Paramount Ramps Up Animation Division with J.J. Abrams Project, SPONGEBOB Sequel, THE NEW KID, Nickelodeon Shows and More

     August 16, 2012


The feature animation world is about to get a bit bigger as Paramount Pictures is looking to expand its original animation output.  The studio surprised last year with the excellent Rango, a film which many (myself included) stood head an shoulders above what Pixar and DreamWorks Animation had to offer in 2011.  The studio has since put into development a number of properties, but thus far the only one we’ve known much about was The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2.

A new report just hit that clues us in on much more of what Paramount has in store, including an animated project from J.J. Abrams and feature film adaptations of a number of Nickelodeon shows like The Legend of Korra and Dora the Explorer.  Hit the jump for more.

spongebob-squarepantsDetails regarding Paramount’s animation division come via Variety, as the outlet reports that Jonathan Albel and Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda 2) have been tapped to pen the SpongeBob SquarePants sequel for director Paul Tibbitt (a veteran of the series).  Moreover, Mary Parent (Pacific Rim, Noah) is producing not only SpongeBob Squarepants 2 but also The New Kid, an adaptation of the Penny Arcade comic.  Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) is penning the script, which centers on a human boy in a school full of aliens.

Though it comes as welcome news, it’s not exactly a surprise that J.J. Abrams is developing an animated feature for Paramount.  He’s been with the studio for some time now, having helmed Star Trek, Super 8, and Mission: Impossible III all for Paramount.  Details on Abrams’ animated project are—surprise—nonexistent at this point.  Variety says Abrams is “shepherding” the film, so it’s unclear if that means he’ll be directing or just simply producing.  Judging by the amount on his plate at the moment, I’d guess it’s the latter.

the-legend-of-korraIn addition to the aforementioned projects, Paramount is dipping into sister division Nickelodeon for more feature film fare.  This means we could very well see feature film adaptations of shows like The Legend of Korra, Dora the Explorer, and Monkey Quest.  The report has no firm word on which adaptations are in active development, but Korra has a rabid fanbase that I’m sure would love to see a big screen film.

The studio’s direct follow-up to Rango will be The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, but who knows which project will follow that one.  Paramount sparked to developing its own animated projects when word got out that DreamWorks Animation looking to strike a new distribution deal with a different studio, as Paramount has distributed all of DWA’s features since 2006.  Paramount apparently requested a higher fee for both theatrical and homevideo releases from DreamWorks Animation, and since the partnership was due for renewal at the end of 2012, DWA balked at the offer.

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  • Mark

    Unless it’s animated, leave Legend of Korra the hell alone. It’s bad enough after what they did to Avatar: The Last Airbender. (shudder)

    • ScaredForMovies

      Couldn’t agree more. Now que some poor soul defending the crapfest that was M.Night’s Airbender. That script sucked ass. Trying to condense the entire animated series into 3 movies instead of 6 was a huge mistake.

  • Ana

    An ANIMATED movie of The Legend of Korra would be very welcome.

  • Trevin

    Hopefully the Abrams film is the Samurai Jack movie that was talked about several years ago. He was at one point attached to it but I never heard any more.


    I cannot describe how much I hate new Spongebob. it’s just so awful, ugh… but an animated Korra film? Hell yeah!

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  • Korrafan

    !@!@! Just the thought of The Legend of Korra makes me so incredibly excited at 2 AM. As long as they keep M Night Shyamalaingdong within 2 billion miles from everything to do with the movie, I’m fine with it. They should let Mike and Bryan make the movie if they do one. We can wait until they are done with the series, don’t make them rush the series!

    But seriously, allowing Mike and Bryan to make a movie or movies of Korra would be the smartest thing ever done. The Last Airbender did very well as far as the box office goes, even though it got slammed by virtually everyone. I can’t imagine how well a movie would do by Mike and Bryan, with people knowing it will be good.

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  • worried

    the legend of korra series seemed fanmade, or at least deviantart inspired to me, I just didn’t like it, maybe I’m just wierd, but I think they flogged a dead horse with that one, really, it seemed like they got the whole idea from a fan. Not that that’s neccessarily a bad thing though, it just felt wierd to me. I dunno. maybe it’s just me.

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