Finding movies that the whole family will enjoy can be tough. So we looked around and found the most buzzed-about new movies for kids and parents—it turns out 2020 holds a treasure trove of new adventures for families. From theatrical release dates to cast information, we’ve got everything you need to know. Keep reading to see our top picks for the best new kids’ movies in 2020, and don’t forget the popcorn!

Dolittle

This is the third adaptation based on the Doctor Dolittle character since the classic 1967 film that starred Rex Harrison and 1998’s version with Eddie Murphy. This time it’s Robert Downey Jr. who talks to the animals in a reimagining of the story. Here, an eccentric famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure. Along for the ride is a bunch of animals with attitudes to match.

  • Directed by: Stephen Gaghan
  • Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes, Jim Broadbent, Octavia Spencer, Antonio Banderas and more.
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • In theaters January 17, 2020

Sonic the Hedgehog

You may remember a little hubbub that arose after Paramount Pictures released a trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie back in April. Fans hated the design of the main character, so the studio had to go back in and redesign the little blue guy, forcing the film to become delayed. Based on the Sonic video game franchise, Sonic has traveled to earth to hide from Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and asks a small-town sheriff (James Marsden) for help. While the film probably won’t do any favors for Jim Carrey’s career, it should delight many a young fan. Expect some mild rude humor jokes and over-the-top antics.

  • Directed by: Jeff Fowler
  • Cast: Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey and James Marsden
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • In theaters: February 14, 2020

The Call of the Wild 

Adapted from the beloved literary classic of the same name by Jack London, this film vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team—and later its leader—Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master. The movie mixes live action with high tech animation to make the wild animals look as realistic as possible.

  • Directed by: Chris Sanders
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford and Colin Woodell
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • In theaters February 21, 2020

Onward

Pixar has come a long way since the first Toy Story movie. This new adventure is set in a suburban neighborhood in a fantasy world where modern-day fairies, unicorns, mermaids, dragons and more live together in a land with no magic. But that's about to change for one family when two teenage elves, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, embark on a quest to find magic that will allow them to see their deceased father one more time. Disney and Pixar have a good track record for providing entertaining family fare, and we don’t expect anything less with this new movie.

  • Directed by: Dan Scanlon
  • Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Octavia Spencer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Pixar Animated Studios
  • In theaters March 6, 2020

My Spy

My Spy follows JJ, a hardened CIA operative (Dave Bautista) who has been demoted and finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) when he has been sent undercover begrudgingly to monitor her family. When Sophie discovers hidden cameras in her apartment, she uses her tech skills to locate where the surveillance operation is set. In exchange for not blowing JJ’s cover, Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance, JJ finds that he is no match for Sophie’s disarming charm and wit.

  • Directed by: Peter Segal
  • Cast: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Kristen Schaal and Ken Jeong
  • Studio: STX Films
  • In theaters: Mar. 13, 2020

Mulan

Disney’s new live-action version of Mulan appears to be a faithful adaptation of the animated film. It features a fearless young woman who risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father masquerading as a man. Unlike the former film, this is not a musical and doesn’t feature a friendly dragon to help Mulan get through her tasks, but it does send a positive message that upturns the ideals of a woman’s role in society. This may be more suited for the older kids in the family.

  • Directed by: Niki Caro
  • Cast: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An and Gong Li
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • In theaters March 27, 2020

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

Oh, that lovable rogue is back. Like the first film, this sequel doesn’t have the same tone that the original Beatrix Potter’s book did, but kids love him. In the new movie, Bea, Thomas, and the rabbits have created a makeshift family, but despite his best efforts, Peter can’t seem to shake his mischievous reputation. Adventuring out of the garden, Peter finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated, but when his family risks everything to come looking for him, Peter must figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be. If you liked the last film, you’ll probably like this one too but expect some rude humor.

  • Directed by: Will Gluck
  • Cast: James Cordon, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki and Margot Robbie
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures
  • In theaters April 10, 2020

Trolls World Tour

Trolls may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the first movie was popular enough to warrant a sequel and at least the music is catchy. This time around, Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) discover that they are one of six different types of Troll tribes located in six different lands and of course, they each prefer their own brand of music. Ozzy Osburne (we’re not kidding) is the villain this time playing the role of King Thrash who is bent on destroying all other kinds of music. This film will introduce little ones to different styles of music including funk, country, techno, classical, pop and rock in this animated adventure.

  • Directed by: Walt Dohn
  • Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, James Corden, Mary J. Blige and more
  • Studio: Universal Pictures/DreamWorks
  • In theaters April 17, 2020

Scoob

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo is coming back to movie theaters, and this time the movie promises to be a lot more family-friendly. The movie is sort of a hybrid showing how Scooby and Shaggy first met, how they met Fred, Daphne and Velma, and how they solved their first case. The story then fast forwards to the present, where the Mystery Inc. crew will face their biggest case yet! Plus, parents will love that a few other Hanna-Barbera characters will be shown as well, including Dick Dastardly, Dynomutt, The Blue Falcon and Captain Caveman.

  • Directed by: Tony Cervone
  • Cast: Frank Welker, Zac Efron, Will Forte, Jason Issacs, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan and Gina Rodriguez
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • In theaters May 15, 2020

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

It takes a special kind of parent to endure SpongeBob Squarepants. This summer, that special parent could be you. The famous sponge stars in his third full-length animated movie only this time he is being rendered in a 3D live-action/computer-animated version. The regular voice cast of the animated TV series is also expected to join on the fun.

  • Directed by: Tim Hill
  • Cast: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Keanu Reeves, Awkwafina, Reggie Watts and Snoop Dogg
  • Studio: Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon Movies
  • In theaters May 22, 2020

Soul

Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you... YOU? This new film by Pixar Animation Studios promises to take the viewer on a journey from the busy streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life’s most important questions. Directed by Pete Docter, who also directed Up and Inside Out and because of that, we know that Soul will have lots of “heart.”

  • Directed by: Pete Docter
  • Cast: Jamie Foxx, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs and Tina Fey
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Pixar Animated Studios
  • In theaters June 19, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984

The new adventures of Wonder Woman happen in 1984 with Diana Prince facing two new foes: The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). Plus, Steve Trevors is back, but we're not entirely sure how that happened. Truth? This is about all we know about the movie as of yet. Though many DC Comics movies are dark, the first Wonder Woman didn't follow suit, and this one looks to be just as uplifting.  
  • Directed by: Patty Jenkins
  • Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • In theaters June 5, 2020

Jungle Cruise

Disney’s latest ride-turned-movie involves the popular Jungle Cruise attractions. The movie stars Dwayne Johnson as a riverboat captain/tour guide offering super cheap cruises along the Amazon rivers and providing special effects to elevate the experience. Although his fake adventures turn real when an explorer (Emily Blunt) hires him to help her locate a rare plant that offers special healing powers. The trailer for the action/comedy looks like a cross between Pirates of the Carribean and The Riverboat Queen with elements that may prove to be too scary for the younger set.

  • Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • In theaters July 24, 2020

—Jeffrey Totey

 

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