As the holidays pass us by and the New Year comes around, cinema fans are in for a treat. The next year is going to be huge for film, even in the animated world. Animated feature films have been around for years now, and they are constantly getting better and better. With big names like Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks continuously producing some of the best animated flicks to ever hit the big screen, the movie giants could possibly outdo themselves yet again in the year to come.
2016 has quite a few animated movies in store for movie-goers, but these are some of the most talked about animated films, some of which have been in the works for years.
So without further ado, here are the 12 Most Anticipated Animated Movies of 2016.
12 Kung Fu Panda 3 (January 29)
DreamWorks is hitting theaters again this January with the third installment of the Kung Fu Panda series. Of course, this second sequel to 2008‘s Kung Fu Panda is expectedly star-studded, which will hopefully help bring new life to the family-friendly animated series. Many A-list celebs lend their voices to the film, including Jack Black, Kate Hudson, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
The third Kung Fu Panda film will finally introduce fans to Po’s (Black) father (Cranston) and pit the duo against the villainous, supernatural force, Kai (J.K. Simmons). And fans can definitely expect some more hilariously adorable panda friends in this sequel.
11 Zootopia (March 4)
For those that haven’t seen the preview yet, you’re missing out. It looks like Walt Disney Animation Studios have done it again, and fans aren’t going to want to miss this one. Zootopia follows a fox (Jason Bateman) on the run for a crime he didn’t commit from a self-righteous rabbit (Ginnifer Goodwin) that’s the zoo town’s best cop. Of course, things get hairy when both characters are forced to team up due to a conspiracy from which they’d like to clear their names. And, typical of Disney, two mortal enemies must become friends to overcome their adversaries.
The film also stars Octavia Spencer, J.K. Simmons, Bonny Hunt, Tommy Chong and Shakira.
10 Ratchet and Clank (April 29)
This sci-fi, comedy, action and adventure animated feature film pulls a bit from the Guardians of the Galaxy characters, set in more of a Buzz Lightyear-type universe. Ratchet and Clank is about two unlikely heroes that join the Galactic Rangers and must save their world from Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) who plans on destroying all of the planets in the Solana Galaxy.
The cast is impressive, including voice work from Sylvester Stallone, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and John Goodman. The film looks cute enough, and though it is family-friendly, it appears that a lot of jokes will be tailored to older audiences as well.
9 The Angry Birds Movie (May 20)
Yes, the ever-popular mobile app has officially become a cinematic experience. Will it be good or not? Only time can tell. But from what we know so far, the film has an all-star cast, and though the plot is unknown at this point, it is expected to expand a bit more on the game and explain that horrible feud between those green pigs and the angry birds.
And though the plot hasn’t been revealed, the cast has, which includes SNL alums Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Jason Sudeikis, and Bill Hader as well as superstars Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and Keegan-Michael Key. With a cast like that, the unexposed plot doesn’t matter nearly as much.
8 Finding Dory (June 17)
The Finding Nemo sequel that Disney fans have been waiting for since 2003 has finally arrived! Again, not much has been revealed (and it’s more fun that the much anticipated film is left as more of a secret), but what audiences do know is that there will be tons of families at the theater (this is Disney, of course) and that Dory becomes lost, leaving Marlin, Nemo and other sea creatures fans have grown to love to find the famous blue tang.
Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres will be reprising their roles as Marlin and Dory respectively, though Nemo (originally voiced by Alexander Gould) will instead be voiced by Hayden Rolence, as the original voice has outgrown the character. Fans can also expect to see Gill and Flo/Deb once again, with Willem Dafoe and Vicki Lewis reprising their roles as well.
7 The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
The same minds that brought audiences Despicable Me back in 2010 are now at it again in a cute, family-friendly film that follows pet’s lives when their owners are away. The Secret Life of Pets is about a single pet in particular, Max (Louis C.K.), as his life is turned upside down when his owner brings home a new pet, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). But the feud must turn into a friendship when abandoned pets begin an army meant to take revenge on all the happily owned pets.
Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, Ellie Kemper and Kevin Hart also lend their voices to the animated film.
6 Sausage Party (August 12)
This animated feature is more of an adult film, with the tagline “Not your usual kids movie.” Sausage Party quite literally follows the life of a sausage’s (Paul Rudd) quest to discover the truth about his life after he’s dumped from a shopping cart. He and some other grocery items must find their way back to their respective aisles before the Fourth of July sale.
And though most other films on this list have had quite a few names to drop, this one easily takes the cake. The film includes Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Nick Kroll.
5 Kubo and the Two Strings (August 19)
This animated, action-type film won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly unique. The film follows Kubo (Art Parkinson) who lives in a quiet town until magical happenings and old vendettas turn his life upside down. The film involves, gods, monsters and a magical suit of armor, amongst other supernatural elements. Though the animated movie looks Tim Burton-like, it’ll be interesting to see just how unique the film will be.
And though the cast isn’t full of celebrities, it does include some of the best Hollywood has to offer, with Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey leading the animated film’s stars.
4 Storks (September 23)
They used to deliver babies, but now, storks are used to deliver packages all around the world via Cornerstore.com, a global Internet giant. Junior (Andy Samberg) is the top delivery stork until he accidently turns on the Baby Making Machine and produces an unauthorized child that he must then deliver before his boss finds out, quite possibly beginning the end of delivery packages and starting over an age-old tradition of delivering babies.
To date, the only other known cast member is Kelsey Grammer. Still, the film is family-friendly and falls under comedy and adventure, making it an animated film to watch out for in 2016.
3 Trolls (November 4)
Another DreamWorks animated film, but this one happens to star a couple of the biggest names in Hollywood, Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. The film is going to be a musical comedy based on the Trolls dolls made popular in the 1960’s that reemerged in the 1990’s as a must-have toy. Perhaps with this film, we’ll see another surge of Troll dolls filling toy store shelves.
Still, the film is rumored to be a type of origin story, set to music and starring two of the most sought after musical talents in the movie industry. Though no major plot details (or cast members) have been released yet, this is certainly going to be a film to keep an eye on in the coming months.
2 Moana (November 23)
Moana has been one of the most talked about upcoming Disney animated films on this list, and for good reason. Following the popularity of the Princess and the Frog and Frozen, stereotypes in Disney films are becoming a thing of the past, and Moana is going to lengthen that trend. The Polynesian namesake character has already been named the next Disney princess, breaking more racial barriers and diversifying the Disney princess realm.
The story will follow Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), who is a sea voyaging enthusiast that sets off on a journey when her family needs her help. The film will follow real mythology, including a demi-god, Maui played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Fitting, right?
1 Henchmen (TBA)
Though the film doesn’t yet have a release date, it will follow a world entirely made of super-villains and it's based on a short film that attracted the attention of producers Adam MacKay and Will Ferrell. There is only evil, and the Union of Evil is filled with ranks, where Hank (James Marsden) is a lowly, level three Henchman. But when a kid comes into play by accidentally stealing a weapon that belongs to one of the most powerful villains of all, Hank must become the one thing he never wanted to be in order to save this newly befriended kid: a hero.
The cast also includes Jane Krakowski, Rosario Dawson and Craig Robinson and some others.
Is there an animated film you can’t wait to see in 2016? Let us know in the comments!