From 'Captain Underpants' to 'The Emoji Movie': 19 Animated Films Set to Hit the Big Screen

8:30 AM 6/1/2017

by Lexy Perez

'Cars 3,' 'Incredibles 2,' 'Peter Rabbit' and more animated films are hitting theaters in 2017 and beyond.

Cars 3, Despicable Me 3 and the Emoji Movie Still - Split - Publicity - H 2017
From left to right: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Universal, Sony Pictures

Filmmakers are ready to let their creativity fly by bringing a number of animated films to the big screen over the next two years. Whether it be sequels to successful franchises (e.g., Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, Incredibles 2) or anticipated adaptations of beloved stories (e.g., Peter Rabbit, Captain Underpants), the big screen is ready to get animated. 

  • 'Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie'

    The popular children's book series by Ryan Pilkey is finally getting adapted for the big screen. Hangover star Ed Helms will voice the lead character in the adaptation of the best-selling series. The film follows George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (voiced by Thomas Middleditch), two pranksters who hypnotize their principal into believing he’s a superhero dubbed Captain Underpants. The feature film features an A-list cast that also includes Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal.

  • 'Cars 3'

    After two installments, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) races to the big screen once again with Cars 3. The third chapter is set to center on McQueen as he struggles to maintain his racing legacy. Surrounded by a new generation of young racers, McQueen aspires to be the top racer he was once known to be. After enlisting help from a new technician, McQueen becomes determined to prove himself and race in Hudson Hornet’s honor. Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt and Cheech Marin will reprise their roles. 

  • 'Despicable Me 3'

    The popular minions are ready to take on a new nemesis in the upcoming third installment (not counting the prequel simply titled Minions). Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Trey Parker joins the returning cast to voice Balthazar Bratt, Gru’s (Steve Carell) new eccentric and fashion savvy nemesis. As Bratt plots for world domination, Gru — who also reunites with Dru, the brother he never knew he had (also voiced by Carell) — and the fun-loving minions must work to take down the new foe. Kristin Wiig and Miranda Cosgrove also reprise their roles for the new animated film. 

  • 'The Emoji Movie'

    You've used them in texting and on social media, and now Sony brings everyone’s favorite emojis to the big screen in #TheEmojiMovie. Basing characters off real emojis, such as the cookie, ice cream cone, the "meh" face and the poop emoji, the comedy will explore the secret world where emojis live inside everyone’s smartphone. In their city of Textopolis, Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) is the only emoji without one facial expression. Dreaming of being "normal" among his emoji peers, he seeks help from his best friend, Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden), and the code-breaker emoji dubbed Jailbreak (voiced by Anna Faris). Together they embark on an "app-venture" to discover the code that will find the solution for Gene’s issue. 

  • 'The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature'

    Will Arnett’s Surly Squirrel returns to the big screen after Open Road’s 2014 release of the original film. In the follow-up, Surly and his friends fight to save their home from an evil mayor threatening to bulldoze their once-peaceful environment and transform it into an amusement park. The movie also features the voices of Maya Rudolph, Katherine Heigl, Jackie Chan, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Cannavale and Jeff Dunham.

  • 'Animal Crackers'

    A childhood snacking staple brings its magic to the bring screen later this year. In the film, a family uses a magical box of Animal Crackers to prevent a famous circus from being taken over by their evil uncle, Horatio P. Huntington. Sylvester Stallone, John Krasinksi, Emily Blunt and Ian McKellen will voice the characters in the film. 

  • 'The Lego Ninjago Movie'

    From the creators of The Lego Movie comes a new spinoff of the popular building blocks. Based on the Lego Ninjago series, the film follows six young ninjas fighting to defend their island of Ninjago home. Although they are warriors by night, by day the young ninjas are ordinary teens. The film will feature a voice cast of Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, Dave Franco, Jackie Chan, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Peña, Fred Armisen and Kumail Nanjiani

  • 'My Little Pony: The Movie'

    The famous children's toy is headed to the big screen in its first feature film adaptation. When Ponyville is threatened by a dangerous force, the colorful ponies will set out on a journey to Equestria to battle the danger threatening their home. Along their journey, the ponies meet new friends and face challenges. The film features the voices of Zoe Saldana, Emily Blunt, Live Schreiber, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba and Michael Peña

