If we learned anything from 2020, it’s not to take things for granted. And that includes quality time watching great family movies. Luckily, there are a ton of new family movies coming in 2021, and we can’t wait. We’re talking new streaming movies (hello, Netflix and Disney+) and new theatrical family movie releases for when theaters reopen. So get the snacks ready and check out our top picks for the best new kids’ movies in 2021.


What makes one of Disney’s most infamous villains just so villainous? And what’s with her obsession with dalmatians? Find out in Cruella, the origin story of Cruella de Vil, which is based in 1970’s London and features Emma Stone as the title character.

Directed by: Alex Timbers and Craig Gillespie
Starring: Emma Stone, Joel Fry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Paul Walter Hauser, Emma Thompson
Studio: Disney
Opening on: May 28, 2021

photo: Common Sense Media


Follow along as an unusual friendship develops along the Italian Riviera between a local human and a sea monster in this new original movie from Pixar.

Directed by: Enrico Casarosa
Starring: John Ratzenberger, Drake Bell
Studio: Disney Pixar
Opening on: June 18, 2021

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Do we need to say anything other than Minions?! The next feature in the franchise tells the origin story of a young Gru and his quest to be a supervillain. This isn't the story of just any supervillain—it's the world’s greatest—and all about the minions that try to help him.

Directed by: Kyle Balda, Brad Abelson
Starring: Pierre Coffin
Studio: Universal
Opening on: July 2, 2021

Space Jam 2

LeBron James and Bugs Bunny star in this long-awaited sequel which puts LeBron and Company up against an evil A.I. basketball team. In order to get back home, they must win the game.  

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: LeBron James, Don Cheadle
Studio: Warner Bros
Opening on: July 16, 2021, with a simultaneous release on HBO Max

Jungle Cruise

This long-awaited movie, which was originally pushed back because of the pandemic, will be released in theaters next year. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt will take fans on quite the adventure down the Amazon in this movie based on Disneyland’s ride. In an alternate move, Disney is so far only releasing this one in theaters and not on Disney +.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti
Studio: Disney
Opening on: July 30, 2021

photo: iStock

Hotel Transylvania 4

We can safely say this fourth installment makes Dracula and fam an official franchise. Expect more “bleh bleh bleh,” but specifics for the plot aren’t being released just yet. But really, who doesn’t know what to expect from these fun films by now?

Directed by: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
Studio: Sony Pictures
Opening on: August 6, 2021

photo: iStock

Sing 2

The plot for this sequel to the toe-tapping 2016 film is being kept under wraps, but audiences for sure can expect another stellar soundtrack.

Directed by: Garth Jennings, Christophe Lourdelet
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes, John C. Reilly, Idina Menzel, Resse Witherspoon, Nick Kroll, Scarlett Johansson
Studio: Illumination
Opening on: December 22, 2021

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run

Spongebob and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to rescue Gary, and along the way, they find a bunch of funny characters as they journey to the Lost City of Atlantic City.

Directed by: Tim Hill
Starring: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence
Studio: Paramount
Opening on: 2021

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Clifford gets a live-action computer-animated makeover in this new film that follows a young girl and her giant puppy.

Directed by: Walt Becker
Starring: Darby Camp, Sienna Guillory, Rosie Perez
Studio: Paramount
Opening on: November 5, 2021


Rumble tells the story of a teenager who wants to follow in her father’s footsteps as a wrestling coach. In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport, she has to turn the underdog into a champion. Can she do it? Find out!

Directed by: Hamish Grieve
Starring: Will Arnett, Terry Crews, Ben Schwartz
Studio: Paramount
Opening on: May 14, 2021

Paw Patrol The Movie

It was only a matter of time before everyone’s favorite furry pals got their own movie. Kids can follow Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye, Rocky, Zuma, Everest and Tracker as they head out on a major rescue mission.

Directed by: Cal Brunker
Starring: Dax Shepard, Iain Armitage, Tyler Perry
Studio: Paramount
Opening on: August 20, 2021

The Addams Family 2

Featuring an all-star cast headed up by Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac, this sequel to the popular 2019 animated film follows everyone’s favorite spooky family as they encounter more crazy adventures.

