A guide to all the upcoming animated movies
Going all the way back to the early Disney classics of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Sleeping Beauty to modern hits Frozen and The LEGO Movie, the animation genre has been one of the longest-lasting and indestructible genres in film history, always drawing in parents and their children, with more recent films finding ways to draw in older audiences as well with humor both age groups can connect to. With so many films in the work and set for release for the next few years, let’s take a look at all the upcoming animated movies!
Isle of Dogs
Writer/director Wes Anderson has been one of the quirkiest and stylish directors in the industry and his first stop-motion outing, Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, highlighted that he could successfully transition between live-action and animation with ease. Anderson looks to recapture the success with the upcoming Isle of Dogs, which takes place in a dystopian Japan where dogs have been exiled to a garbage island after a spread of deadly canine flu, and the journey one young boy makes to find his dog on the island with the help of five dogs who nearly had given up hope.
Despite some generally-mixed reviews from both critics and audiences, 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet was a box office hit, earning nearly $200 million at the box office, driving the studio to want to develop a sequel. Written by two of the original nine writers, Sherlock Gnomes will follow the two lead characters (McAvoy and Blunt) as they enlist the help of the titular detective (Depp) and his partner, Gnome Watson (Ejiofor), to solve the mysterious disappearance of other garden gnomes.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
It’s hard to believe it’s already been two years since the live-action adaptation of DC’s antihero team-up film, Suicide Squad, hit theaters. Fans are patiently waiting for the sequel and spin-off films, biding their time with Netflix originals and three Oscar-nominated pictures. Though it won’t feature the live-action performers, DC Comics fans can rejoice as the Suicide Squad return to their screens in the animated film Hell to Pay, which marks the 31st entry into the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, as well as their first solo story in the said universe. The film will follow Amanda Waller (Williams) as she forms the Suicide Squad made up of Deadshot (Slater), Harley Quinn (Strong), Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), Captain Boomerang (McIntyre), Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Copperhead (Gideon Emery) to retrieve a mystical object sought by various enemies.
Duck Duck Goose
Sometimes, all a parent needs to bring their kids to the theater is a movie with talking animals and a catchy title, the Ice Age films being a prime example for the past few years. but no other film can effectively deliver a pun than Open Road’s Duck Duck Goose. The film follows a gander voiced by Jim Gaffigan who finds himself injured on his journey south and is subsequently saddled with two solo ducklings (voiced by Zendaya and Lance Lim), with whom he will eventually become a family with as the film progresses.
It’s been a little over two months since the release of the trailers for the upcoming anime adaptation of the classic DC Comics character, but the buzz has yet to die down amongst audiences as they anxiously await the groundbreaking new film, Batman Ninja. Set in feudal Japan, the film sees the titular hero transported back in time along with a slew of villains and a few of his closest allies and he must rely on ancient weapons and his intellect to bring peace to the land and return to present-day Gotham. The anime style of the film and the use of Japanese actors for the characters, in addition to the English versions, has received praise from critics and audiences alike, creating much anticipation.
While the idea of childhood toys coming to life has been a theme of many movies’ plots, the concept of a childhood food holding magical abilities is something hardly ever heard of, and Animal Crackers looks to change all that. The movie follows a family who inherit a rundown circus and a box of animal crackers that give the eater the ability to turn into the animal they eat.
It’s been 14 years since viewers were introduced to super-family The Parrs/The Incredibles from the creative minds of Pixar, and after the ending left audiences on edge for a battle between the family and new villain The Underminer, they will finally return to the big screen this summer. In the film, superheroes have become illegal and patriarch Bob/Mr. Incredible (Nelson) must stay home to watch over the family: Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack, who has begun manifesting superpowers, while matriarch Helen/Elastigirl (Hunter) works with a telecommunication company to fight crime and help return the public perception of heroes to positive. While the wait has been unbearable for fans, the trailers have shown a lot of promise not only in its animation, but also in the development of its story, as we see the solo outing of Elastigirl as a message towards empowering women while Bob staying home illustrates the positive effects of a father staying close to their children’s lives.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
While Adam Sandler’s live-action career has taken a turn for the worst since the ’90s, the surprise 2012 hit Hotel Transylvania has proven to be very effective in not keeping his career alive as a whole, but also keeping audiences wanting more. After two commercial successes and moderately positive critical reviews, the fantasy family returns for a summer vacation where patriarch Count Dracula (Sandler) falls head-over-heels for the cruise ship captain, who is secretly a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, and sees daughter Mavis (Gomez) having to step up to save everyone.
