‘Transformers,’ ‘Spongebob’ Highlight Paramount’s Animated Movie Slate

CinemaCon 2023: Films based on “The Smurfs” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” are also in the works

SpongeBob SquarePants

Paramount’s CinemaCon presentation kicked off with the studio unveiling its future plans for animated movies on the big screen, with films based on “Transformers,” “The Smurfs,” “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” now in the works.

The films were announced by Ramsey Naito, president of Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, who kicked off the show with a preview of her division’s first feature film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” which is co-written by Seth Rogen and tells the story of how the Ninja Turtles step out of hiding to become accepted by the humans of New York. The movie is set for release on August 4.

Then, on July 19, 2024, Paramount will release the animated film “Transformers One,” which will star Chris Hemsworth and Brian Tyree Henry as a younger Optimus Prime and Megatron and tell the story of how the two went from brothers-in-arms to sworn enemies. Scarlett Johannson, Keegan-Michael Key, Jon Hamm and Laurence Fishburne round out the voice cast on the first animated “Transformers” movie since 1986.

In 2025, Paramount will have three animated films starting with a new “Smurfs” movie directed by “The Lego Movie” co-creator Chris Miller and starring Rihanna as Smurfette with original music by the pop star. The film is set for release on Valentine’s Day of that year.

Memorial Day weekend 2025 will bring a new “Spongebob” movie called “The Spongebob Movie: Search for Squarepants” with the show’s longtime writer Derek Drymon directing the film. And in October 2025, the studio will release a feature film based on the acclaimed “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” with concept art for the film revealed by Naito at CinemaCon.

Naito, who has worked at Nickelodeon Animation and Paramount Animation since 2018, was promoted to the head of both positions by CEO Brian Robbins in 2021. The new slate shows how Paramount will be relying on animation for a greater portion of its theatrical strategy in the years ahead and will see the studio enter an increasingly competitive market for family audiences alongside the growing Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Animation Group, Universal’s Illumination and DreamWorks and Disney’s century-old animation studio and Pixar.