Following the release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004, producer Julia Pistor stated that a sequel film is unlikely, despite the film's successful box office performance. In a 2009 interview with Digital Spy, SpongeBob SquarePants writer and executive producer Paul Tibbitt was asked about the possibility of a sequel. He said, "I think that they are talking about doing that, but I haven't signed up for anything. We just feel like we've told so many stories, and SpongeBob exists so well in this short 11-minute form." He further stated that making another film "is a huge challenge." However, Tibbitt denied that a sequel is not impossible to emerge, saying "I wouldn't say no, but I don't know if there will be another one." In 2010, Nickelodeon reportedly had been approaching the crews of the show to make another film adaptation. The network had long wanted to partner with Paramount Pictures to release another SpongeBob SquarePants film to help reinvigorate the series from its declining ratings. However, internal disagreement delayed collaborations.
On March 4, 2011, in an article by the Los Angeles Times, it was first reported that Paramount had "another SpongeBob picture" in development. Several months later, in July, Paramount formed its new animation unit, Paramount Animation, in the wake of commercial and critical success of the 2011 computer-animated film Rango, and the departure of DreamWorks Animation upon completion of their distribution contract in 2012. Philippe Dauman, the president and CEO of Paramount's parent company Viacom, officially announced on February 28, 2012 that a sequel film was in development and slated for an unspecified 2014 release, saying that "We will be releasing a SpongeBob movie at the end of 2014."Dauman added that the film "will serve to start off or be one of our films that starts off our new animation effort." Nickelodeon expected the film to do much better in foreign box office than the 2004 feature, given its increasingly global reach. Dauman said, "This will continue to propel SpongeBob internationally."
The film's title was announced on June 10, 2014. It had been changed a few times, going over working titles such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, and SpongeBob SquarePants 2. Series creative director Vincent Waller said, on the changes, "There is no official title yet." The film's executive producer is series creator Stephen Hillenburg, who departed from the show as its showrunner in 2004 following the release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. He no longer writes or runs the show on a day-to-day basis, but reviews each episode and delivers suggestions. However, in a 2012 interview with Thomas F. Wilson, Hillenburg stated that he is helping in writing the film. "Tibbitt later revealed on Twitter in late 2013 that "Steve [Hillenburg] and I wrote the new movie together and he has been in the studio everyday working with us." Production on the film finished in November 2014.
The movie is produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Animation, and is distributed by Paramount Pictures.
SpongeBob SquarePants, the world’s favorite sea dwelling invertebrate, comes ashore to our world for his most super-heroic adventure yet.
— The official website
From cast and crew interviews, we can say the storyline of the movie entails. SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Plankton go to find a stolen recipe which takes them to the real world. There, they tangle with a pirate who possesses a book which makes what ever he writes into it come true. SpongeBob and co. manage to get hold of the book and turn into superheroes to fight the pirate.
Cast and crew members have provided further insight into the plot of the movie, as well as their views on how successful the movie will be:
Clancy Brown (who plays Mr. Krabs) revealed a hint as to how the characters would be involved in the movie:
"Goodness, that one also the future of the free world hinges on what I have to say about it so I can’t really say much about it except that we’re all on an adventure this time, Squidward, Patrick, Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob, Plankton, and Sandy. We’re all in it together this time rather than just being a buddy movie like the first movie. It’s very funny I have to say."
Mike Mitchell, one of the Directors of the movie, made the following statement about the movie's storyline:
"It's 2D and they come out of the water, and they're in our world... and there's like people out there like 'where are we?' There's SpongeBob and Patrick and Mr. Krabs... and then they find out that there's a bad guy that stole the Krabby Patty and they have to transform into life-sized superheros which is amazing... And if you can picture each one has their own superpower..."
"We've been hard at work on the second SpongeBob movie. The first one was years ago, 2007  or something, a long time ago. And it did well, but Steve Hillenburg, much to the consternation of executives, was not ready to make another SpongeBob movie, just didn't think that he had a story that warranted the longer running time and all that. You've got to know Steve Hillenburg, he doesn't think like anybody else in show business. Even when he had no money he didn't care about money. The integrity of the product is so important to him, so he didn't want to do another movie for no reason. So years later he said, “OK, I've got a story that I think is worth spending 90 minutes on.” And he pitched it to Nickelodeon. So yeah, we've got it coming out.
