2019 is just starting, and it’s already looking like a great year for movies. There’s something for everyone — but not every film is for all audiences. Depending on your point of view, AVENGERS: ENDGAME might not be a family-friendly movie. IT: CHAPTER TWO certainly won’t be. Heck, whether you’re looking to take the kids to a film or are flying solo, maybe you just want to see a film that is kind of… nice, you know?
With a lot of new films to choose from, here are the best new family-friendly movies coming to theaters.
A Dog’s Way Home
A young man adopts a puppy and names her Bella — and they have a great life together. When they are separated, Bella demonstrates remarkable determination and loyalty by traveling hundreds of miles an attempt to get back home. Along the way she meets a wide range of people and even a mountain lion, and we get to be reminded why we love dogs so much.
Bryce Dallas Howard voices Bella, and the cast also includes Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, Ashley Judd, Wes Studi, and Edward James Olmos. Charles Martin Smith, who has loads of experience working with animals thanks to films like A DOG’S PURPOSE, DOLPHIN TALE and AIR BUD, directs. (January 11)
The Kid Who Would Be King
You’re probably familiar with the story of King Arthur. In legends, he became the ruler of Britain after drawing the sword Excalibur from a stone. THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING throws not one but two wrinkles into the tale. First, it’s a modern story. Second, a bullied kid, Alex Elliot, is the one who draws the sword — meaning this young teen is now King Arthur. Louis Ashbourne Serkis plays Alex, and if his name sounds familiar that’s because his father, Andy Serkis, is famous for a few little films like THE LORD OF THE RINGS, KING KONG, and BLACK PANTHER.
There’s a lot more in store, as Merlin, played by Angus Imrie and, briefly, Sir Patrick Stewart, reveals that he has been waiting to assist the returned king. And there’s a villain, of course: Morgana le Fay, played by Rebecca Ferguson, of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series. Joe Cornish writes and directs. We owe the filmmaker a debt of gratitude; he introduced the world to John Boyega by casting him in ATTACK THE BLOCK back in 2011. He also helped write ANT-MAN and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. (January 25)
The LEGO Movie 2
Go back to Bricksburg to check in on the heroes from THE LEGO MOVIE, but be ready for something troubling. Everything is no longer awesome! There’s some kind of new threat from space, which threates to take Bricksburg apart piece by piece. The good news is, that gives Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and Batman (Will Arnett) the chance to fly off to new worlds in order to save their home.
Original LEGO filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller were busy with that little INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE movie, but they did contribute to the script. Mike Mitchell (TROLLS) and Trisha Gum (head of story on THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) step in to direct. Most of your favorite characters are back, and there are new ones voiced by Tiffany Haddish and Stephanie Beatriz. And Margot Robbie voices Harley Quinn reprising her role from SUICIDE SQUAD — but don’t worry, this version of Harley is certain to be more kid-friendly. (February 8)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Things have moved forward since we last checked in with Hiccup and the dragon Toothless. Hiccup now governs Berk, along with Astrid, and they’ve created a wild and beautiful home for dragons. But then a new dragon, thought to never exist in the first place, shows up. This new dragon is part of a wave of change that threatens everything our heroes have ever known.
In a rare scenario for animated films, Dean DeBlois returns as writer and director. He wrote and directed both of the previous films in the series. And Jay Baruchel returns to voice Hiccup while America Ferrera once again gives voice to Astrid. Cate Blanchett is back as Valka and Craig Ferguson reprises his role voicing Gobber the Belch. (February 22)