, 2019.[2] The film will be directed by Tim Hill, who also wrote the film,[3][4] along with Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, and Michael Kvamme.[5] The show's principal voice actors—Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett and Lori Alan—are expected to reprise their roles.[6] The film will depict how SpongeBob met his friends for the first time at a summer camp. The film will use full CGI animation provided by Mikros Image for underwater sequences.[7] On January 22, 2019, it was confirmed that production on the film had officially begun.[8]

Cast and characters[edit]

Characters Films
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Sponge Out of Water Sponge on the Run
2004 2015 2020
SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny
Gary the Snail
Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke
Squidward Tentacles Rodger Bumpass
Mr. Eugene Krabs Clancy Brown
Sheldon Plankton Mr. Lawrence
Karen Plankton Jill Talley
Sandy Cheeks Carolyn Lawrence
Mrs. Puff Mary Jo Catlett
Pearl Krabs Lori Alan
King Neptune Jeffrey Tambor
Princess Mindy Scarlett Johansson
Dennis Alec Baldwin
David Hasselhoff Himself
Burger Beard Antonio Banderas
Bubbles Matt Berry
Poseidon TBA
Sage Keanu Reeves
  • A dark grey cell indicates that the character does not appear in the film.


The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie[edit]

Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures had approached SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg for a film based on the show as early as 2001, but he refused for more than a year.[9] He was concerned, after watching The Iron Giant and Toy Story with his son, about the challenge of SpongeBob and Patrick doing something more cinematically consequential and inspiring without losing what he called the SpongeBob "cadence."[9] He said, on a break from season four post-production, "To do a 75-minute movie about SpongeBob wanting to make some jellyfish jelly would be a mistake, I think [...] This had to be SpongeBob in a great adventure. That's where the comedy's coming from, having these two naïve characters, SpongeBob and Patrick, a doofus and an idiot, on this incredibly dangerous heroic odyssey with all the odds against them."[9] The writers decided to write a mythical hero's quest for the 2004 film: the search for a stolen crown, which brings SpongeBob and Patrick to the surface.[10] Of the plot, Bill Fagerbakke (the voice of Patrick) said, "It's just nuts. I'm continually dazzled and delighted with what these guys came up with."[11]

Production on the first film began in 2002 after Hillenburg and the show's staff completed the third season.[12] A tongue-in-cheek announcement of the film's plot from early on stated that it would feature SpongeBob rescuing Patrick from a fisherman in Florida.[12] This was intended as a humorous reference to Finding Nemo and was later confirmed by Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob) to be a "joke" plot to keep fans busy.[12] Hillenburg wrote the film with five other writer-animators from the show (Paul Tibbitt, Derek Drymon, Aaron Springer, Kent Osborne and Tim Hill) over a three-month period in a room of a former Glendale, California bank.[9] Osborne said, "It was hugely fun [...] although it did get kind of gamy in there."[9]

The first film was intended to be the series finale; Hillenburg wanted to end the franchise after the movie was completed so it "wouldn't jump the shark". However, Nickelodeon desired more episodes due to the franchise's growing popularity.[13] Hillenburg stated: "Well, there was concern when we did the movie [in 2004] that the show had peaked. There were concerns among executives at Nickelodeon."[14][15] As a result, Hillenburg resigned as the series' showrunner,[16] appointing writer, director, and storyboard artist Paul Tibbitt to succeed him.[17] Hillenburg still remained involved with the series, reviewing each episode and submitting suggestions.[16][18]

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water[edit]

In 2010, The New York Times reported that Nickelodeon had approached the show's crew to make a second film.[19] The network hoped to give itself and the global franchise "a boost" by releasing another film.[20] The Los Angeles Times reported that Paramount had "another SpongeBob picture" in development in March 2011.[21] Philippe Dauman, then president and CEO of Paramount and Viacom, announced on February 28, 2012 that a sequel film was in development and slated for a late 2014 release.[22][23][24] Dauman added that the film "will serve to start off or be one of our films that starts off our new animation effort."[22] Nickelodeon expected the film to do much better in foreign box office than the 2004 feature, given its increasingly global reach.[20][25] Dauman said, "This will continue to propel SpongeBob internationally."[20]

Production on the second movie was announced on June 10, 2014. Stephen Hillenburg returned to act as the film's executive producer,[citation needed] and contributed to the story of the film.[26]


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office Budget Ref(s)
Opening weekend
North America
North America Other territories Worldwide
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie November 19, 2004 $32,018,216 $85,417,988 $54,743,804 $140,161,792 $30 million [27]
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water February 6, 2015 $55,365,012 $162,994,032 $160,442,506 $323,436,538 $74 million [28]
Total $87,383,228 $248,412,020 $215,186,310 $463,598,330 $104 million

