Soul, Over The Moon, Scoob!, and Trolls World Tour dominated our TVs in 2020, so families everywhere are likely in need of fresh content. Thankfully, plenty of family and kids' movies are coming out in 2021 to keep our little ones entertained and busy. Best of all? Parents will probably get a kick out of them, too.
First of all,
Disney has more than 20 movies coming out in 2021, so there's already no shortage of entertainment from one production company. As for streaming platforms like Netflix, the company has announced that it will release one new movie every week throughout the year, though not everything will be family-friendly. Modern takes on classics like Tom & Jerry and Cinderella are also slated to premiere in 2021.
Now, as for when and how these movies will be released, that varies by who is producing them. So while some movies will be released directly on streaming services like Netflix or Disney+, others will head to theaters first before you can stream them at home. So bust out your trusty planner and make a note for all the new family movies coming out in 2021 and plan a movie night for the flicks that have already been released!
Two siblings, raised in Brooklyn, find themselves going on an epic adventure to find long lost treasure with new friends during their summer in rural O’ahu. But their quest brings them so many more successes and pitfalls than they could ever expect in this Netflix original film that is the perfect watch for the little adventurer in your family.
Common Sense Media Selection for Families is noted for its positive character portrayals and positive messages about treating each other with respect, kindness, and love, regardless of their race or gender. Now that is a message parents can stand behind. Release date: Jan. 29 on Netflix. Flora & Ulysses Disney's live-action adaptation of Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo tells the story of 10-year-old Flora, a comic book fan and cynic whose parents are recently separated. When she rescues a squirrel with superhero powers, they embark on an adventure filled with complications that changes Flora’s life and her outlook on life forever.
This Common Sense Media Selection for Families is rated PG and is a
quirky, kid friendly film that deals with some real life issues, like divorce and struggling to fit in. It should be noted that the film packs a pretty emotional punch, but Ulysses and all of his super talents provides a handy, hilarious foil to all of Flora’s cynicism. Release date: Feb. 19 on Disney+. Tom & Jerry
The iconic cat and mouse rivalry comes to life in this new live-action mixed with animation
Tom & Jerry film. Here’s what you need to know: Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the night before a major wedding is about to happen. The event planner, desperate to get rid of the mouse, hires Tom, the cat, to get rid of him. This sets the duo on a cat and mouse chase, where hijinks ensue, that threaten to ruin the event planner’s career, the wedding, and quite possibly, the hotel. Release date: Feb. 26 in theaters and on HBO Max. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run
SpongeBob Squarepants is back in
, which has The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run already been released internationally prior to the film’s release in the United States. The movie follows SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick as they head out on an adventure to find SpongeBob's pet snail Gary who's gone missing. This journey brings them to the King of Poseidon who is holding Gary captive in the lost city of Atlantic City. It’s up to SpongeBob’s friends in Bikini Bottom to team up together and save him since Gary is so valuable to the community. Release date: March 4 on Paramount+. Raya & The Last Dragon
Humans and dragons once co-existed in the fantasy world of Kumandra, but were driven away by monsters. When the monsters return, it's up to lone warrior
Raya to find the last dragon and stop them for good. But her journey isn’t easy. Luckily, with the help of some new friends, trust, and a whole lot of teamwork, they are able to track down the last dragon and restore peace in the world.
As if this didn’t sound intriguing enough, the film stands out for positive gender representations with Raya’s leadership and
positive character strengths, according to Common Sense Media. How’s that for an animated Disney movie? Release date: March 5 in theaters and with Premier Access on Disney+ YES DAY
When two parents are sick of saying "no" to their kids and co-workers, they decide to have a "yes day" — 24 hours where their kids control the day. Little do they know that this will bring them on an adventure all over Los Angeles. By saying “yes” to their kid’s most wild requests, they wear funky outfits, go to an amusement park, eat ice cream, and spend some much welcomed time as a family, together.
What's more, it
stars Jennifer Garner as a fierce and protective mother who often finds herself playing “bad cop” with her children. It’s safe to say that she has a change of heart during the film. Release date: March 12 on Netflix. Arlo the Alligator Boy
a half human, half alligator boy decides to leave the swamp and search for his father in New York City. Yes, it is just a little bizarre as it sounds. In this animated film, Arlo heads to the big apple in search for a piece of his identity. It is there where he learns to accept his difference, no matter how different he may be from his friends, and finds a place where he truly belongs. Arlo the Alligator Boy,
Although the concept might be a little out there, there is nothing better than a film that teaches you how to embrace who you are.
Release date: April 16 on Netflix. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
This animated film tells the story of a teenage girl who has been accepted into the film school of her dreams. But when her whole family embarks on a road trip to bring her to college, their plans are interrupted by a technology uprising, and it's up to them to save the world. This is no easy feat, but since the family is pretty reliant on their smart phones and devices, they are able to outsmart the machines and eventually save the world, together.
How’s that for some family bonding? Let’s just say that this isn’t your average family road trip.
Release date: April 30 on Netflix. Cruella
101 Dalmatians prequel, Emma Stone stars as a young Cruella de Vil, a fashion designer who becomes obsessed with Dalmatians. But she wasn’t always so villainous. Cruella, who grew up as Estella, always had an interest in fashion. When she meets the Baroness, a fashion designer, she is offered a job at her fashion house. But when Estella makes some discoveries about the Baroness, the two fashionable women soon turn into rivals, which pushes her to become the infamous villain that people know and love.
As far as origin stories go, this one is a good one.
Release date: May 28 in theaters and on Disney+. Spirit Untamed
follow-up to 2002's animated film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, a headstrong girl longing for a place to belong discovers a kindred spirit in a wild horse named Spirit. Lucky is a young girl who lost her mother in a tragic accident years prior. After ruining her grandfather’s party, she is sent to live with her father whom she doesn’t know much about. While living with her dad, Lucky is able to win over the trust of a horse, who she names Spirit.
Together, Lucky and Spirit are able to find themselves in each other, and allow them to save one another.
Release date: June 4 in theaters. In The Heights
This movie-musical from the mastermind of Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the story of a bodega owner with big dreams who lives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. As businesses threaten to fail and other people threaten to move into the neighborhood, the residents team up to embrace their culture and preserve what is theirs while chasing their dreams at the same exact time. You will be so inspired after watching this film and won’t be able to get the catchy music out of your head. That doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal.
Release date: June 11 on HBO Max and in theaters. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
In this sequel to the 2018 live-action animated film, Peter Rabbit ventures out of the garden and finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated — the real world. But when his family risks everything to find him, he must figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be — a city bunny or a family bunny.
Although Peter is a bit of a naughty rabbit, his adventures lead him to learn that sometimes, you have to listen to the ones who love you. This is a lesson that everyone can use to learn again, and again, and again.
