As reported round and about:
... 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.” ...
When David Stainton was still PA's top-kick, the word that filtered back to us was that the new feature animation unit was taking feature pitches from various sources.
My guess is, the unit without Stainton is still doing that, but in the meantime, they've decided to let the world know they're going with a proven commodity until an original property gets a greenlight.
It's interesting that the studio is touting Sponge Bob as it's first feature, since a Sponge Bob feature preceded it. But hey. If they want to steal Nickelodeon's thunder, it's all one big happy conglomerate, innit?
Paramount has been in and out of the feature animation business for a loong time. Among the feature projects -- outside of the DreamWorks Animation slate -- that the studio has financed and released:
Gulliver's Travels (1939)
Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941)
Charlotte's Web (1973)
Heidi's Song (1982))
Bebe's Kids (1992)
The Rugrats Movie (1998)
Rugrats in Paris (2000)
The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)
Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
Besides Disney, Paramount has been the movie company that's had a hand in animated features for decades and decades. Until now, however, they have always had the films done by third-party suppliers. (This goes back to the Fleischer Studio in the 1930s.)
How much of the new feature product they will ultimately create themselves, remains to be seen. Certainly Stainton's resignation is a bump in the road.
Add On: And YouTube has now taken the short down. Hardly a surprise.