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
While the majority of DC’s animated films has been relegated to direct-to-video releases, aside from The LEGO Batman Movie, Warner Bros. will break the mold again with the return of an animated character, or in this case team of characters to the big screen, with the release of Teen Titans Go! to the Movies. Based on the titular spin-off of the mid-’00s animated series, the film will follow the team as they learn of other DC heroes having films produced about them and beginning a search for the perfect director for their big-screen debut while an old foe returns to ruin the day.
The portrayal of mythical creatures on screen has long been popular in kids’ movies, but the mythical Yeti has really only been seen prior in Pixar’s Monsters franchise. Warner Bros’ Smallfoot seeks to change all that as audiences follow Migo (Tatum), a Yeti who seeks to prove the existence of a race of creatures known as “smallfoots,” who in reality are humans. Kirkpatrick, who co-wrote and co-directed Dreamworks’ Over the Hedge, as well as co-wrote the live-action adaptations of James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte’s Web, seeks to recapture the same magic from his previous work with this unique family comedy.
Adaptations of Dr. Seuss novels have been very popular among moviegoers for years now, going all the way back to the animated short Horton Hatches the Egg, to the audience-despised adaptation of The Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers starring in the titular role. But out of all the Dr. Seuss properties, the most popular in both book form and adaptation-wise is How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, in which a solitary creature plots to ruin Christmas from the nearby town of Whoville by stealing all holiday-related items. It was originally adapted as an animated special in 1966 with Boris Karloff in the lead role, and introduced the hit song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Thurl Ravenscroft, and received a live-action adaptation in 2000 directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey in the titular role. Universal and Illumination Entertainment are currently working on a 3D adaptation of the film in which Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Doctor Strange) will star as the titular character, and it is set to release in November 2018.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
When the first Wreck-It Ralph was released in 2012, it was a smash hit, earning rave reviews from critics and audiences for its originality, warm-hearted story and nostalgic references. And though a sequel didn’t initially feel necessary, the ideas the director had and developed with original co-writer Phil Johnston has proven the sequel is very much needed. The follow-up will see the titular protagonist (Reilly) travel into the Internet when a Wi-Fi router is installed in his arcade in order to help find a replacement part for “Sugar Rush,” in which his friend Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman) lives.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Marvel’s titular web-slinger has been one of the most popular and heavily adapted characters in comic history, but the most common element adapted has been the man behind the mask, Peter Parker, with the other characters who took the mantle remaining either in the comics or on the small screen. However, after rumors of Miles Morales appearing in the most recent reboot of the live-action series in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and his uncle Aaron Davis (Donald Glover) making his big-screen debut, Sony Pictures is finally ready to bring its animated adaptation of the character to the big screen. While the plot is being kept under wraps, the film has been confirmed to follow Miles Morales (Moore) as he struggles to balance his school and crime-fighting lives, and after a highly-praised trailer showing off the film’s combination of computer animation and hand-drawn comic book style, the buzz for this film is at an all-time high.
Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad
Follow an Arctic fox with dreams of becoming a top courier in the Arctic Blast Delivery Service and his friends as they work to stop an evil walrus from melting the polar ice caps to flood the world. Arctic Justice might have all the colorful fun of an animal-driven world such as Zootopia, but it also has a major ensemble cast that parents can get behind, including veteran British comedian John Cleese as the film’s villain, Dr. Walrus.
The LEGO Movie 2
2014’s animated romp The LEGO Movie was one of the most welcome surprises from the animated genre not to come from Pixar, as its blend of meta-filled humor, vibrant animation and stellar ensemble cast brought the toy franchise to the big screen with flair, earning a 96% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and racking up near half a billion dollars at the box office. The film was such a hit it spawned two spin-offs, The LEGO Batman Movie, which also earned rave reviews and was a box office smash, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which was a modest critical and commercial success. A sequel is still currently being filmed and is set for a February 2019 release, with original writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returning to perform re-writes on the script with a story set to tackle gender issues.
How to Train Your Dragon 3
The How to Train Your Dragon film franchise might only currently be made up of two films and a TV series, but it’s one of the most widely-praised animated film series of the modern genre’s history, with the first two films nabbing over 90% approval scores from critics on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and collectively have earned over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It’s been four years since the release of the previous film and after years of delays, production issues and studio shake-ups, the film finally has a home at Universal Pictures (while still being produced by DreamWorks Animation), and is set for a March 2019 release. The film will follow Hiccup (Baruchel) as he must prove his worthiness as a leader when dangers occur around the village, and he finds himself without Toothless, who is pursuing an untamed and elusive mate.
