Animated movies, for the most part, are a fun watch. Done right they are family-friendly affairs balancing the right amount of kiddy humor with knowing nods in the direction of adults. 2020 will see no shortage as Disney, Pixar, and Illumination all return with animated movies. Of course, they aren’t the only studios in the animation game.
For our purposes, we are going to include only totally animated movies. These are the biggest animated movies coming soon.
Onward – March 6, 2020
One of the more anticipated movies arrives early in 2020. Disney and Pixar are back with Onward ,which brings for the second time in early 2020 the voice talent of Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Far From Home) and also includes Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy). They star as two elf brothers who begin a quest to see if there is still magic left in the world, in hopes they can see their father, who passed away shortly after one of the elf brothers was born.
Onward has gotten a lot of buzz for containing one of the first openly LGBTQ characters in Pixar history. Except it won’t have that character in Russia. CINEMABLEND says that Russian censors are forcing Pixar to edit out the movie’s brief reveal that a female character has a “girlfriend”.
Pixar it seems is cooperating, since that’s their only way to get the movie released in the country. Now a scene in which the character mentions having a “girlfriend” has been re-dubbed so the character simply says the word “partner”.
Onward Box Office
Onward opened on the weekend of March 6, 2020 to one of the worst box office performances ever by a Pixar movie. It’s $40 million weekend total is the third lowest ever opening by any other Pixar movie. Its topped for this dishonor only by Toy Story (which was Pixar’s first movie) and The Good Dinosaur (which made $39.5 million in 2015).
As the only big opener in this week Onward still managed to be the number one movie at the box office. There are other mitigating circumstances too… it could be that mounting Coronavirus fears around the world prompted audiences who might have otherwise bought a ticket to stay home. Still though, that $40 million total will permanently label Onward as one of Pixar’s biggest box office disappointments ever.
Trolls World Tour – April 17, 2020
Another sequel, this one to the 2016 DreamWorks Animation release. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return to voice Poppy and Branch, two trolls who find out that they are a part of one of six troll tribes devoted to different forms of music. They have to visit these tribes in order to stop Queen Barb and her father King Thrash from destroying all types of music except for their own hard rock. Ozzy Osborne voices the King while Gwen Stefani and James Corden lend their voices.
Scoob! – May 15, 2020
The gang is back! More to the point, the Gang is formed! This Warner Bros. animated movie gives fans the story, in part, of how Mystery Inc. of Scooby Doo fame began. It also puts them in the middle of one of the group’s biggest mysteries, the plot to release Cerberus, the ghost dog, upon the world.
Frank Welker lends his voice as Scooby, the only original Scooby Doo cast member to return. Will Forte, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, and Gina Rodriguez are on board as Mystery Inc. with Tracy Morgan, Ken Jeong, and Mark Wahlberg pitching in.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge On The Run – May 22, 2020
Gary the snail has been snail-napped! Now SpongeBob and Patrick must venture out into their world and ours to track down Gary. Their travels take them to the Lost City of Atlantic City where they must face Poseidon, the snail-napper. Along the way, they meet up with some strange characters which include Keanu Reeves, Awkwafina and Snoop Dog. This third SpongeBob feature also shows how Spongebob and Gary met as kids.
Soul – June 19, 2020
This is the second Disney/Pixar release of 2020. Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up, Inside Out) brings back his Oscar-winning talent to this story about a Jazz player who finally gets his chance. But before he can see it through, he is involved in an accident that causes his soul to be separated from his body. Now his soul must work with others to return his soul before it’s too late.
Jamie Foxx is the Jazz player and Tina Fey (who helped co-write Soul) is 22, a trapped soul.
Minions: The Rise of Gru – July 3, 2020
Illumination is bringing the Minions back for the summer of 2020. This time, Gru is coming back with them. Steve Carell once again lends his voice as Gru and as the title suggests, this sequel to the 2015 Minions tells of their first encounter with a young law-breaking Gru.
The first ever teaser trailer for Minions: The Rise of Gru is here…
This storyline for this animated sequel movie was first teased at the end of the Minions movie, where a young Gru shows up. Judging from the teasers, this film will then pick up right where Minions left off.
Bob’s Burgers: The Movie – July 17, 2020
Not much is known concerning the plot of Fox’s animated series turned movie. The original voices of the Bob’s Burgers TV show are expected to return and it has been described as a musical adventure comedy. This formula has worked for Fox animated shows before, most notably with the highly successful The Simpsons Movie back in 2007. The Simpsons Movie managed to make nearly $200 million at the box office.
Connected – September 18, 2020
Connected is the new animated movie produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. If you don’t know those names, you should. They’ve been responsible for some of the best animated movies made in the past decade, including The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and most recently the Academy Award winning Into the Spiderverse.
Here’s the first trailer for Connected…
In Connected, an everyday family dealing with all the normal modern problems of technology decides to go on a road trip. While they’re out seeing the sights, there’s a robot uprising and somehow they have to save the world.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines – September 18, 2020
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is Sony Pictures Animation movie from producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).
The Mitchells are a dysfunctional bunch but they are loving. Their road trip is interrupted when tech all around the world starts an uprising. All electronic devices decide it is time they take over. Now the Mitchells, with the help of two malfunctioning robots, must get past their differences and work together to save the world.
