Paramount Gets Animated with CinemaCon Presentation

A deeper look at "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem," a fourth "SpongeBob" movie, and the voice cast for "Transformers One."
Paramount Animation Spongebob Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles PAW Patrol
Paramount Animation's "SpongeBob Squarepants," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "PAW Patrol"

Paramount is getting animated. The studio made a big show of its animated slate of movies for the rest of the year and moving into 2024 and 2025, with the studio announcing some colorful voice casting and announcing some new films that will be hitting theaters.

In addition to showing footage for its 2023 films “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” and “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” Paramount Animation president Ramsey Naito announced a fourth “SpongeBob Squarepants” movie, shared an update on its planned trilogy of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movies, and the voice casting for a new “Transformers” animated film and the first movie in its partnership to bring “The Smurfs” back to the big screen.

First, the fourth SpongeBob movie is titled “The SpongeBob Movie: Search for Squarepants,” and it will open in theaters on May 23, 2025. All we got to see today was concept art, but Naito also discussed the plot for the film, which will see SpongeBob travel to the depths of the ocean to face off against the ghost of the Flying Dutchman. Derek Drymon is directing.

“Transformers One” is an animated origin story for everyone’s favorite Robots in Disguise. The film is set on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron and shows how Optimus Prime and Megatron as young Transformers went from brothers-in-arms to eternal rivals. Paramount also unveiled the cast of the film, which features Chris Hemsworth as Optimus Prime, Brian Tyree Henry as Megatron, along with Scarlett Johansson (Elita), Keegan-Michael Key (Bumblebee), Jon Hamm (Sentinel Prime), and Laurence Fishburne (Alpha Trion).

Josh Cooley directed the Paramount and Hasbro film from a script by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian, Aaron Dem produced the film, along with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner, Brian Oliver, Bradley J. Fischer, and Valerii An. It opens in theaters July 19, 2024 and is the first animated “Transformers” film in nearly 40 years.

“The Last Airbender,” which is still a working title for the “Avatar” anime, is directed by Lauren Montgomery and will hit theaters October 10, 2025. That movie will blend some of the anime visuals of the original series along with CG animation, and the series is intended to go beyond the series set years removed from when Aang last helped save the world.

As for “TMNT: Mutant Mayhem,” the film is in some ways an answer to the animation style of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” but the film from writer Seth Rogen leans into its family friendly audience. Rogen introduced the extended footage by saying that it’s the first film he and partner Evan Goldberg has made that “if you show this to your children, you’re not a terrible parent.” He said he’s loved the Turtles since he was a kid back in 1987, but he was always surprised to never see the “TMNT” franchise lean into the “Teenage” part of the Turtles’ moniker.

“What if we cast actual teenagers and let them record together and let them play off each other and put their insane energy into the movie, and that’s what we did,” Rogen said. “They said so many disgusting things that we did not put into the movie.”

Rihanna was also on hand to announce that she would be portraying Smurfette in a new “Smurfs” movie that examines the question of “What is a Smurf?” Read more about that project here.

Finally, we saw a work-in-progress trailer for “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” from Spin Master Entertainment, which also includes a new cameo by Chris Rock as a cat. That movie opens September 29, 2023, and it is the follow-up to the first “PAW Patrol” movie that made $144 million worldwide in 2021 as a day-and-date release.

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