After dominating the animation genre from the late ’90s to the mid ’00s, Nickelodeon Movies began to see their theatrical films peter out, taking nearly five year breaks between each film with their last film having released in 2015. Despite suffering nearly two years of delays and the firing of a director due to misconduct, the animated film Amusement Park finally has a set release date and director, and though no plot details have been released, the film’s ensemble cast and Nickelodeon’s promise of releasing a TV series following the film’s release proves there is great hope behind this film.
Playmobil: Robbers, Thieves & Rebels
Following the success of The LEGO Movie, many toy companies took it upon themselves to find a way to bring their brand to the big screen, and Playmobil is one of the next to do so. Not much is currently known about the plot or cast, as the film is still in production, but the release date has been set for April 19 of next year.
One of the most popular plush companies in the mid-’00s, Uglydolls has actually had a film adaptation in the works since prior to the announcement of the production of the brick company’s movie. After years of development, the film is finally on track to hit theaters, as Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Machete) has been signed on to direct and studios for distribution and animation have been set.
Toy Story 4
After what has been hailed as the perfect conclusion to any franchise in live-action or animated history, the decision to continue the Toy Story franchise with a fourth film has been widely debated by fans, as they would love to see more of the characters while also agreeing the ending to Toy Story 3 was a good finale. After nearly a decade of development and production, the gang will finally return to the big screen as they journey to rescue Bo Peep from a yard sale.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
There’s no denying we were all addicted to the puzzle app, “Angry Birds,” when it came out in 2009, and after three successful years, developer Rovio Games announced production on a feature-length adaptation, which premiered in 2016. While it received mixed reviews from critics, it received generally positive reviews from audiences and made nearly $350 million at the global box office, driving a desire for a sequel. Though not much is known about who from the original cast will return, the film will be helmed by Thurop Van Orman, who is prominent in the animation industry for his work on The Powerpuff Girls and creating The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
The Addams Family
Buh-buh-buh-buh *Snap, Snap* Buh-buh-buh-buh *Snap, Snap* Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh *Snap, Snap*
If you don’t remember the rest of the lyrics to the classic Addams Family theme song, then shame on you and you still have time to learn it before the family’s creepy and cooky family returns to the big screen in October ’19. After two highly successful live-action adaptations of the classic characters, MGM will bring the character back to the big screen in an animated fashion with Conrad Vernon (Monster vs. Aliens, Sausage Party) directing and Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ex Machina) starring as family patriarch, Gomez Addams.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Barry Allen might be the fastest man alive, but Sonic will forever be the fastest hedgehog alive. Spawned in 1991, the ever-popular Sega franchise has withstood the test of time, releasing numerous hits and drawing players in every time as they offer unique new twists on the classic gameplay. While most video game adaptations have struggled to get off the ground or find an audience aside from its players, Sonic has been such a storied franchise through the generations that the film is surely set to be a hit.
Whether you hated it or belted it out at the top of your lungs, you could not escape the powerful song “Let It Go” from 2013’s Frozen. Thanks to the combination of the catchy soundtrack, colorful animation and rich storytelling, the film earned rave reviews from critics, and even stronger reviews from audiences. The film was a major box office success, earning over $1 billion at the box office and becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all-time. Following its success, the screenwriters and Disney immediately began working on a sequel, and after six years of development, the film is finally set for a November 2019 release.
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Have you ever wondered what your pets are up to when you’re not at home? That was the premise behind the 2016 animated adventure The Secret Life of Pets, which followed a terrier named Max (Louis C.K.) as his life is upended when his owner adopts a stray dog that leads to both of them becoming stranded and embarking on a journey home. The film might not have scored fantastic reviews as some of the other predecessors on this list, but it did earn generally positive reviews from critics for its humor and bright animation, and thanks to its near $900 million box office returns, a sequel was commissioned with the original director, producers and one writer returning. However, due to the revelations of his misconduct, C.K. will not be returning for the sequel, leaving it unclear whether Max will return for the sequel or not.
The Call of the Wild
The novel is one of the most widely celebrated of the 1900s, and after numerous live-action adaptations, director Chris Sanders (The Croods) will bring an animated adaptation to the big-screen. The choice to animate this film is an interesting twist, as the novel features a lot of dark elements and tragedy not normally reserved for family-friendly material.
