We are not much of a TV watching family but when it comes to new movies, we love going to the theater together!
I think the kids get more excited about the previews for upcoming movies than they do the actually film sometimes 😉
So if you’re wondering what great kid & family movies are coming to a theater near you this year — we’ve got the list along with some of the awesome trailers and online activities the kids will enjoy while they wait for the film to come out!
Upcoming Kids Movies in Theaters for 2016
We love to share movies that are based on books — be sure to see our original list of the 25 Best Kids Books made into Movies — and have included affiliate links to any of the original books for these films and any pre-release DVD options too.
We’ve also included links to some AMAZING resources such as educator guides, activity sheets and more fun things the kids will enjoy.
Please note that although we do our best to research the release dates of each film, the producers and film companies will frequently change the date so be sure to check with your local theater before heading out to see a movie! Also, some of the movie ratings were not yet decided when we created the list so be sure to check those too.
29th – Kung Fu Panda (PG)
Panda fans will enjoy the newest film in the series — these are so funny for both kids & adults! You can also find online games for the kids to play on the official movie website.
The Kung Fu Panda 3 (DVD version) is already available for pre-order too.
19th – The Great Gilly Hopkins (limited release)
Although not being widely released in theaters across the country, we’re excited about this film as it’s based on a wonderful children’s book by the same name — The Great Gilly Hopkins . Be sure to read the book before seeing the film if it’s available in your area!
4th – Zootopia (PG)
This is on our Spring Break list — you can visit Zootopia online and learn about all the boroughs (or habitats) from the movie. And if you’d like a fun project to do with the film, why not have the kids Create their own Animal Habitat with these 40 fun ideas!
If you love those Disney films, you can also preorder the Zootopia DVD!
15th – The Jungle Book
This is the live action version of the famous story by Rudyard Kipling so be sure to read the book with the kids first! There are quite a few versions that fit various ages from picture books to advanced chapter books.
Disney first released it in 1967 as an animated film The Jungle Book – Animated which was a HUGE hit so we’re excited to see how the live action version compares.
And you can find both an Educator’s Guide to the movie along with a Kids Activity Pack on the main Disney website.
20th – Angry Birds (PG)
The funny spin behind this movie is that movie-goers will finally find out why these birds are so angry! 🙂 Quite a few big names voice the characters so if you have a fan of the game, I’m sure they’ll love the movie!
27th – Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG)
Another Disney live-action coming this year (sometimes I wonder if they’re fading out of the animation business?!) with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Based on the famous story by Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking-Glass transports the reader to a topsy-turvey world where we meet Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty and more fairytale characters.
More should be coming to the official website soon!
15th – Norm of the North (PG)
Norm Of The North is a polar bear who can talk to humans — which is a good thing since the human population has been moving in on the Arctic tundra and the animals don’t like it one bit! So they send Norm down to a human city in hopes of putting an end to this northern migration. Not many details out yet but looks to be a funny animated film.
17th – Finding Dory
Oh I so hope that Disney releases some fun activities to go with this movie!
We loved Finding Nemo (which I really think you should watch while you wait for this one) and can’t wait to see Dory!
And as a fun side trip, head to an aquarium and check out all the sea life in conjunction with seeing this film.
A very big month for kids films which is awesome with that hot weather that will probably be coming this summer 😉
1st – BFG
This is a must read the book first — The BFG was written by Roald Dahl and is one of his more famous stories (a great read!)
It’s about a young girl who meets a Big Friendly Giant who is an outcast in his world because he refuses to eat children. I’m sure there will be lots of great discussions that come from this film including the idea of being different from others and making friends.
1st – The Legend of Tarzan
I was a little ‘on the fence’ about including this film on the kids movie list as it’s not yet rated and looks to have some violence and adult situations involved (you can see the trailer here ) so be sure to keep an eye out for more details as I think teens will enjoy it but probably not younger kids.
22nd – Ice Age 5
This popular movie series takes viewers to a whole new place with this film – space! And yes, that darn squirrel is still chasing down that nut 😉 You can see one of the early trailers here: Ice Age 5 – Collision Course
12th – Pete’s Dragon
The original version of Pete’s Dragon (animated)
was a combination of hand-drawn animation and live action — in this new version, Elliott the dragon will be created using computer graphics which means this is a wonderful opportunity to watch both films and ask the kids to compare/contrast the two types of animation that are used in film-making.
Can’t wait to see this one!
30th – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Most probably one for tweens & teens as it’s based on the book series this movie is directed by Tim Burton and looks to be an amazing fantasy adventure! No rating as of yet so stay tuned!
4th – Trolls
With the HUGE names from the musical world voicing these little guys, I’m sure the music will be stellar. Not much on the movie plot but you can meet all the Trolls on their website.
18th – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I can NOT believe I have to wait until November for my Harry Potter fix! 🙂
My daughter has finally read the whole series including the add-on books (one of which this film is based — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ) so we’re excited to become non-Muggles and get lost in this magical world again.
In addition to the movie trailer, the website also has a trailer introducing the Magic in North America series written my JK Rowling too.
23rd – Moana
Disney’s newest princess has an island heritage! This animated musical adventure features a South Pacific princess and her demigod friend. You can read some of the inside details & spoilers .
If you’re looking for a fun tie-in, try these 20 Island Activities for a fun family movie night !
Undated but Coming in 2016
The Little Prince
We were surprised when this film (which is based on an outstanding kids book The Little Prince and had rave reviews from the Cannes Film Festival) was delayed only a week before it’s release in the US.
The film will open in Canada in March of 2016 but they have yet to set a new release date for US theaters. I guess that just means more time to read the book before the film comes out, right? 🙂
Slated for 2017
I know what you’re going to say if you’re a Star Wars fan — where’s Star Wars: Episode VIII??!!
It’s been delayed 🙁 The new opening date is now December 15, 2017 (bummer, right!) — you can read more about that here .
MORE MOVIE LISTS: