The Complete Guide to Movies for the Whole Family in 2020

There were 30 movies last year catering to family audiences. This year, there’s half of that, with 15 so far. While I expect a few more yet-to-be-dated titles to pop up between now and the end of the year, it won’t reach anywhere close to last year’s figure — further proof of how COVID-19 has affected the entertainment industry. By moving many of this year’s films to next year, the studios are reacting accordingly with cautious expectations of people’s wishes to gather in enclosed spaces with their families in tow.

Out of all these titles, I only really want to watch Mulan (4 Sep) though. It has already shifted once due to COVID-19 — I hope it won’t have to be shifted again! *Spoiler alert: It was.*

Family movies opening in cinemas in 2020

Here’s the current entire list of family movies in 2020. (It, of course, includes all Disney, Pixar and other animated movies opening this year.) Click on each title in the numbered list to jump to that section if you don’t want to scroll through the entire list. This list will be updated periodically as new information/trailers come in. You can also click on each movie’s heading to go to their IMDb pages. Release dates below are for Singapore, but if you’re outside Singapore, IMDb can tell you fairly accurately what’s the release date in your country.

  1. Playing with Fire (9 Jan)
  2. Bernie the Dolphin 2 (9 Jan)
  3. Dolittle (16 Jan)
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog (20 Feb)
  5. Onward (5 Mar)
  6. Trolls World Tour (12 Mar)
  7. My Spy (12 Mar)
  8. Scoob! (30 Jul)
  9. Mulan (4 Sep)
  10. The Secret Garden (10 Sep)
  11. Pinocchio (1 Oct)
  12. The War with Grandpa (8 Oct)
  13. The Witches (5 Nov)
  14. Jungle Beat: The Movie (19 Nov)
  15. The Croods: A New Age (26 Nov)
  16. Little Vampire (3 Dec)
  17. Come Away (24 Dec)
  18. Soul (25 Dec)

Playing with Fire (9 Jan)

Director: Andy Fickman (“Race to Witch Mountain”, “She’s the Man”, “The Game Plan”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”)

Cast: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, Finley Rose Slater, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Greer

Genre: Comedy, Family

Synopsis: When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids – much like fires –are wild and unpredictable.

Bernie the Dolphin 2 (9 Jan)

Director: Kirk Harris (“Bernie the Dolphin”)

Cast: Lola Sultan, Logan Allen, Patrick Muldoon, Kevin Sorbo

Genre: Action, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: Kevin and Holly are thrilled that their dolphin friend Bernie has come back to the harbor. But so has their old enemy Winston, who’s just gotten out of prison. As the kids have fun with playful dolphin Rascal and sassy parrot Mango, Winston is forced by his old partner to help kidnap the talented Bernie. Can Kevin and Holly uncover the scheme and save their splashy friend before its too late?

Dolittle (16 Jan)

Director: Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”, “Gold”)

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle. After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

Sonic the Hedgehog (20 Feb)

Director: Jeff Fowler (debut feature)

Cast: Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Ben Schwartz

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis: Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home on Earth. In this live-action adventure comedy, Sonic and his new best friend Tom (James Marsden) team up to defend the planet from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination. The family-friendly film also stars Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.

Onward (5 Mar)

Director: Dan Scanlon (“Monsters University”)

Voice Cast: Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis: Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers (voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. A new trailer and poster are now available, and new character posters were recently revealed, introducing cast members Mel Rodriguez, who voices Officer Colt Bronco; Lena Waithe, who lends her voice to Officer Specter; and Ali Wong, the voice of Officer Gore.

Trolls World Tour (12 Mar)

Directors: Walt Dohrn (“Trolls”), co-director David P. Smith (TV movie “The Flintstones: On the Rocks”)

Voice Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom, Ozzy Osbourne, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Anthony Ramos, Jamie Dornan, Charlyne Yi, Kenan Thompson

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis: Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return in an all-star sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 musical hit: Trolls World Tour. In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder. A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.

My Spy (12 Mar)

Director: Peter Segal (“Get Smart”, “50 First Dates”, “Second Act”, “Anger Management”, “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult”, “The Longest Yard”, “Grudge Match”)

Cast: Dave Bautista, Kristen Schaal, Ken Jeong, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Chloe Coleman

Genre: Action, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: MY SPY follows JJ a hardened CIA operative (Dave Bautista) who has been demoted and finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) where he has been sent undercover begrudgingly to surveil her family. When Sophie discovers hidden cameras in her apartment she uses her tech savviness to locate where the surveillance operation is set. In exchange for not blowing JJ’s cover Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance JJ finds he is no match for Sophie’s disarming charm and wit.