Paramount has this newly activated animation division and we are their first film that they're doing, so there's kind of a lot riding on it, it makes me a little nervous. I was born nervous. So we're having a lot of fun and [there's] all the original cast and some fun drop-in guest stars.
[The first movie] was a lot of fun and it's kind of a different world now. Just in that short, whatever it is, 7 years [10 years], the world has changed so much in that SpongeBob wasn't nearly as global then as he is now. Now he's really managed to blanket the Earth, he's pretty much in every country, and that wasn't quite the case in 2007 . So he's known in parts of the world now that he was not 7 years ago and I think it's going to be really exciting to see what happens with the movie. Also the way you sell a movie with social media and all that was not nearly in place then like it is now.
The fun thing is that when you're doing a character like SpongeBob and cartoon characters in general you don't notice the passage of time. It doesn't seem like 7 years ago that we did the last SpongeBob movie because I've never stopped doing SpongeBob. You sort of lose track of time, in a good way. You think it was 6 months ago we were doing that last movie then you realize it was 7 years."
Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman said on hollywoodreporter.com:
"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" Of course, we now know the movie will be released on February 6, 2015.
On January 28, 2014, Vincent Waller confirmed animation will be handled with the animation company "Rough Draft Studios"
He further posted "We're getting animation back that is looking terrific." Paul Tibbitt was asked on Twitter about what animation techniques would be used for which he replied: "[I] don't wanna spoil anything but [it's] mostly 2D."
In March 2014, Paramount screened live-action footage from the film during the National Association of Theatre Owners' CinemaCon. News websites report that the film would be CGI-animated... The Internet Movie Database staff commented: "The very brief footage from tonight's presentation suggested [it wouldn't be all 2D animated] – it looked as though this was a CGI/live-action hybrid akin to Alvin and the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, The Smurfs, etc."
On July 11, 2013, it was announced that the film will start filming for the live action scenes in the Savannah area in Georgia in September, October, and November 2013 for approximately 40 days. City of Savannah Film Services director Jay Self said "we are very excited to be working with Paramount [Pictures] on this project [...] We know from experience how valuable the investment and exposure generated by a project like this can be for our community."
The original score for the movie was being composed by John Debney.
On December 26, 2014, a track was released for the movie by the band known as "N*E*R*D." Chad Hugo stated in an interview with Variety that "[They're] trying not to think too much in a cartoon sense, but more just like a psychedelic, otherworldy type of thing. If you want to draw a parallel, maybe think of what the Beatles did with 'Yellow Submarine.'" The track is called "Squeeze Me" with an official release date for the single on January 5, 2015.
San Diego Comic Con 2014
See here for highlights of the panel hosted by Tom Kenny.
Crucial details of the movie were revealed at the San Diego Comic Con 2014.
To start with, character designs for the movie were revealed. These depict the design of SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs once they exit the water later in the film (pictured right).
A line of SpongeBob on the surface saying "Clean it up just clean it up."
Burger-Beard explains that the Magic Book's powers can only be activated by having the Krabby Patty formula. However that idea became scrapped. Now things can come true by re-writing the story even without the formula.
In one version of the scene where Patrick (not as Mr. Superawesomeness) eats the ice cream, it is on a beach, not in the kid's hand.
A scene of Burger-Beard the Pirate in his ship, telling his seagulls a story about him when he was younger. This was probably cut to save time.
SpongeBob and Plankton time-traveling to the Mesozoic era, where they encounter Patrickosaurus and Squidasaurus Rex. This scene was taken out of the movie but in the video game, our heroes encounter both dinosaurs.
Another time traveling scene had SpongeBob and Plankton visit Bikini Bottom, but the citizens were robots.
Mr. Krabs serving Nasty Patties to the customers. This was cut because it would not look pretty if a customer ate one.
A car chase scene with SpongeBob and Plankton and ends with SpongeBob receiving an F- from Mrs. Puff after crashing. This was cut for unknown reasons.
A Montage of Mr. Krabs thoroughly cleaning SpongeBob's brain.
Plankton telling SpongeBob to make Krabby Patties by using his muscles at the Taco Haüs.