While we love to promote reading and help you find great books for your kids, every once in a while, even the best readers need a break. For many families, summer means family vacations, summer camp and some downtime with the family. So, in anticipation of a busy summer, here’s a rundown of all the upcoming children’s and family-friendly movies expected to hit theaters. All of these films are rated G or PG and are appropriate for most audiences. We have noted instances in which films may be too scary for young children.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – 6/8/2012 Rating: PG Studio: Dreamworks Animation Starring: Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sasha Baron Cohen and David Schwimmer Director: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
So we’re a little late on this one as it’s already been released, but it should still be in theaters for a long while. For those of you familiar with the Madagascar franchise, it sounds like the newest installment will not disappoint. In Part 3, the same cast of characters has landed on the Most Wanted list. This will make getting home to New York a little more difficult than anticipated. But not to fear, they find the perfect cover in the form of a traveling circus. Will it be enough to get them safely across Europe to their home in the Big Apple?
Watch the trailer:
Brave – 6/22/2012 Rating: PG Studio: Disney/Pixar Starring: Emma Thompson, Bill Connolly, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Kelly McDonald Director: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Merida doesn’t want to be a princess; she wants to spend her days practicing archery and looking for adventure. But one day she goes too far and makes an ill-advised choice that leads to disastrous consequences. The following events force Merida to save her kingdom from a terrible curse before it’s too late.
This movie is getting a big push from Disney and looks positioned to be a major summer blockbuster. I’m really looking forward to this one!
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – 7/13/2012 Rating: PG Studio: 20th Century Fox Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Joy Behar Director: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
In the fourth installment of this popular franchise, Manny, Diego and Sids’ continent is set adrift. But not to fear, the gang has hopped onto a “ship” (aka an iceberg) on which they attempt to navigate their way back home. Along the way, they encounter pirates and some nasty sea creatures that impede their progress. Expect the same telltale humor that made the previous films memorable.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days – 8/3/2012 Rating: PG Studio: Fox 2000 Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick Director: David Bowers
School’s out and Greg is home for the summer. Things are going well until Greg is kicked out of his country club, his family’s beach trip is canceled, and he is subjected to his mom’s attempts at starting a book club. And that’s just the beginning.
As with previous books/movies, expect the same witty sarcasm (verging on rude potty humor) that makes Greg such a hit with kids. Watch the trailer:
The Odd Life of Timothy Green – 8/15/2012 Rating: PG Movie Studio: Disney Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton Directed by: Peter Hedges
Cindy and Jim Green can’t wait to have children of their own, but are having trouble starting a family. For now, they find solace in imagining what their future child would be like. One night they put all the characteristics they would like in a child in a box and bury the box in their backyard. Soon after, a young boy named Timothy shows up on their doorstep. Is he the child they always imagined? Turns out he may be something even more.
The original premise (based around the couple’s infertility) seems a little confusing for younger children. That said, this is a Disney movie and the web site piques my curiosity.
Watch the trailer:
ParaNorman – 8/17/2012
Rating: PG Studio: Focus Features Starring: Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick Directed by: Sam Fell & Chris Butler
This is the next movie from the makers of Coraline and it is filmed in the same stop-motion animation style. Norman can see the dead. While Norman doesn’t see a problem with this, the living kids at his school don’t think it’s very cool. One day, Norman’s uncle tells him that Norman’s special gift serves a purpose: he must save his town from a 300-year-old curse, a curse that is about to unleash a horde of zombies on the town of Blithe Hollow. This film will be made in 3D.
From most accounts, it seems that ParaNorman might be a bit too scary for younger kids. There is also some rude humor and language, although the specifics are unclear. That said, the premise is intriguing, and as a fan of Coraline, I’ll definitely be catching this one.
That’s a wrap! Of course, expect more summer blockbusters like the ones that come out every year, including the upcoming The Amazing Spiderman (rated PG-13), but if you’re looking for a movie the whole family can enjoy, the films listed here are your best options.
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