Release date: June 18 in theaters. Luca
Pixar's new film
Luca tells a story about a young boy who has an unforgettable summer in a seaside town in Italy. The twist? He’s actually a sea monster who can transform into a human boy once he leaves the water. While Luca comes to love life on land (especially those shiny, motorized, vespas) his parents go on a quest to find their missing son who isn’t supposed to leave his family home. While Luca attempts to dodge his parents and those on a quest to find his real identity, he learns to embrace the best parts of life and the best parts about standing out. It’s a cute film with a super heartwarming, important message that all viewers, both young and old, can take to heart. Release date: June 18 on Disney+. The Boss Baby: Family Business
The Boss Baby and his older brother, Tim, are all grown up with kids of their own in this
. But when a new Boss Baby — the original Tim’s daughter — brings them together, she inspires a new family business and sets off a series of events that will seriously change their lives forever. Yes, the new Boss Baby is able to transform her dad and uncle back into babies for two days, where they must go undercover to prevent an evil genius from changing the world. It’s just as wild as it sounds. Boss Baby sequel Release date: July 2 in theaters and on Peacock. Space Jam: A New Legacy
LeBron James stars in this
. Don't worry, those wacky Space Jam sequel Looney Toons characters do return in the sequel, but they look better than ever! Here’s what you need to know. LeBron James stars as himself, a basketball star, but ends up getting trapped in a vast digital space. In order to get home safely, he teams up with the Looney Toons characters for a high stakes basketball game (sound familiar to the first film?) against the Goon Squad in order to save his son and return back to earth safely. Release date: July 16 in theaters and on HBO Max. Disney's Jungle Cruise
Based on the
famous ride at Disneyland, Disney's Jungle Cruise finds Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a charismatic riverboat captain on a mission to find an ancient tree that has the power to heal people and change the course of medicine forever. Accompanied by a researcher, Dr. Lily Houghton, and her brother, the riverboat captain takes Lily on a quest through the Amazon, where they encounter dangerous creatures and villains that threaten to hold their discovery hostage forever and use the powers for bad things.
Luckily, it’s the Rock, who always knows what to do in a high pressure situation.
Release date: July 30 in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access. Vivo
Featuring new songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda,
Vivo is a brand new animated, musical film about a singing kinkajou, which is a small, monkey like creature who must travel from Havana, Cuba, to Miami, Florida in order to deliver a song on behalf of his owner and mentor. Through the power of music, Vivo embarks on an epic journey where he learns about teamwork and the transformational power of love.
While the film does have some sad moments and deals with some heavy topics, like people passing away, the film’s vibrant landscapes, super catchy music, and strong themes make it a valuable addition to movies watched this year.
Release date: Aug. 6 on Netflix. Free Guy
Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller in the background of a video game who decides to control the narrative for once. It sounds like a hilarious watch, especially for those video game lovers that are in your family, or for the people who can’t get enough of Ryan Reynolds’ hilarious humor.
It is important to note that
Free Guy is rated PG-13 due to violent scenes, language, and suggestive references throughout the film. Common Sense Media says that the film is best suited for kids over the age of 13 who can handle some explosive action sequences, guns, and iffy language. But, Guy’s ability to chase his dreams and find something more to his life is the kind of message that can stick with kids far beyond the time that the credits roll. Release date: Aug. 13 in theaters. The Loud House Movie
follows a family as they go to Scotland where they learn that they are descendants of Scottish royalty. Fans of the Nickelodeon series will love this new discovery, which puts Lincoln Loud and his siblings on the vacation of a lifetime. To make things even more special, the super entertaining film is a musical, which means that you will find immense joy in all of the musical breaks that happen in this super fun, animated film. The Loud House
Even if you haven’t seen the original series, you will probably find something to love in
The Loud House Movie, and you don’t even need to head to theaters to see it. Release date: Aug. 20 on Netflix. PAW Patrol: The Movie
Ryder and his team of pups are
heading to the big screen in PAW Patrol: The Movie. Whenever there is trouble — no matter how big or small — Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Zuma, Rocky, and Skye are ready to save the day.
In this big screen adventure, Ryder and the pups are sent to finally put a stop to Mayor Humdinger. Equipped with new gadgets, gear, and a new pup, the Adventure Bay gang are able to save the day and bring justice to all of the crimes that have been committed over the years. Now that is one major reason to celebrate.
Release date: Aug. 20 in theaters and on Paramount+. Cinderella
A new, musical take on this fairytale classic stars, wait for it, Camilla Cabello as Ella, Idina Menzel as her Evil Stepmother, and Billy Porter as a Fairy Godmother. But this isn’t your average
Cinderella story. This Cinderella, or Ella, is an aspiring dress maker who wants to open her own dress shop, “Dresses by Ella.” A chance encounter with the prince at the market leads her to accepting an invite to the ball, with the hopes that she can sell her dresses there.
