The Best Family Movies of 2016

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2015 was a great year for good family movies. Inside Out was as great as we’d hoped, The Force Awakens released (we count it as a family movie), and Minions was amazing.

But now it’s 2016’s turn, and judging by this bulking list of movies, there are going to be quite a few good kids movies in theaters during the year.

This list contains not only the upcoming animated movies of 2016, but also the live-action family-oriented films that are set to be released at some point during the year (for better or for worse). Luckily, quite a few of these are on our must-see movies of 2016 list, too.

So without further ado, here are all of the family and kids movies in theaters in 2016, in a handy-dandy calendar.

1. Norm of the North

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Starring: Heather Graham, Bill Nighy, Ken Jeong, Rob Schneider

Norm of the North is an upcoming animated adventure comedy (I’ll use “comedy” very loosely, here) that will follow the story of a polar bear named NOrm and his three lemming friends whom find themselves in New York City. While in the big apple, Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation which he learns is responsible for his being displaced from his arctic home. The film will star the voices of Heather Graham, Bill Nighy, Ken Jeong and Rob Schneider. Conceptually, it has the makings of a solid offering, but judging by the trailers and footage we’ve seen, it has dud written all over it.

2. The Nut Job 2

kids movies

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Starring: Jeff Dunham, Joe Pingue, Rob Tinkler

Somehow, a Nut Job 2 got the greenlight at Open Road Films (they must be desperate for a hit). We don’t even know if the movie is still coming out, as there has been no advertising, no trailers, and well, no mere mention of it since Open Road announced it would go head to head with Norm of the North. Even if it does see the light of day, we strongly advise you to skip it.

3. Kung Fu Panda 3

Animation movies

Release Date: January 29, 2016
Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, Lucy Liu

It’s going to be tough for Kung Fu Panda 3 to carve out a place in our hearts when it hits theaters at the end of the month. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, especially given the film’s star-studded cast that includes Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, Lucy Liuj, and more. This time around, Po will be reunited with his long lost father who suddenly reappears. The new duo ventures to a secret panda paradise before they’re interrupted by Kai, a supernatural villain.

You can watch the first Kung Fu Panda 3 trailer here.

4. Zootopia

Release Date: March 4, 2016
Starring: Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba, Alan Tudyk

In March, Disney will release the first in their lineup of kids movies in theaters in 2016 with Zootopia. The movie will focus on a fox and a rabbit, an unlikely pair, whom are forced to team up to uncover a conspiracy. The first Zootopia trailer we saw had us laughing out loud, and we’re pretty sure that this is going to be one of the top 5 animated movies of 2016.

5. The Jungle Book

Release Date: April 15, 2016
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley

A live-action Jungle Book movie with an A-List cast and A-list director. Count us all in when this family movie hits theaters in April.

6. The Secret Life of Pets

Release Date: July 8, 2016
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Kevin Hart, Louis C.K.

It’s going to be hard to not go into The Secret Life of Pets already expecting to laugh, given the fact that the cast includes Kevin Hart (funny), Louis CK (hilarious), and Ellie Kemper (also hilarious). The film is filled with great comedians like Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey, and Bobby Moynihan. The movie will take place in a Manhattan apartment building in which a group of pets have to team up to take on an adorable white bunny named Snowball who is building an army of abandoned pets to seek revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.

Check out the first The Secret Life of Pets trailer here.

7. Ratchet & Clank

Release Date: April 29, 2016
Starring: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye and Jim Ward, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone and Rosario Dawson

Video game movies rarely work, but we think the Ratchet & Clank movie just might pull it off. The movie will tell the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien, Chairman Drek, from destroying every planet in the galaxy.

Read more about Ratchet & Clank here.

8. The Angry Birds Movie

Release Date: May 20, 2016
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon

The Angry Birds Movie seems about six years too late, but it’s quite possible that it could reinvigorate the franchise. The film has a fantastic cast that includes Game of Thrones‘ Peter Dinklage, as well as Josh Gad (Frozen), Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon and Jason Sudeikis.

9. Alice Through the Looking Glass

Release Date: May 27, 2016

Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham

The sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland live-action film.

10. Finding Dory

Finding Dory plot

Release Date: June 16, 2016
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton

The Finding Nemo sequel will have Dory as the focal point.

WATCH: The First Finding Dory trailer here.

