Paramount Animation set up shop in the wake of Rango's success and the studio's expired distribution deal with DreamWorks (who are now under the Fox banner). We heard about their plans back in August of last year, but have heard close to squat since. Today, we got details and release dates for their first two projects: SpongeBob SquarePants 2 and Monster Trucks.
The first SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, directed by series creator Stephen Hillenburg, arrived in 2004 and was surprisingly good. The sequel, now just called SpongeBob SquarePants 2 was previously slated for an unspecified 2014 release, THR reports though that the film is now coming in 2015 (a year that is sure to be infamous as the year that sequels broke the box office). SpongeBob SquarePants 2, directed by Paul Tibbitt, opens on 13th February, 2015.
The studio are entering the fold in a big way though, and will release another film, Monster Trucks, on 29th May of the same year. Monster Trucks is Paramount's way of trying to piggyback the horrendous success of Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Smurfs, as the film is also to be a CG/live-action hybrid. Deadline reports that the film has a budget of $100 million, and the studio is in "final negotiations" for nailing down Blue Sky top brass, Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Epic) to direct. Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda, SpongeBob SquarePants 2) are writing the script, while Mary Parent (Pacific Rim, Noah) is producing both SpongeBob 2 and Monster Trucks.
Monster Trucks is entering a crowded field: Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on 1st May, 2015, while DreamWorks' B.O.O (Bureau of Otherworldly Operations) opens a weeks after what will be Paramount's second in-house animated feature, on 5th June, 2015.
No word on Paramount's other in-development projects though, specifically The New Kid, which we heard about back in August, about a lone Earth boy in an alien school. New Kid was also being produced by Parent, with Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth) scripting.
Star Trek director J.J. Abrams was also reported to be developing a top secret project for the studio, but in the wake of his commitments to Star Wars: Episode VII, and wanting to squeeze Star Trek 3 in there too, one assumes those plans are iced for the immediate future.
With Finding Dory, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda 3, Peanuts, Popeye, Ratchet & Clank and now this, to name but some, 2015 looks to be a pretty good year for animation (now don't even get me started on how exciting it is for live-action). Not a patch on 2014 though...