A scene from Finding Dory. Courtesy Walt Disney Motion Pictures Canada.
With two children controlling my life it’s very rare I get to see anything in the theatre these days that isn’t animated or family-oriented. When I look back on what I saw in 2015, it was movies like Inside Out, Home, Minions, The Peanuts Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Good Dinosaur (no, I have not seen The Force Awakens yet).
In my former life as a film critic I used to see an average of 200 films a year — across all genres — so this adjustment hasn’t been easy for me. That said, 2016 thankfully looks to be a good year for family movies. I’ve counted a total of 18 films I might be able to see in the theatre, seven of which I’m really excited for (listed below).
Zootopia (March 4)
The story behind Disney’s Zootopia doesn’t appear to be that original (talking animals, one doesn’t fit in, etc.), but the colourful animation and voice cast (including CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge as Peter Moosebridge) have me and my kids really excited for it. Check out the trailer below.
The Angry Birds Movie (May 20)
I love the silliness of the Angry Birds game franchise and can’t wait to see how that translates to the big screen. From the trailer (below) I gather The Angry Birds Movie is going to be a lot of slapstick humour and fart jokes, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m also happy to see the likes of Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride and Jason Sudeikis lending their voices to the film.
Finding Dory (June 17)
Finding Nemo is cherished by many as one of the best films in the Pixar library and I feel it would be nearly impossible for them to mess up a sequel 13 years in the making. With Ellen DeGeneres back voicing the Dory character and Andrew Stanton back in the director’s chair, I’m also betting Finding Dory will be one of the biggest critical and box office hits from Pixar in a long time. Check out the trailer below.
The BFG (July 1)
Steven Spielberg teams up with Disney for this live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel about a Big Friendly Giant who refuses to eat children. My 4-year-old says The BFG looks too scary, but my 8-year-old — who is currently reading the book — is pumped for it almost as much as I am. Watch the trailer below.
The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
From the people who brought you the Despicable Me films, The Secret Life of Pets looks to be filled with silly humour and beautiful animation. My kids can’t enough of the trailer (below) because they find it so funny and cute (this seems to be the consensus with others online as well).
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (December 25)
Tim Burton adapts Ransom Riggs’ novel about a teenager who embarks on an adventure to an abandoned orphanage after a family tragedy. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of the few family-friendly Burton films to not include Johnny Depp (Samuel L. Jackson gets top billing on the IMDb). No trailer or poster has been released yet.
**Sony has moved the release date of Jumanji to July 28, 2017**
As a fan of the 1995 Robin Williams-Kirsten Dunst film, I’m intrigued with what they will do with this “re-imaging” of Jumanji. Not much information is available yet (no cast has even been announced) but it will be out on Christmas Day according to the IMDb. I recently watched the original Jumanji with my boys and it holds up really well.
Other family and kid-friendly movies opening in 2016 include Norm of the North (January 15), Kung Fu Panda 3 (January 29), The Jungle Book (April 15), Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27), Ice Age: Collision Course (July 26), Pete’s Dragon (August 12), Storks (September 23), Trolls (November 4), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18), Sing (December 21) and Moana (December 26)
What are you (or your kids) looking forward to seeing this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.