With the help of her fairy godmother, Ella is able to attend the ball in one of her designs and is able to impress the attendees, including the handsome prince, who wants to seriously impress Ella. This fun take on the classic musical, featuring songs that you already know, is empowering, fresh, and a lot of fun to watch.
Release date: Sept. 3 on Amazon Prime Video. My Little Pony: A New Generation
When the magical land of Equestria loses its magic, it’s up to an idealistic Earth Pony and her unlikely friends to bring enchantment and unity back to their world and reunite the ponies, unicorns, and pegasi of the world, who aren’t living in harmony. This film teaches acceptance of other people, and is peppered in with musical numbers. Between a heart warming music, bright animation, and catchy songs, every person in the family will fall in love with
My Little Pony: A New Generation, because it brings the beloved My Little Pony franchise to, you guessed it, a new generation. Release date: Sept. 24 on Netflix. The Addams Family 2
In this sequel to the 2019 animated film, the Addams family is
back together again, finding themselves in some pretty wacky adventures. After the first film saw the Addams’ saving their neighborhood from a greedy developer, the family members are back and attempting to reclaim their bond, after new technology puts Wednesday and Puglsey skipping family dinners and spending time away from their family. In order to bring their children closer to the family, they embark on a road trip across the United States in a haunted camper where they meet brand new people that might even be kookier than them. Release date: Oct. 1 in theaters and at home rental. Ron's Gone Wrong
In a world where walking, talking robots have become children's best friends,
Ron's Gone Wrong explores what happens when one robot friend doesn't seem to work and has “gone wrong.” Barney is a socially awkward middle schooler, who happens to get a malfunctioning “best friend in a box,” Ron. But the two have to learn to embrace their differences and malfunctions when they go on an action packed journey that brings them closer together.
If your child loves spending time with their iPad, then they will love this too relatable animated film, rated PG.
Release date: Oct. 22 in theaters. Clifford The Big Red Dog
When a middle school girl named Emily gets a small, red puppy, she never expected to wake up and find him to be a giant, 10-foot dog. But, that’s exactly what Clifford is — a bright, red dog, who is far too big for the world. Emily and Clifford then embark on a super exciting adventure in New York City with Emily’s uncle while her mom is away in this live-action film,
based on the beloved children's book series.
There is no telling what kind of hijinks will ensue, but something tells me that things are about to get very, very interesting.
Release date: Nov. 10 in theaters and on Paramount+. Home Sweet Home Alone
If you’ve been waiting for a new
Home Alone movie, then wait no more, because a Home Alone reboot is headed to Disney+ this holiday season. Move over, Kevin McCallister, Max Mercer is the mischievous and resourceful young boy who has been left behind by his family who are in Japan for the holidays. But when a married couple tries to break into the Mercer family home to take a precious family heirloom, it’s up to Max to do anything to keep the trespassers out. Release date: Nov. 12 on Disney+ Ghostbusters Afterlife
Find out what happens in this next chapter in the
Ghostbusters universe. When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters from the 1980’s in Manhattan and their secret legacy that their grandfather had left behind. Sounds intriguing, right?
It’s important to note that the film is rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some suggestive references, so if your kid is easily scared by action sequences, then you might want to skip this film for now, until it comes out on DVD.
Release date: Nov. 19 in theaters. Encanto
A magical family lives in a magical home in this new movie musical from Disney, featuring music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, set in Colombia. In a home where magic is abundant, and every inhabitant has a special ability or power, things are set to get very interesting. But one young girl named Mirabel, is frustrated that she doesn’t have any powers. However, her inability might turn into her family’s greatest ability when their magic is at stake.
As if this didn’t sound interesting enough, the film premieres on Thanksgiving, which means it will make your slice of Thanksgiving pie that much sweeter.