Directed by: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Starring: Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac, Chloë Grace Moretz
Studio: Universal Pictures
Opening on: October 8, 2021

photo: Common Sense Media


This film follows a magical family in Colombia where one daughter doesn’t have any magical powers like the rest of her family. With songwriting brilliance from Lin-Manuel Miranda, we’re sure this movie will boast quite a few songs to remember.

Directed by: Jared Bush
Starring: To be announced
Studio: Disney
Opening on: November 24, 2021

photo: iStock

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure

This animated feature from Netflix will tell the story of the 1969 moon landing from two very different points of view.

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Zachary Levi, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Samuel Davis
Studio: Netflix
Opening on: 2021

photo: iStock

My Father’s Dragon

Fans of the award-winning children’s books of the same name will love this animated take on a boy who runs away and befriends a baby dragon.

Directed by: Nora Twomey
Starring: To be announced
Studio: Netflix
Opening on: 2021

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

Executive producer Guillermo del Toro brings this popular trilogy to a close with Rise of the Titans. The heroes are back for another epic adventure in Arcadia. Your favorite characters are reunited on a quest to control the magic that connects them. 

Directed by: Johane Matte, Francisco Ruiz-Velasco, Andrew L. Schmidt
Starring: Nick Frost, Nick Offerman, Diego Luna, Steven Yeun, Kelsey Grammer, Charlie Saxton
Studio: Netflix
Opening on: 2021

photo: Common Sense Media


This reimagining of the fairytale features Camila Cabello as Cinderella, Billy Porter as her genderless fairy Godmother, and Idina Menzel as the stepmother. With musical powerhouses like that, it’s sure to be a fantastic live-action version of the classic. Plus, James Corden is producing and starring as one of the famed mice, along with John Mulaney. Music, laughs, and magic? Sign us up.

Directed by: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel
Studio: Sony Pictures
Opening on: February 5, 2021

photo: Common Sense Media

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

Everyone’s favorite talking rabbit will find himself in new surroundings in this sequel, having left the farm for the big city. You can bet the beloved rabbit will be knee-deep in mischief and will find some pretty hilarious ways to get out of trouble. The movie is currently slated to open in theaters, but given the uncertainty of Covid restrictions this, as well as the release date, can change.

Directed by: Will Gluck
Starring: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Opening on: April 2, 2021

photo: Common Sense Media

Raya and the Last Dragon

This animated feature film tells the story of Raya, a young warrior who is on a quest to find—you guessed it—the last dragon in order to save the world. It’s a story about learning to trust others and finding out that magic will only get you so far. The movie is scheduled to be simultaneously released in theaters and on Disney + Premier access, so you’ll have a choice of where to watch.

Directed by: Paul Briggs, Dean Wellins
Starring: Awkwafina, Cassie Steele
Studio: Disney
Opening on: March 5, 2021

Tom and Jerry

Everyone’s favorite mischief-making duo is back, this time for a live-action and animated feature-length film. What starts as typical cat-and-mouse hijinks turns into Tom and Jerry having to work together to tackle an even bigger problem. The movie is scheduled to be released in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously.

Directed by: Tim Story
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Ken Jeong, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney
Studio: Warner Bros
Opening on: February 26, 2021

Boss Baby 2: Family Business

The sequel to the Oscar-nominated blockbuster Boss Baby brings the Templeton brothers back together and on a mission to start a family business (with some direction from a new boss baby).

Directed by: Tom McGrath
Starring: Amy Sedaris, James Marsden, Jeff Goldblum, Alec Baldwin
Studio: Dreamworks
Opening on: March 26, 2021


Vivo is an animated musical adventure featuring songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and tells the story of music and friendship. Specific plot points are being kept under wraps, but expect dazzling locales not seen before in animated film.  

Directed by: Kirk DeMicco
Starring: To be announced
Studio: Sony Pictures
Opening on: June 4, 2021

— Jesseca Stenson


Featured image: iStock



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