Critical and public reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 69% (128 reviews)[29] 66 (32 reviews)[30] B+[31]
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 81% (103 reviews)[32] 62 (27 reviews)[33] B[34]


Film Director(s) Producer(s) Writer(s) Composer Cinematographer Editor
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Stephen Hillenburg
Mark Osborne (live-action sequences)
Stephen Hillenburg and Julia Pistor Screenplay: Derek Drymon, Tim Hill, Stephen Hillenburg, Kent Osborne, Aaron Springer & Paul Tibbitt
Story: Stephen Hillenburg
Gregor Narholz Jerzy Zielinski Lynn Hobson
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Paul Tibbitt
Mike Mitchell (live-action sequences)
Paul Tibbitt and Mary Parent Screenplay: Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger
Story: Stephen Hillenburg & Paul Tibbitt
John Debney Phil Méheux David Ian Salter
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Tim Hill Ryan Harris Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Michael Kvamme[5] and Tim Hill[3] Hans Zimmer Larry Fong TBA


  1. ^ Haring, Bruce; Haring, Bruce (February 2, 2019). "'The SpongeBob Movie' Moves To May 2020 For Paramount". Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "Paramount Animation announces release dates for 'SpongeBob 3,' 'Little Prince'". Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Donnelly, Matt (April 25, 2018). "Paramount Animation Sets Three New Films, Including 'SpongeBob' Sequel". The Wrap. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  4. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (April 25, 2018). "Paramount Grows Its Animation Slate With 'Monster on the Hill,' 'Luck'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro (July 24, 2018). "Paramount's 'The SpongeBob Movie' To Soak Up Mid-July 2020". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Anderton, Ethan (April 26, 2018). "Paramount Animation Announces SpongeBob Sequel 'It's a Wonderful Sponge', Two More Animated Movies". /Film. Peter Sciretta. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  7. ^ Amidi, Amid (October 23, 2018). "'The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge' Will Be An Origin Story". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Davis, Brandon (January 23, 2019). ""SpongeBob SquarePants 3" begins production". Comicbook. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e Edelstein, David (November 7, 2004). "He Lives in a Pineapple, but Then What?". The New York Times. Burbank, California. p. 1. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Edelstein, David (November 7, 2004). "He Lives in a Pineapple, but Then What?". The New York Times. Burbank, California. p. 2. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  11. ^ The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The Absorbing Tale Behind The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2005.
  12. ^ a b c Koltnow, Barry (November 14, 2004). "SpongeBob creator is soaking up success". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  13. ^ Heintjes, Tom (September 21, 2012). "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants". Hogan's Alley. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  14. ^ Cavna, Michael (July 14, 2009). "The Interview: 'SpongeBob' Creator Stephen Hillenburg". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  15. ^ "The brilliance behind SpongeBob". July 16, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Bauder, David (July 13, 2009). "SpongeBob Turns 10 Valued At $8 Billion". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  17. ^ Fletcher, Alex (April 3, 2011). "Paul Tibbitt ('SpongeBob SquarePants')". Digital Spy. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Reaches A Milestone: 10 Years". Access Hollywood. July 13, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  19. ^ Barnes, Brooks (July 4, 2010). "Nickelodeon Tries Again to Move to the Big Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2013. Other films in development include a vehicle for Miranda Cosgrove, the star of the Nickelodeon seriesiCarly, and a family adventure built around Mattel's Magic 8-Ball toy. The creators of SpongeBob SquarePants have also been approached to do another film.
  20. ^ a b c Chozik, Amy (March 4, 2012). "Return to Big Screen for SpongeBob". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  21. ^ Fritz, Ben; Verrier, Richard (March 4, 2011). "Success for Paramount's Rango could lead to end of deal with DreamWorks". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  22. ^ a b Miller, Daniel (February 28, 2012). "Paramount to Release 'SpongeBob' Movie in Late 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  23. ^ Levine, Daniel (February 28, 2012). "Paramount announces plans to release second 'Spongebob Squarepants' film in 2014". Archived from the original on 2013-07-19. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  24. ^ Chitwood, Adam (February 28, 2012). "Paramount Announces New SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS Movie Set for End of 2014". Collider. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  25. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (March 5, 2012). "New SpongeBob Movie Coming". IGN. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  26. ^ Wilson, Thomas F. (Interviewer); Hillenburg, Stephen (Interviewee) (May 29, 2012). Big Pop Fun #28: Stephen Hillenburg, Artist and Animator–Interview (Podcast). Nerdist Industries. Archived from the original (mp3) on December 21, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  27. ^ "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  28. ^ "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  29. ^ "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  30. ^ "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  31. ^ "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie". CinemaScore. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  32. ^ "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  33. ^ "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  34. ^ "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water". CinemaScore. Retrieved 23 December 2015.