Release date: Nov. 24 in theaters. A Boy Called Christmas
Nikolas is an ordinary young boy who sets out on one extraordinary adventure in this Christmas themed film, coming out just in time for the holidays. As he sets out on an adventure to the north to find his father, who is on an adventure of his own to find a fabled village of elves, Nikolas teams up with a mouse and reindeer to help him along the way. But Nikolas soon meets his destiny in a way that proves that nothing is impossible. Now that sounds like the perfect cozy new film to watch this holiday season.
Release date: Nov. 24 on Netflix Robin Robin
What do you get when you have an unlikely family member that wishes she could fly? You get the premise for Netflix’s adorable, stop motion film,
Robin, Robin, debuting at the start of this holiday season. Robin Robin tells the super sweet story of a young Robin who is raised by a family of mice, and whose differences slowly begin to become more apparent as she gets older. After making a wish on a Christmas star, Robin sets off on a heist to prove to her family that she can be a good mouse and learn how to fly at the same time. Release date: Nov. 24 on Netflix. Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas
? Sign me up! Shaun the Sheep holiday-themed special
While the film is a super short movie, you will easily fall in love with this tale, which is about, according to Netflix: “The world’s favorite sheep stars in his very own winter’s tale. Shaun’s seasonal excitement turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s Christmas present? Prepare for a ‘Santastic’ adventure as everyone learns the true value of Christmas!”
Now that sounds like a good time.
Release date: Dec. 3 on Netflix. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
If your young reader is a huge fan of the book series by Jeff Kinney or the live-action film series from 2010 with the same name, then they will be obsessed with this animated take on
Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In this new animated movie, follow along with Greg Heffley, a middle school student who is just a little wimpy. This film’s animation style stays true to the book’s illustrations, making it a treat for longtime fans of the book series. OK, so the animation isn’t exactly the most realistic, but it highlights how much of a wimp Greg is compared to his classmates, which makes the film that much better. Release date: Dec. 3 on Disney+. West Side Story
Two teenagers from opposite sides of the city fall in love in this
West Side Story adaptation from director Stephen Spielberg. If you aren’t a fan of the Broadway musical or the 1961 film adaptation, then you might not be aware about the super enthralling musical drama, which takes place in New York City in the 1950’s. West Side Story focuses on the rivalry between two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, who are at odds. But when Tony, a former member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks, things go awry. It’s a Romeo and Juliet love story for the ages that will make you fall in love with love again. Release date: Dec. 10 in theaters. Spider Man: No Way Home
Spider-Man movie? Yes, please! In this installment, Spider-Man’s identity has been revealed, and Peter Parker no longer has to hide behind the spider mask. But now he is unable to separate his normal life from his life as a Super Hero, which makes things just a bit more complicated. But when Peter enlists the help of Doctor Strange, Peter soon learns what it truly means to be Spider-Man. Since Tom Holland, Zendaya, and some special guests are returning for this film, you know it’s going to be pretty amazing.
While the film has not yet been rated, you can expect to watch it with your older kids, who are a little more acclimated to action sequences.
Release date: Dec. 17 in theaters. Sing 2
The sequel to 2016's animated family musical
Sing will star celebs like Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Nick Kroll, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly.
In this next chapter of this hilarious, animated musical, Buster Moon takes his group of all star performers on the road as he prepares for them to perform in the entertainment capital of the world. But first, they have to convince the world’s most reclusive rock star to join them on the road. This is no easy feat, but leave it to the super talented animal singers to get the job done so they can live out their dreams as super star performers.
If you were a fan of the first film, then you will love the follow up film.
Release date: Dec. 22 in theaters. Editor's Note: The movie Rumble has been removed from this list as the film’s release date has been moved to Feb. 18, 2022. Minions: The Rise of Gru has also been removed from this list as the film’s release date has been moved to July 1, 2022. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania has also been removed from this list as the film’s release date has been moved to Jan. 14, 2022.
This article was originally published on
Jan. 29, 2021