17 of 2017's Animated Movies for Kids

4:07 PM 12/29/2016

by Ashley Lee

Family-friendly flicks with ambitious animals, creative kids and thrill-seeking emojis hit the big screen this year.

Coco, Ferdinand, The Star, Lego Ninjago, My Little Pony - Split - Publicity - H 2017
From left to right: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and Lionsgate

For what to watch all year, see 2017’s most anticipated movies and trailers here. And for big-screen scares, a list of 2017's buzziest horror flicks.

  • My Little Pony

    Hasbro’s magical horses are hitting the big screen with the voices of Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Pena, Uzo Aduba, Live Schrieber, Taye Diggs and Sia. Jayson Theissen, the supervising director ofthe TV series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, helms the Lionsgate movie, also featuring voice talent from the show.


  • The Star

    Timothy Reckart directs the faith-based Sony film, following a small but brave donkey who breaks free from his daily grind at the village mill and, along with a handful of stable animals, follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the first Christmas.

  • Coco

    The Pixar title, centering on Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration, follows a 12-year-old boy who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion. Lee Unkrich directs the film, which features Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt among its voice cast.

  • Ferdinand

    Based on the classic 1936 children's book, the Fox title follows its titular bull — a relatively mellow and peaceful creature — as he is mistakenly chosen to star in the bullfights in Madrid. Carlos Saldanha directs the feature adaptation, with John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Anderson, Gabriel Iglesias and Jerrod Carmichael in the voice cast.

  • The Red Turtle

    Completely free of dialogue, the Sony Classics release tells a Robinson Crusoe-like story of a man stranded on a desert island, whose encounter with a strange turtle changes his life. Studio Ghibli’s first non-Japanese production also marks the feature film debut of Dutch-British illustrator and animator Michael Dudok de Wit, an Oscar winner for the 2000 short Father and Daughter. 

  • The Lego Batman Movie

    The Lego Movie spinoff zooms in on the Dark Knight, voiced again by Will Arnett, who must fight Gotham City criminals while raising a boy he adopted. Chris McKay — who worked as an animation co-director on the 2014 animated movie — directs the Warner Bros. release, also featuring Jenny Slate, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Mariah Carey and Billy Dee Williams among the voice cast.

  • Rock Dog

    Based on a graphic novel by Chinese rock star Zheng Jun, the Lionsgate/Summit release stars Luke Wilson as a Tibetan Mastiff expected to guard to a group of countryside sheep, but leaves for the city and ends up attracting the attention of a hungry wolf pack. J.K. Simmons, Eddie Izzard, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Kenan Thompson, Lewis Black, Mae Whitman and Jorge Garcia also lend their voices to the Ash Brannon film.

  • The Boss Baby

    Alec Baldwin leads the Dreamworks title as fast-talking, briefcase-carrying newborn who teams with his jealous, seven-year-old brother to stop a secret plot. Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire and Steve Buscemi also voice characters in the Fox movie, inspired by director Tom McGrath’s own childhood experiences and Marla Frazee’s award-winning picture book.

  • Smurfs: The Lost Village

    The Sony threequel — entirely computer-animated this time around — offers an origin story of the little blue creatures, as they journey through the Forbidden Forest to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Demi Lovato, Mandy Patinkin, Joe Manganiello and Rainn Wilson are among the voice cast of the Kelly Asbury film.

  • Spark

    Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart, Jessica Biel and Jace Norman lend their voices to the space odyssey, following a teenaged monkey and his friends who embark on a mission to save their planet from an evil dictator. Aaron Woodley directs the Open Road release. 

  • Captain Underpants

    Based on Dav Pilkey’s book series, the Dreamworks adaptation centers on two mischievous kids who hypnotize their mean high school principal and turn him into their kind-hearted, elastic-banded comic book creation. Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms, Kristen Schaal, Jordan Peele and Thomas Middleditch lend their voices to the David Soren film.

  • Cars 3

    Owen Wilson reprises his voice role as Lightning McQueen in Pixar’s automotive threequel, which sees the spiffy red hot-rod attempting to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best racecar in the world. . Brian Fee directs the animated film, which also features Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Tony Shalhoub, Lea DeLaria, Paul Dooley, Kerry Washington and Paul Newman in its starry voice cast.

  • Despicable Me 3

    Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig reprise their voice roles in Universal's animated, minion-filled threequel, directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and co-directed by Eric Guillon. Trey Parker — the co-creator of South Park and the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon — voices Gru's newest nemesis: a former child star who has grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s.

  • The Emoji Movie

    The Sony animated comedy stars T.J. Miller as an emoji born with multiple expressions, who teams up with the notorious code-breaker (Ilana Glazer) on an adventure through a teenager's phone. Anthony Leondis directs the mobile-inspired film, also featuring James Corden and Steven Wright in the voice cast.

  • The Nut Job 2

    Will Arnett returns as Surly Squirell in the Open Road sequel to the 2014 film, alongside Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Gabriel Iglesias, Jackie Chan, Bobby Cannavale, Bobby Moynihan and Jeff Dunham. The Cal Brunker sequel sees the animals joining to save their home from an evil mayor who decides to bulldoze Liberty Park to build a dangerous amusement park.

  • Leap!

    Set in 1884 Paris, the Weinstein Co. release stars Elle Fanning as an orphan girl with a dream to become a dancer, and even goes as far as to “borrow” someone else’s identity to enter the Opera Ballet School. Directed by Eric Summer and Eric Warin, the film — entitled Ballerina in some non-U.S. markets — also features Dane DeHaan, Carly Rae Jepsen and Maddie Ziegler in its voice cast.

  • Ninjago

    Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods make up the voice cast of the Lego Movie spinoff. Directed by Charlie Bean, the Warner Bros. animated action-comedy sees a ninja teaming with fellow toys to fight an evil warlord, who also happens to be his father.