Spies in Disguise
Animation studio Blue Sky Productions has been very profitable for 20th Century Fox, delivering the hit Ice Age franchise, as well as The Peanuts Movie and Rio films, and their next film sounds as though it carries a lot of promise with Spies in Disguise. The film follows the world’s top spy (Smith) as he must team up with the socially inept scientist (Holland) who designs all of his gadgets in order to save the day.
While many modern audiences who grew up watching Nickelodeon have complained about the quality of their programming going down in recent years, one current show that has received praise from critics and audiences has been The Loud House, about the daily life of the middle child in a family of 11. The series has received praise for its animation and heartwarming themes, along with the inclusion of same sex parents, Howard and Harold McBride. After two vastly successful seasons, Nickelodeon greenlit a film adaptation of the series, which is set to feature all of the cast members from the show while still searching for a director of the film.
While comic book adaptations are all the rage in both the film and television worlds, webcomics have never seen the light of the big-screen, and 2020’s Nimona seeks to change all that. The comic series follows the titular young shape-shifter who teams up with a mad scientist to expose the evils of the ruler of the kingdom. The film will be directed by Patrick Osborne (Big Hero 6) and will hit theaters in February.
Though films based on children’s toys have struggled to prove both financially and critically successful, the DreamWorks family adventure Trolls, based on the small dolls of the same name, proved to be a hit in both departments, earning very positive reviews and nearly $350 million at the box office. Due to this success, a sequel has been ordered by new DreamWorks owner, Universal Pictures, for an April 2020 release with the original stars, director and producer set to return for the follow-up.
“I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for you meddling kids and that dumb dog too!”
Scooby-Doo is one of the longest-running and most beloved childhood character in television and film history thanks to his slapstick and lovable nature, as well as his and best friend Shaggy’s insatiable appetite. After numerous TV shows and two live-action big-screen adaptations, Warner Bros. will bring the Scooby Gang to big screen in the animated format that will be the first in a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe, and will hit theaters May 15, 2020.
The titular yellow balls of mischief have become one of the most popular and celebrated children characters in the genre, as their rambunctious nature and semi-nonsensical language have drawn laughter and love from critics and audiences. After two films acting as Gru’s henchmen in the Despicable Me predecessors, they finally got their first solo film in 2015 that, though receiving modest reviews from critics, earned over $1 billion at the box office, driving Illumination Entertainment to order a sequel with original director Balda, who will co-direct it with Brad Ableson, and original writer Brian Lynch returning.
Though it got a rough start in its debut season, Fox’s animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers has become one of their most popular and celebrated series in their programming, the blend of family-friendly and risque humor, musical numbers and talented cast receiving greater reviews as the series has gone on. Currently in its eighth season. Similar to another FOX sitcom, The Simpsons, the network has ordered a big-screen adaptation of the series to be written by show creator Loren Bouchard, who said in an interview with Deadline that the film will “scratch every itch the fans of the show have ever had” while also hoping to reach out to new audiences who haven’t watched the series prior.
The SpongeBob Movie
Having debuted nearly 20 years ago, SpongeBob SquarePants has become one of the longest-running children’s animated shows, not only in history, but also for Nickelodeon, with 11 seasons and over 200 episodes as of now. While the first film was intended as a series finale by original show creator, the network ordered more episodes after the critical and commercial success, and saw Stephen Hillenburg leave the series for a while, eventually returning in 2014 for both the series and second film, which would be an even greater financial hit than its predecessor and earned more positive reviews. Shortly after the film’s success, Viacom announced a third film was in development, and after a couple years’ worth of delays, filming is finally underway with a July 2020 release set.
The Croods 2
The Croods came out five years ago and though most animated sequels tend to take that long to hit the big screen, its sequel has been through a more troublesome production phase, with constant delays, crew shakeups and studio changes – even having been cancelled at one point. However, after Universal’s acquisition of DreamWorks, it was revived. And while most isn’t known about the plot, the original cast will return to their roles and the film is set for a late 2020 release.
The Boss Baby 2
Often times with animated films, audiences will find a film more enjoyable than the critics, as they’re typically geared for the younger viewers whose parents happen to be tagging along. Though it didn’t receive nearly as negative reviews as other successful films in the genre, The Boss Baby was not one of the more well-loved pictures in 2017 from critics who derided it for its dull plot and mundane jokes, despite a solid concept and lead voice performance from Alec Baldwin. The film did, however, earn nearly half-a-billion dollars at the box office and an Oscar nomination for best animated film, leading Universal Pictures to order a sequel with Baldwin set to return in the titular role.