Scoob! (30 Jul)

Director: Tony Cervone (“Duck Dodgers” TV series, animation director of “Space Jam”)

Cast: Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell, Frank Welker

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: “SCOOB!” reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global “dogpocalypse,” the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

Mulan (4 Sep)

Director: Niki Caro (“Whale Rider”, “The Zookeeper’s Wife”, “North Country”)

Cast: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, Jet Li

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Synopsis: When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.

The Secret Garden (10 Sep)

Director: Marc Munden (“The Third Day” TV series)

Cast: Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dixie Egerickx, Edan Hayhurst, Amir Wilson

Genre: Drama, Family, Fantasy

Synopsis: THE SECRET GARDEN starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx is a new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in England during a new time period in 1947, the film follows a young orphan girl who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate.

Pinocchio (1 Oct)

Director: Matteo Garrone (“Tale of Tales”, “Gomorra”, “Dogman”)

Cast: Federico Ielapi, Roberto Benigni, Gigi Proietti

Genre: Drama, Fantasy

Synopsis: In this live-action adaptation of the beloved fairytale, old woodcarver Gepetto (Roberto Benigni), fashions a wooden puppet, Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi), who magically comes to life. Pinocchio longs for adventure and is easily led astray, encountering magical beasts, fantastical spectacles, while making friends and foes along his journey. However his dream is to become a real boy, which can only come true if he finally changes his ways.

The War with Grandpa (8 Oct)

Director: Tim Hill (“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”, “Alvin and the Chipmunks”)

Cast: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, Laura Marano, Oakes Fegly

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Synopsis: Peter and his grandpa used to be very close, but when Grandpa Jack moves in with the family, Peter is forced to give up his most prized possession: his bedroom. Peter will stop at nothing to get his room back, scheming with friends to devise a series of pranks to drive him out. However, grandpa doesn’t give up easily, and it turns into an all-out war between the two.

The Witches (5 Nov)

Director: Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”, “Back to the Future” trilogy, “The Polar Express”, “Cast Away”)

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth, Chris Rock, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Codie-Lei Eastick

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Synopsis: Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.

Jungle Beat: The Movie (19 Nov)

Director: Brent Dawes (debut feature)

Voice cast: David Menkin, David Rintoul, Gavin Peter, Jason Pennycooke

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family

Synopsis: A homesick alien crash-lands his spaceship near the colorful African Jungle. His new animal friends need to get him back to his ship and teach him about friendship and fun before his Space-Conqueror father can take over the planet.

The Croods: A New Age (26 Nov)

Director: Joel Crawford (debut feature)

Voice Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis: The prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.

Little Vampire (3 Dec)

Director: Joann Sfar (“Le Chat du Rabbin”)

Voice Cast: Camille Cottin, Claire de la Rüe du Can, Quentin Faure

Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Synopsis: A friendship forms, which will sustain the two through colorful adventures, between a 10 year old boy who is really a 300 year old vampire, and an orphan schoolboy. A moon headed monster throws obstacles in their paths.

Come Away (24 Dec)

Director: Brenda Chapman (“Brave”, “The Prince of Egypt”)

Cast: David Oyelowo, Angelina Jolie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Caine, David Gyasi, Keira Chansa, Reece Yates

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Synopsis: In this imaginative origin story of two of the most beloved characters in literature – Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland – eight-year-old Alice (Keira Chansa), her mischievous brother Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their brilliant older sibling David (Reece Yates) let their imaginations run wild one blissful summer in the English countryside. Encouraged by their parents Jack and Rose (David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie), the kids’ make-believe tea parties, sword fights and pirate ship adventures come to an abrupt end when tragedy strikes. Peter, eager to prove himself a hero to his grief-stricken and financially-struggling parents, journeys with Alice to London, where they try to sell a treasured heirloom to the sinister pawnshop owner known as C.J. (David Gyasi). Returning home, Alice seeks temporary refuge in a wondrous rabbit hole while Peter permanently escapes reality by entering a magical realm as leader of the “Lost Boys.”

Soul (25 Dec)

Directors: Pete Docter (“Inside Out”, “Up”, “Monsters, Inc.”), co-director Kemp Powers (debut feature)

Voice Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Daveed Diggs

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis: Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

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