Walk into any movie theater and you’ll find a wide array of science fiction, action, comedy and horror. Turn on Netflix and you’ll find the same. But if you’re looking for a family movie you haven’t already seen with your kids, you’ll have to plan ahead.
You can’t watch just anything with everyone in your family. So we’re here to help. Get out your calendars and take notes, these are the biggest family movies on their way to theaters and streaming soon in your homes.
Disney Shutting Down
Due to concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus, Disney has announced they’re shutting down production on nearly every movie they’re working on.
It started when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings announced they were pausing production when the movie’s director was suspected of contracting COVID-19. Now though, Disney has gone ahead and shut down pretty much everything else.
The list of movies having their productions include the live action Little Mermaid, Home Alone, The Last Duel, Nightmare Alley, Peter Pan & Wendy and Shrunk.
The shutdown comes even though no one else involved with any of these other movies has yet tested positive for the pandemic. It’s precautionary for now.
Disney issued the following statement: “While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time. We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible.“
FAMILY MOVIES WITH RELEASE DATES
- RELEASE DATE – TBA
Another live-action family movie remake from Disney, Mulan plans to take a more serious approach than its animated counterpart. Gone are all the things that made the animated movie fun and in its place Disney has opted to go the route of the more serious Chinese folklore The Ballad of Mulan. But seeing this is a Disney film, don’t be surprised if certain fun elements remain. Liu Yifei stars as Mulan.
In theory Mulan is a family movie, given that it’s one of Disney’s live-action adaptations of a classic, but it’s probably not for younger kids. Mulan is the first ever of Disney’s live-action remakes to get slapped with a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. The MPAA says it’s been “Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence. “ Given that it’s a war movie, I guess that makes sense, especially since they’ve removed most of the fun, kid-focused elements like the talking dragon for this version.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
- RELEASE DATE – TBA
Mischief maker Peter is back in this sequel to the 2018 hit Peter Rabbit. James Corden returns to voice Peter as he finds himself a runaway when his human “parents” leave for their honeymoon. He then discovers a world where his mischief is finally appreciated until his family comes to bring him home. Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne return as Peter’s “parents”.
The Secret Garden
- RELEASE DATE – TBA
Mary Lennox is a young girl sent to her uncle’s remote country estate after her parents suddenly die. One day as she is out exploring, she finds a hidden magical garden. This family movie is based on the 1911 novel of the same name and stars Julie Walters (Mamma Mia!) and Colin Firth (Love Actually).
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run
- RELEASE DATE – August 14, 2020
Gary the snail has been kidnapped! Now SpongeBob and Patrick must travel outside of Bikini Bottom to the Lost City of Atlantic City to confront Poseidon, Gary’s snail-napper. Along the way, this family movie will show us how SpongeBob and Gary met.
The new movie will stream on CBS All-Access, instead of waiting to be released in theaters.
- RELEASE DATE – November 20, 2020
Soul is another upcoming Disney-Pixar family movie effort. Joe Gardner is a music teacher with a lifelong dream of becoming a jazz player and perform on stage. After impressing at an opening act, Joe finally gets his chance at the big time. Unfortunately, a terrible accident forces Joe’s soul from his body to be sent to the “You Seminar” center where souls gain passions and develop before they go back into newborn children. Now Joe must work with other souls in order for his to return to Earth before time runs out.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
- RELEASE DATE – July 2, 2021
The Rise of Gru is a sequel to the 2015 movie Minions and also a spin-off/prequel to Despicable Me. In this story, the Minions have their first encounter with a young Gru. Steve Carell returns to voice Gru. You either love the Minions or you don’t. If you love them, you’ll want to see this. If you don’t, then you’ve probably already stopped reading everything I’m writing about this family movie.
- RELEASE DATE – 2021
The gang is back! Or so we are told. It has been confirmed that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson will reprise their roles in some manner while Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts also return. The plot of Ghostbusters: Afterlife centers around the grandkids of Harold Ramis’ (he passed away on 2014) Egon character as they move to an Oklahoma farm with their single mother and begin to learn the secrets of their grandfather’s legacy. Exactly how family friendly this movie is remains to be seen, but the original Ghostbusters movie get heavy viewing amongst kids in a lot of homes.
- RELEASE DATE – TBA
Jungle Cruise is another Disney family movie addition to the 2020 release schedule. This one Disney hopes will kick-off a possible franchise in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean. They’ve chosen the perfect movie star to lead the way with Dwayne Johnson as a riverboat captain in the early 20th Century. He’s is hired to take a scientist, played by Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) and her brother on a journey to find the Tree of Life which is told to have healing powers. Of course, they will have to tangle with various jungle creatures and a German expedition that will stop at nothing to possess the tree’s powers.
The second trailer for Jungle Cruise is the movie’s best. It features a snake coming out of a guy’s face (I thought this was a family movie??) and The Rock wrestling a leopard. Watch…
The One and Only Ivan
- RELEASE DATE – AUGUST 14, 2020
It’s still summer in August which means there is enough time for one more Disney family movie release. This one is about a gorilla named Ivan who finds himself living in a cage with an elephant named Stella and a dog named Bob at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. None of them can recall how they got there. Then an abused baby elephant joins their group and Ivan begins to care for the baby, along with those around him. So with the help of the janitor’s daughter Julia, they try to turn things around at the mall. This mixture of live animation and CGI stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) along with the vocal talents of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, and Helen Mirren.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
- RELEASE DATE – SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
The dysfunctionally fun-loving family the Mitchells are out on a road trip when it is interrupted by a tech uprising across the globe. Phones, refrigerators, even a new line of robots, decide it is time to take over the world. So now the Mitchells have to work out their own family squabbles while dealing with this uprising by working together to save the world.
- RELEASE DATE – OCTOBER 9, 2020
This is the second family movie version of The Witches based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 children’s novel. The first one starred Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch but this 2020 version has brought in Anne Hathaway to take on that role. The story tells of a seven-year-old boy who is staying with his grandmother at a hotel and he stumbles onto a conference of witches. He is seen by the Grand High Witch and she turns him into a mouse for his troubles. He must now find a way back to his normal body.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
- RELEASE DATE – NOVEMBER 13, 2020
Details are scarce on this live-action feature starring everyone’s favorite 25-foot tall red dog and a child named Emily Elizabeth. Darby Camp (Big Little Lies, NO4A2) stars as young Emily. Clifford also stars Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump), Jack Whitehall (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) and John Cleese (Monty Python fame)
Raya and the Last Dragon
- RELEASE DATE – NOVEMBER 25, 2020
Once again Disney is making their presence known with a release coming out in time for the holidays. This one comes from their own animation studio and follows a warrior named Raya in search of the last dragon in the world. Cassie Steele voices Raya while Awkwafina(Jumanji: The Next Level) lends her voice as Sisu, the last dragon.
Tom and Jerry
- RELEASE DATE – DECEMBER 23, 2020
Classic cartoon characters will hit the big screen right before Christmas in this live-action/animated movie. On the live-action side of things, Chloë Grace Moretz (The Equalizer), Michael Pena (Fantasy Island) and Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken) star in a movie that will be brought together by director Tim Story (Think Like A Man, Ride Along)
The Croods 2
- RELEASE DATE – DECEMBER 23, 2020
Our favorite prehistoric family is back to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This time, the Croods find a challenge with another prehistoric family, the Betterman’s, who claim to be better and thus more evolved. Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone return to help voice the Croods.
PAW Patrol: The Movie
- RELEASE DATE: August 2021
Paramount Pictures has announced a deal with Nickelodeon and Spin Master to bring the popular children’s animated series PAW Patrol to the big screen. The series has been airing since August of 2013 and it’s consistently been a huge hit among preschoolers.
The show is about a group of talking dogs who drive multi-functional vehicles on rescue missions led by a kid named Ryder. Parents who’ve watched it with their children know that almost none of it makes any logical sense and it has absolutely no educational value whatsoever. So preschoolers love it.
It’ll be interesting to see of Paramount Pictures invests the money to upgrade the quality of PAW Patrol’s animation. Though the show is perhaps the biggest ratings grabbing program for preschoolers, the computer animated episodes are of extremely low quality, visually. Part of that is likely by intent. Simple images are more easily understood by preschoolers, but another part is perhaps that they simply don’t invest all that much money in rendering things.
Any older than preschool and kids quickly grow out of PAW Patrol, so expect the movie to be aimed at forcing reluctant parents to take their toddlers to see it. Pity the theater employees who have to clean up the toddler mess after PAW Patrol showings.
