Unlike 2017, which has been a quite slow and unsuccessful year for animated movies, 2018 promises to be a busy time for studios and fans of animation. Disney, Pixar, Aardman, Sony, Warner Bros., Universal/Illumination, and even DC Comics – everyone’s got an animated film set for next year.
With 2010’s Toy Story 3, 2013’s Frozen, and 2015’s Minions among the 20 highest-grossing films of all time at the worldwide box office, it’s no wonder that studios have chosen to dedicate more talent and resources to animated movies. Though they take much longer to be made, these films are also able to stretch filmmaking into different directions, require little effort from actors who lend their voices to characters, and can appeal to both young and old audiences around the globe.
With the commercial success of the Despicable Me franchise and critical appeal of films such as Kubo and the Two Strings, it has become clear that Hollywood no longer relies on Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks for its entire supply of animated movies. Competition in the industry has become increasingly tough, which is great news for fans of the genre who want better and more of these projects to hit the big screen.
Without further ado, these are 16 Animated Movies You Didn’t Know Were Coming In 2018.
16 THE INCREDIBLES 2
Pixar’s super-family is back!
The long-awaited sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles is finally on the horizon. The Incredibles 2 is set immediately after the first installment left things off, and it has once again been written and directed by Brad Bird – also known for The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and Tomorrowland.
Though the Toy Story and the Cars franchises beg to differ, Pixar is mostly known for being sparing in regards to sequels. It waited 12 years to release Monsters University (sequel to Monsters, Inc.) and 13 years to come out with Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo). As The Incredibles 2 hits the theaters 14 years after the original film, fans trust that Pixar has once again taken the appropriate time to figure out a compelling new story to tell.
15 WRECK-IT RALPH 2
After years of getting beat by Pixar – its very own subdivision – in regards to commercial and critical appeal, it was 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph that signaled things were starting to change inside Walt Disney Animation, and that the legendary studio had finally found its footing once again. The result was Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Moana – all of which were released after Wreck-It Ralph.
It comes as no surprise that Disney announced Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 at 2017’s D23 conference, and the movie is all set for a 2018 release. The film has actor John C. Reilly reprising his role as the title character, and was once again directed by Rich Moore and written by Phil Johnston. A newcomer to the franchise is Taraji P. Henson, who was cast in the role of Yesss for the sequel.
14 HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Based on the mean-spirited green character created by Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be released in November of 2018, just before the holiday season begins next year.
The works of Dr. Seuss have always been of interest to Universal, which produced live-action adaptations of How The Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000 and The Cat In The Hat in 2003. In 2008, however, it was Fox that released an animated feature adapting Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who!, which was well-received by critics, even if it didn’t make a lot of money.
Universal jumped on the idea of turning Dr. Seuss stories into animation with 2012’s The Lorax, which had a poor performance. In 2018, the studio will rely on the expertise of its subdivision – Illumination Studios – to release the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
13 UNTITLED SPIDER-MAN MOVIE
A Spider-Man animated movie will be released by Sony in December of 2018, even if it still doesn’t have an actual title.
This Untitled Animated Spider-Man Movie will be centered around Miles Morales as Spider-Man, and actor Shameik Moore was tapped to voice the character. Mahershala Ali (who won an Oscar in 2017 for Moonlight) and Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta’s Paper Boy) are also set to voice characters in the film.
The Lego Movie writers/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were attached to this project as writers, and are still credited for its screenplay. In 2017, Peter Ramsey joined the film as a co-director.
Though the Untitled Animated Spider-Man Movie was initially meant to premiere during the summer of 2018, its release date was pushed back to December.
12 ISLE OF DOGS
Celebrated filmmaker Wes Anderson will release a stop-motion animated film in 2018, and prior to its announcement, not a single person saw this one coming.
Isle of Dogs follows five dogs in dystopian future Japan as they meet a boy named Atari. The five dogs are voiced by Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, and Bob Balaban. Atari is voiced by Koyu Rankin, an actual boy of Japanese descent who will make his cinematic debut in this film.
Wes Anderson, who is mostly known for independent live-action films that develop a cult following such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Moonrise Kingdom, had only directed one other full-length animated movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2009.
11 TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES
As Teen Titans Go! remains a hugely successful and entertaining TV series on Cartoon Network, a movie treatment for the franchise was announced. On September of 2017, it was also revealed that the film will indeed have a theatrical release during the summer of 2018.
Tentatively titled Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, this animated movie is being produced by Warner Animation Group and will be tightly connected to the ongoing television show.
A-listers Kristen Bell and Will Arnett are also attached to the project, though the characters they will voice are yet to be revealed. Other than that, the TV series’ voice cast will reprise their roles as Robin (Scott Menville), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Raven (Tara Strong), Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), and Starfire (Hynden Walch).
10 EARLY MAN
Due to its prehistoric setting and caveman protagonist, Early Man might, at first, resemble 2013’s The Croods to the casual passersby. However, this 2018 animated movie could not be more different, as it was made with Aardman Animations’ longstanding expertise in stop-motion animation and written/directed by Nick Park, whose comedic sensibilities (as seen in the Wallace & Gromit franchise) most definitely differ from standard animated movies.
Starring in Early Man are Eddie Redmayne (who’s been busy with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise), Tom Hiddleston (last seen in Thor: Ragnarok), and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark).
9 GNOMEO & JULIET: SHERLOCK GNOMES
Because just one pun wasn’t enough, Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes has two whoppers its title.
2011’s Gnomeo & Juliet turned out to be a sleeper hit for Disney and Entertainment One, and though the studios chose to not go through with a sequel, Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes was eventually greenlit by Paramount Animation and MGM. Fun fact: this will be Paramount’s first-ever fully animated movie, and MGM’s first animated film in 10 years.
