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29 November 2012

SpongeBob SquarePants makes special appearance in Orlando to announce new 4D experience, "The Great Jelly Rescue"

SpongeBob SquarePants promotes "The Great Jelly Rescue"
SpongeBob struts his stuff in 3D/4D
Nickelodeon, SimEx-Iwerks and Super 78 collaborate on new production

Story: Judith Rubin. 
Photos: Martin Palicki.
InPark Magazine recently had the honor of meeting SpongeBob SquarePants in person at his Orlando headquarters, the Nickelodeon Suites Resort. The occasion: an official announcement of the new show, “SpongeBob SquarePants 4D: The Great Jelly Rescue,” set to premiere in early 2013 at the Nick Suites, and then be rolled out to 4D theaters at theme parks, zoos, aquariums and other family-friendly settings worldwide. 

The wide-eyed star appeared wearing his trademark yellow at the hotel, accompanied by some of his peeps: Gerald Raines (VP Recreational Business Development, Nickelodeon), Mark Cornell (Sr. VP Attractions Development, SimEx-Iwerks), special venue media producers Brent Young and Dina Benadon (Super 78) and Louis Robbins (Managing Director, Nickelodeon Suites Resort).

Doing the SpongeBob: Young, Cornell, SpongeBob, Raines and Robbins
“The Great Jelly Rescue” adventure follows the 2005 production, “SpongeBob SquarePants 4D” and will join Nickelodeon's brand power and popular characters to SimEx-Iwerks' 4D theater circuit and distribution network. The 7-year run of the first show is a testament to SpongeBob's huge, global popularity - and also a solid reminder that a good attraction movie can be evergreen, playing successfully year after year onscreen in special venue theaters, in stark contrast to the ephemeral theatrical runs of today's mainstream productions.

"SpongeBob is a dream to work with on set," said Brent Young of Super 78.
SpongeBob dimensionalized
“The Great Jelly Rescue” promises to deliver SpongeBob SquarePants just as audiences love him while making the most of advancements in rendering and immersive 4D theater technology – most notably, enhanced stereoscopic 3D backgrounds and alternate storylines, along with a host of in-theater effects such as wind, bubbles, snow, seat buzzers, leg ticklers, special lighting and audio. Some of the scenes will change from show to show, along with their corresponding effects – providing incentive for visitors to repeat the experience.

"Each unique scene will be accompanied by a different special effect in the 4D environment," says Mark Cornell of SimEx-Iwerks.
Asked about the challenge of making the new 3D SpongeBob as authentic and convincing as possible, Brent Young of Super 78 said,
Super 78's Dina Benadon shakes hands with SpongeBob
“We needed to go the extra 10 miles to show this property can be dimensionalized while honoring the brand. In 3D, it's harder to pull some things off convincingly. But we were well prepared, having gone through a similar process when we produced the media for 'Dora & Diego's 4D Adventure' [2010] in a similar collaboration with Nickelodeon and SimEx-Iwerks. Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob's creator, has the ultimate authority, and we were thrilled by his approval.”

SpongeBob SquarePants's journey through animation formats is set to continue, in the form of “It's a SpongeBob Christmas,” airing on CBS and Nickelodeon television in December, using classic stop-motion animation created with models and miniatures. There's also talk of perpetuating the 3D stereoscopy in the next SpongeBob feature film, planned for 2015. When asked about the possibility of a SpongeBob SquarePants 3D TV series, Nickelodeon's Gerald Raines was mum. But he did assure us that more Nickelodeon brands will be seen making their way into the attractions world, following on the footsteps of Dora, Diego and SpongeBob, with hints of a renewed focus on slime.

Related: SimEx-Iwerks and the legacy of Iwerks Entertainment