  • 'The Star'

    Oprah Winfrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Zachary Levi, Christopher Plummer and Gina Rodriguez voice the animated Christian nativity story, hitting theaters in November. The holiday film is being directed by Tim Reckart

  • 'Coco'

    Pixar is ready to introduce its next animated creation, Coco. Directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3), the film takes inspiration from the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos. The story follows 12-year-old Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who aspires to be a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Determined to prove his talent, Miguel sets off a chain of events that lands him in a colorful world of the, Land of the Dead. It is in that world where he learns of his family’s history. Gael García Bernal and Renee Victor also star in the animated film.

  • 'Ferdinand'

    Based on the popular picture book, Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age) brings the story of a loved bull named Ferdinand (John Cena) to theaters. Although bulls are known for being ferocious and intimidating, Ferdinand maintains a mellow demeanor, separating himself from the rest of the bulls. One day, when men begin selecting bulls to fight in Madrid, Ferdinand is chosen and must immediately try being the bull he is expected to be, without compromising who he truly is in the process. Gina Rodriguez, Kate McKinnon and David Tennant also lend their voices to the animated film. 

  • 'Paddington 2'

    Following the success from the 2014 film, the marmalade-loving bear returns to the big screen in a live-action/CGI-animated sequel. Having now settled in with the Brown family home in London, Paddington is on a hunt for the perfect gift for his aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. When he discovers a pop-up book in an antique store, Paddington has to work a variety of jobs to earn money to buy the special gift. When the book is unexpectedly stolen, Paddington and his family become determined to track down the book thief. Sally Hawkins, Ben Whishaw and Hugh Bonneville reprise their roles, with Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant are also set to appear in the sequel. 

  • 'Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes'

    Seven years after the first film, Gnomeo and Juliet return with a new adventure. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt reprise their leading roles, with Johnny Depp joining the cast to play Sherlock Gnomes, the detective who will help Gnomeo and Juliet track down the culprit responsible for the disappearing gnomes.

  • 'Early Man'

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star Eddie Redmayne joins the animation world as caveman Dug. Set in prehistoric times, the animated comedy follows Dug and his best friend, Hognob, working to defeat their enemy, Lord Noth (voiced by Tom Hiddleston), who plans to take over their home with his Bronze Age City. Maisie Williams also voices a role.

  • 'Peter Rabbit'

    Sony is adapting Beatrix Potter’s beloved classic tale into a feature film. The film follows Peter (voiced by James Corden), a rebellious rabbit who attempts to sneak onto a farmer’s vegetable garden. The film will be directed by Will Gluck (Easy A) and will also feature the voices of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Debicki and Domhnall Gleeson

  • 'Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2'

    John C. Reilly returns as the video game character in Disney's sequel, which will explore Ralph’s life six years after the first film ended. The story will follow Ralph’s fun adventures in the Internet after a wi-fi router is connected to an arcade. Phil Johnston and Rich Moore are set to direct the film that is expected to be released next year. Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer and Sarah Silverman will also reprise their roles alongside Reilly. 

  • 'The Incredibles 2'

    The sequel to the original film, which debuted 14 years ago, will hit the big screen mid-2018. Abiding by the original's premise, the second installment will once again follow the adventures of the superhero family. Brad Bird returns to write and direct, alongside Michael Giacchino serving as the film’s composer. Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson and Holly Hunter are expected to reprise their roles. 


  • 'Blazing Samurai'

    An homage to Mel Brooks' 1974 film Blazing Saddles, Open Road Films' movie features all animals, with Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Yeoh, George Takei and Brooks himself. The film will follow Hank, a young dog that attempts to save his town of Kakamucho from being invaded by a feline warlord. In his pursuit, Hank works on becoming a samurai to take on his city’s enemies. Although no trailer yet has been released yet, the animated film’s first poster is centered behind Hank, wearing a samurai belt with a Hello Kitty image.


  • 'Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero'

    Sgt. Stubby is historically known as the most decorated dog in American military. Sharing connections with the soldiers during World War I, the film directed by Richard Lanni tells the touching story of the brave canine. Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gérard Depardieu are set to lend their voices to the animated film.