Paramount didn’t used to have to make their own animated movies, mostly because they had a deal in place where they handled the distribution of all the movies made by DreamWorks Animation. But that all ended when DreamWorks started looking for a new partner to both buy their company and handle the distribution end of things. Rather than work out a new, riskier deal, Paramount decided they were just going to cut their ties with DreamWorks Animation and form a new wing of their own company called Paramount Animation. You know, with the intention of animating things.
This has been in the planning stages for a while now, and it’s looking like Paramount Animation is ready to make their first movie. At a recent investor meeting Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was quoted as saying, “We will be releasing a SpongeBob movie at the end of 2014, which will serve to start off or be one of our films that starts off our new animation effort.” What better way to start off a new venture than by relying on a proven commodity? SpongeBob’s first movie, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, only had a production budget of $30m and it ended up pulling in $140m worldwide. If you want your team to start things off with a win, it seems to me that SpongeBob is a good first round draft pick to make.
I guess it should be noted that the first SpongeBob movie came out in 2004 though. That’s eight years ago now, and with the speed in which trends can change, I have to wonder if this character still has the same momentum behind him that he did damn near a decade ago. I don’t have any kids, so maybe you can help me out. I know that five years ago lazy college students were still laying around and watching SpongeBob in the afternoons, but is this a property that small children are still pumped about in 2012? Or have they moved on to loving a flatulent, animated lemur or something and, at this point, SpongeBob is just coasting on fumes?
Surely Tom Kenny’s strange under-the-sea character is established enough that he will turn a profit, but can Paramount expect the same sort of gangbuster business that this movie would have gotten had it been made five years ago? For the sake of both the Paramount executives who decided to ditch DreamWorks and the people who work at carnivals airbrushing cartoon characters onto t-shirts and posters, I really hope so. [via THR]