Find tickets and showtimes on Fandango.

11. The BFG

Release Date: July 1, 2016
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance

The BFG is an interesting fantasy family movie concept that we’re really diggin’. It’s based on the book by Roald Dahl of the same name, and it’s about a girl named Sophie who encounters the Big Friendly Giant, a kindly giant who is considered an outcast by the rest of the giants because he refuses to eat children. Your kids might come away from it with nightmares, but we think Disney is going to handle it nicely.

**The BFG is not yet rated, but it’s listed as a family movie on IMDB. So, for now, we’ve included it on this list. We’ll update accordingly.

12. Ice Age: Collision Course

Release Date: July 22, 2016
Starring: Simon Pegg, Melissa Rauch, Jennifer Lopez

Ice Age 5, now titled Ice Age: Collision Course, probably isn’t necessary at this point; we get it. But the movie is set to hit theaters in July 2016, with the gang returninng. This time, while pursuing the ever-elusive acorn, Scrat accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet.

13. Pete’s Dragon

family movies 2016

Release Date: August 12, 2016
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Karl Urban

The Pete’s Dragon reboot is set to hit theaters in August 2016, with Jurassic World‘s Bryce Dallas Howard, and Robert Redford in tow.

14. Storks

Release Date: September 23, 2016
Starring: Andy Samberg, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelsey Grammer

From the studio that brought us The LEGO MovieStorks will set out to explain where babies come from. Of course, it will do it in a cutesy, animated cartoon movie way. Junior, a company stork, accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an unauthorized baby girl. Junior and his new friend (which he has named Tulip) will take Tulip on a journey to find her a home. It has the makings of a Monsters Inc. situation with Boo, but if anyone could make an animated movie funny, it’s Andy Samberg.

15. Trolls

Release Date: November 4, 2016
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Russell Brand

Another unlikely duo team-up movie starring Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick as trolls.

16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18, 2016
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell

The internet was abuzz when the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer hit the web. The movie will follow the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches set seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

**Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not yet rated, but because it’s listed on IMDB as a family movie, we’ve included it on this list for now.

17. Moana

kids movies in theaters 2016

Release Date: November 23, 2016
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Auli’l Carvalho

Moana is a gorgeous-looking bit of animation that will follow the titular character, a young woman (Auli’l Carvalho) who uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island with a legendary demi-god named Maui (Dwayne Johnson). It’s one of our most anticipated family movies of 2016.

18. Sing

Sing Animated Movie

Release Date: December 21, 2016
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Reese Witherspoon, Tori Kelly

Scarlett Johansson will be in two kids movies in theaters in 2016, as she’ll also voice for Sing, a movie that follows a koala bear named Buster who hosts a singing competition to save his dwindling theater business.

19. Jumanji Reboot

jumanji reboot 2016

Release Date: December 25, 2016
Starring: TBA

The 2016 Jumanji film is supposed to be a re-imagining of the 1995 film that starred Robin Williams, but there’s no way that it’s going to sit well with audiences, given the fact that Williams made the original what it was. Without Williams, you’ve got nothing. I doubt that the movie will be one of the good family movies of 2016, but never judge a book by its cover, I suppose.

20. Sly Cooper

Sly cooper movie

Release Date: TBA 2016
Starring: Ian James Corlett, Matt Olsen, Chris Murphy

The third video game movie to hit theaters in 2016 will be Sly Cooper, based on the PlayStation franchise. The movie will follow Sly Cooper, an orphaned racoon, who discovers that he comes from a long line of highly-skilled thieves. It should make for a fun family film.

21. Animal Crackers

Release Date: TBA 2016
Starring: Emily Blunt, Sylvester Stallone, John Krasinski

Talk about an out-there concept. Animal Crackers is about a family who must use a magical box of Animal Crackers to save a failing circus from being taken over by an evil man, Horatio P. Huntington. It’s set to star Emily Blunt, Sly Stallone, and John Krasinski, as well as Danny DeVito, Raven-Symone, and Harvey Fierstein.

What 2016 family movies are you looking forward to the most? Sound off in the comments below — we’d love to hear from our readers!

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See Also:

All Upcoming Animated Movies of 2016 & Beyond

37 Upcoming Sci-Fi Movies of 2016 & Beyond

Upcoming Star Wars Movies

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