Raya and the Last Dragon – November 25, 2020
Disney offers its third entry of 2020 with Raya and the Last Dragon. The story is set in a re-imagined Earth called Lumandra. An ancient civilization inhabits Lumandra where a warrior named Raya is on a quest to find the last dragon in the world. Cassie Steele voices Raya and Awkwafina is Sisu, the water dragon.
The Croods 2 – December 23, 2020
The original Croods was a big hit back in 2013, so it’s surprising DreamWorks Animation has taken this long to release a sequel. Stars Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Cloris Leachman, and Clark Duke return as the Croods and they are joined by Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann.
The story of The Croods 2 that challenges The Croods to their biggest threat: another family.
The Willoughbys – Spring 2020
This animated feature coming to Netflix is based on Lois Lowry’s book of the same name. The Willoughbys tells the story of the four Willoughby children who are abandoned by their selfish parents. The four children must come together and bring their old-fashioned values along to create a modern family.
Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, and Jane Krakowski lend their voices.
Wish Dragon – 2020
This animated film does not have a set release date, but it comes from Base Animation, a new animation studio and will be released by Sony. Voice cast includes Jackie Chan, John Cho and Constance Wu that is a genie-in-the-bottle type story when a boy encounters a dragon who can grant wishes.
Extinct – 2020
Again, no specific release date for this film but it is expected to come out in 2020. Flummels are donut-shaped animals and this story follows two, Op and Ed, as they accidentally travel through time from 1835 Shanghai, China to modern-day only to find out that their species is extinct. Now they need to not only save themselves but their species as well.
Rumble – January 29, 2021
Created in partnership with the WWE, Rumble is a giant monster wrestling movie which, from the first trailer, actually seems a lot like the Will Ferrell movie Blades of Glory. Watch the first trailer here…
The animated movie follows an out of shape monster (voiced by Will Arnett) training to be a wrestler in a future world where Godzilla-sized monsters wrestle in a ring for the amusement of the public.
Space Jam 2 – July 16, 2021
The idea of making a sequel to the 1990s Michael Jordan animated movie vehicle Space Jam started out almost as an internet joke. But now it’s a thing that’s really happening.
Instead of Michael Jordan, his NBA heir apparent Lebron James will star alongside the usual group of animated Looney Tunes characters. Lebron is also producing the film. We expect his acting to be at least as good as that of Jordan’s, which isn’t saying much.
In addition to Lebron and Bugs Bunny’s gang, the movie has also cast Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green and Don Cheadle.
The original Space Jam also included human actors on the team, but in the original those human actors played themselves. Bill Murray, for instance, was just playing Bill Murray. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Space Jam 2. When asked about it Don Cheadle revealed, “No, I’m not playing myself. I actually can’t tell you what I’m playing.”
“What” not “who” is an interesting choice of words. It could be that Cheadle isn’t even playing a human, let alone himself. The original movie featured Looney Tunes characters and humans teaming up to win a basketball game against aliens, thus saving everyone from enslavement. Maybe Cheadle will end up on the alien team.
Animated Movies In Early Development
The Simpsons Movie 2
Okay Simpsons fans let’s count the ways. We’ve had over 30 years and close to 675 episodes of the Simpsons. We’ve had video games, toys, and we’ve had theme park rides based on The Simpsons. We’ve even been blessed with a movie. But the one thing we, as Simpsons fans, haven’t had? A sequel to that movie. D’oh! Well hold on to your bootstraps because word has it that a new Simpsons movie is on its way.
True, the movie, according to long-time Simpsons producer Al Jean, is in the “very, very early stages”, as he told Slash Film recently. “I would say yes although we’re just in the very, very early stages. We would love to do one for Disney but it’s not like it’s happening next week or next year. At D23 Matt [Groening] said, ‘I think it’s gonna happen’ and I agree with that. So, I agree with that statement. I believe it will happen.” Jean also confirmed that when this new film takes flight that it won’t be a direct sequel to the Simpsons movie from 13 years ago.
While there isn’t a definite start date, plot, or even if it will be a big-screen release or head straight to Disney+, the fact that a new movie is on the horizon should make all Simpson fans shout out a big “WooHoo!”
Disney is working on a remake of their 1942 classic animated movie Bambi. They’re calling it a “live-action” remake but since there really aren’t any humans in the story and every animal in it will be CGI… this is just a computer animated remake of a 2D animated movie. They basically did the same thing with The Lion King only this is likely to have even less (if that’s possible) actual live-action footage.
So this new Bambi is a CGI version of the old Bambi. Since the original Bambi is so much older than more recent redos like The Lion King, it might be tempting to try and amp up the story for modern audiences, but THR says that isn’t happening. Their insiders tell them Disney is not planning to force this new Bambi into being something bigger, narratively, than the old one.
To make the new Bambi they’ve hired Geneva Robertson-Dworet (co-writer of Captain Marvel) and Lindsey Beer to write the script. It was recently announced that Robertson-Dworet won’t be back to write Captain Marvel 2, as Disney is bringing in a new creative team for that sequel.