Coronavirus Outbreak: The SpongeBob Movie skips theatrical release, will launch on rent services in the US
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the first CGI-film featuring the iconic cartoon character.
ViacomCBS Inc said on Monday the animated family film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will debut digitally in the United States via premium video-on-demand (VOD) in early 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps movie theaters shut.
After the premium on-demand viewing window closes, the film will move exclusively to CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’ subscription VOD and live-streaming service, the company said in a statement.
The pandemic has shuttered theatres across the globe, forced the postponement of major film releases and upended the traditional practice of keeping a movie exclusively in theatres for around 90 days.
Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp-owned NBCUniversal, said in March it would make its movies available at home on the same day they are released in theatres worldwide, beginning with the DreamWorks Animation film Trolls World Tour.
ViacomCBS, which has been preparing to launch a new streaming service that will build on CBS All Access, said the upcoming SpongeBob movie will debut on the expanded service.
Directed by Tim Hill, Sponge on The Run is the first CGI film featuring the iconic cartoon character, writes The Hollywood Reporter. The voice cast features Tom Kenny, Awkwafina, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Douglas Lawrence and Reggie Watts.
After SpongeBob's pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and his best friend Patrick Starfish embark on a quest to the Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home.
Many Indian films have also seen a direct-to-digital release in the wake of the pandemic. Amazon Prime Video recently released Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurrana's Gulabo Sitabo, Jyothika's Ponmagal Vandhal and Keerthy Suresh's Penguin.
(With inputs from Reuters)
The 10 episode series will release in India with dubs in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali alongside English.
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