This sequel has James McAvoy and Emily Blunt reprising their roles of Gnomeo and Juliet, respectively. It also added Johnny Depp to the fold, as he voices the Sherlock Gnomes character. Elton John, who was responsible for the first film’s soundtrack, also oversaw the music for Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes.
8 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3
Especially after the badly-reviewed The Emoji Movie was released in 2017, Sony Pictures Animation is eagerly looking for Hotel Transylvania 3 to revitalize the studio in 2018. And since Hotel Transylvania 2 was an even bigger commercial success than the original movie, expectations for the third installment are obviously high.
Actors Adam Sandler (as Count Dracula), Andy Samberg (as Johnny), Selena Gomez (as Mavis), and David Spade (as Griffin, the invisible man) are all back for Hotel Transylvania 3. Genndy Tartakovsky also came back as the director, and was additionally credited as a contributing writer for the third installment.
7 PETER RABBIT
Peter Rabbit is a 2018 adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s beloved collection of stories that involve the jacket-wearing rabbit called Peter Rabbit. Starring as the title character is James Corden, and also featured in the film are actors Domhnall Gleeson, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Elizabeth Debicki. A stellar cast, to say the least.
This will be the first mostly animated movie in Will Gluck’s career, who is known for having directed Easy A, Friends With Benefits, and the 2014 adaptation of Annie. Though Peter Rabbit is officially considered a live-action feature, more than half of the film’s characters – including all of its protagonists – are animated.
Peter Rabbit was originally scheduled to open in March of 2018, but was moved up to February.
6 DUCK DUCK GOOSE
Original Force Animation – a studio that is mostly known for making games – is releasing a full-length animated feature in 2018 called Duck Duck Goose.
Starring Jim Gaffigan as the protagonist Peng, Duck Duck Goose also features Zendaya as Chi, Carl Reiner as Larry, and Greg Proops as Banzou. The film was directed by Chris Jenkins, who worked as an effects animator on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Hercules. Jenkins is also known for having written the 2007 animated movie Surf’s Up.
The film revolves around a goose, Peng, as it encounters two lost ducklings who were migrating south. The protagonist is not quite prepared for migration, but is forced to journey along with the ducklings. Duck Duck Goose is about understanding the power of love.
5 ARCTIC JUSTICE: THUNDER SQUAD
The MCU’s very own Jeremy Renner voices the protagonist of Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad, an upcoming animated movie about an Arctic fox who works in a delivery company and wishes to become a “Top Dog” courier. Renner plays the protagonist, Swifty, who in the midst of proving himself to his company, ends up in a dangerous adventure.
Also in Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad are James Franco, Alec Baldwin, Heidi Klum, Anjelica Huston, and John Cleese. For an animated movie that is not from a major studio, a list of such prominent names in the cast is very exciting.
Canadian writer and director Aaron Woodley directed Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad. Previously, he was credited for having directed Spark, an animated film that opened at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) in 2016 and premiered in the U.S. in 2017.
4 GNOME ALONE
Yes, there will be two animated movies about gnomes in 2018, and they both have puns in their titles.
Gnome Alone – whose title is a clear reference to Home Alone – is a Canadian-American production that was directed by Peter Lepeniotis, best known for having directed The Nut Job. The cast features Becky G (the Yellow Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers reboot), Josh Peck (from Drake & Josh), Olivia Holt (known for her Disney Channel work), Patrick Stump (yes, the lead singer from Fall Out Boy), and comedian George Lopez.
Curiously, Gnome Alone was financially backed by John H. Williams, who was also a producer Shrek and Shrek 2 – back when computer animated movies were not seen as lucrative endeavors in the way that they are today.
Smallfoot turns the Bigfoot myth upside down: it is the yeti itself that wonders whether these creatures called “humans” actually exist.
Produced by Warner Animation Group, Smallfoot’s cast features Channing Tatum, Zendaya, and Gina Rodriguez. It is the directorial debut of Ryan O’Loughlin, who worked in the animation department of features such as The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, and 9. The movie’s screenplay was written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, a duo that previously worked together in projects like Cats & Dogs, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and Storks.
Scheduled for a September of 2018 release, Smallfoot is based on a story by Sergio Pablos, who is also credited as the creator of the Despicable Me franchise. Previously, Pablos worked extensively on Disney animations such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, and Treasure Planet.
2 THE ARK AND THE AARDVARK
Based on the well-known Noah’s Ark storyline, The Ark and the Aardvark is about an aardvark that becomes the unlikely leader of a team of misfit animals who, in turn, bring together all the species that make it to the ark.
The protagonist aardvark, Gilbert, is voiced by Miles Teller. Also in the movie are Aubrey Plaza (who plays a spider), Jenny Slate (an ostrich), Craig Robinson (an elephant), Stephen Merchant (a crocodile), and Rob Riggle (a bullfrog).
The Ark and the Aardvark was written by veteran animation screenwriter Philip LaZebnik and directed by John Stevenson, who is best known for having co-directed Kung Fu Panda, but who has also worked extensively in other successful DreamWorks animated films such as Shrek, Shrek 2, and Madagascar.
1 SGT. STUBBY
Based on the real Boston Terrier named Sergeant Stubby, who was the official mascot of the U.S. Infantry Regiment after World War I, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero will tell the story of a dog that saved its troops from gas attacks, grenades, and artillery shells.
This is the first animated movie being produced by Fun Academy Motion Pictures, a Georgia-based studio that set out to produce this historical feature about a war hero that just happens to be a dog.
Starring in the film are Logan Lerman (known for having portrayed the title character in the Percy Jackson movies), Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter’s Bellatrix), and the legendary actor Gérard Depardieu.
Which animated movie are you most excited to see in 2018? Let us know in the comments!