After grossing $140 million and $325 million worldwide with its last two feature films, Paramount’s SpongeBob SquarePants will be returning for a third. Creator Tim Hill returns to write and direct the new feature, titled The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge, itself a nod to Frank Capra‘s 1946 flick, It’s a Wonderful Life. The title character will get a chance to look back on his life, and the audience will get to join him as this film is expected to be a an origin story for the world-famous sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
As Cartoon Brew reports from Turin, Italy’s ongoing VIEW Conference, president of Paramount Animation Mireille Soria revealed some new information about the movie during a presentation. Not only will It’s a Wonderful Sponge–slated for a July 17, 2020 release–be a spongy origin story, it’ll also get a score from the one and only Hans Zimmer. The Oscar-winning composer will lead the overall musical direction and plans for some big names to contribute tracks along the way.
“For the first time ever, we’re going to the get to the origin of how little Spongebob met the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang at summer camp. The film’s opening will take place at Camp Coral when all of our favorite characters meet for the first time.”
As the franchise prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday next year, production will commence on the 2020 feature. It’ll boast the first-ever full-CG version of the SpongeBob SquarePants universe, complete with computer-generated characters and environments, as well as a returning trend that sees a hybrid approach to showing characters living in the real world. Mikros Image Animation will handle the CG animation, having done so on Sherlock Gnomes, Captain Underpants, The Little Prince, and more.
Speaking of CG, a medium in which all of Paramount’s upcoming slate of animated projects will be presented, Soria also fielded a question about using different animation techniques:
“The big tentpole movies are our meat and potatoes. Those have to reach a broad audience. I don’t think we can do 2d movies, to be honest. I think that’s hard.”
She did, however, offer up the possibility of smaller-budgeted films that have a more specific, tailor focus that don’t need to carry broad market appeal: “There’s nothing I wouldn’t say no to.”
Other upcoming projects for the studio include Wonder Park, Monster on the Hill and Luck.