FAMILY MOVIES IN DEVELOPMENT
Atlantis: The Lost Empire – Live-Action Remake
Atlantis is perhaps the most often overlooked movie in Disney’s animated film catalogue. It was made at the end of their golden age and marked an attempt at taking their 2D animated movies in a different direction. While a lot of people love it, it never really caught on at the box office. So you wouldn’t think Disney would be keen to revisit that world, but they are, and it’s happening.
Word is that Disney is working on a live-action remake of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. And what’s more they’re talking to Tom Holland about starring in the movie as Milo Thatch.
Though the movie didn’t really burn up the box office as an animated film, it does seem like an ideal candidate for a special-effects heavy live-action remake. It’s probably a better fit for Disney’s new live-action format than just about anything else they’ve done so far. This could be a lot of fun.
A remake of The Goonies is reportedly in early development. Released in 1985 the film quickly became a hit with kids, and those kids have now grown up filled with nostalgia for The Goonies they remember. Modern Hollywood runs on name recognition and nostalgia. Goonies has both, so a remake was inevitable.
Josh Boone is being considered to helm the project. He’s currently finishing up work on the upcoming superhero horror movie New Mutants. The tone of that movie, which is about misfit powered kids dealing with a creepy scenario, could potentially have a few things in common with Goonies. Maybe that’s why he’s being considered. However, New Mutant’s tortured production and struggle to get released is probably something a Goonies remake would want to avoid.
The original Goonies starred such future film luminaries as Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, and already a heartthrob Corey Feldman. We don’t know who will be in the new one yet, or how closely it will adhere to the plot. I don’t envy the guy tasked with trying to cast another Sloth.
Kids looking to audition for the new Goonies should look to Sean Astin for how to get cast. He recently shared his never before seen audition tape for the film, and it’s adorable. Watch…
The live-action remake of Aladdin did well at the box office and, surprisingly, it actually did pretty good with critics. Actually, it received the best reviews of any Disney live-action remake, with 82% of critics giving it a positive score. So Disney’s making a sequel.
It’s been confirmed that Aladdin 2 is happening. John Gatins and Andrea Berloff have been hired to write the script. We don’t know who, if anyone, from the first live-action remake will be involved in the sequel yet. It’s expected, though, that Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith will return.
The classic animated Aladdin actually got a sequel too. It was called The Return of Jafar and it ended up going straight-to-video in the nineties. For a straight-to-video release though (straight to video means people could only watch it on their VCR kids… a VCR is a thing that… nevermind), it was pretty successful and ended up in heavy rental rotation at Blockbuster among parents looking for things to watch with their family.
Dr. Seuss is perhaps the most frequently read children’s author of all time. His works have been adapted into numerous movies including, infamously, that time Jim Carrey played the Grinch. Now Jim Carrey is getting back involved in the world of Dr. Seuss, only this time he’s playing the Doctor himself.
The Illuminerdi says Carrey is in talks to play the famous author, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, in a movie about his life. Eyal Podell and Jonathan Stewart wrote the script for the movie, being called Seuss. The screenplay they wrote has long been hailed as one of the greatest unproduced scripts in Hollywood. No director has been attached yet.
Recently, biopics about popular entertainment figures in the lives of children have been popular, perhaps trading on Hollywood’s incessant need for nostalgia. The most popular of these are perhaps Saving Mr. Banks and Your Are My Friend, both of which starred Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Mr. Rogers, respectively.
Home Alone Again?
- RELEASE DATE – TBA
Disney has already confirmed that it is adding to the Home Alone legacy with another entry in the series. While it hasn’t been confirmed if the movie is a reboot, a continuation, a legacy sequel/reboot one thing is for certain, Disney is making it and the chances are strong (confirmed) it will premiere on the Disney+ streaming service. Another fun tidbit (here’s the juicy part) is that the original Home Aloner Kevin McCallister will be involved, with something about his own security company and how it will play into a new character whose home is set up with McCallister’s security system.
Jojo Rabbit’s Archie Yates has been picked to star along with Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2). It is unclear who they will all play but the movie is to be centered around Yates.
What are the chances of Macaulay Culkin jumping back into his McCallister shoes? They could be high as he has spoken often about the part, even reprising his role on a Google ad a Christmas or two ago.