2020 is upon us, and while you’re sifting through this year’s myriad of action, horror, fantasy and sci-fi movies, you may be wondering about the family-friendly offerings that are coming up.
Starting with Disney-Pixar’s Onward, due for release in March, here are 2020’s must-see family movies coming to Cineworld.
1. Onward (released 6th March)
Hot on the heels of the Oscar-nominated Toy Story 4, Onward is a Disney-Pixar movie that delves into the realm of fantasy. The story follows two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, as they go on a journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in the world. If there is, they may well be able to use it in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.
Onward sees a collision between magical fantasy tropes and recognisable quirks from human society. And from what we’ve seen so far, it also looks like another hilarious Disney-Pixar adventure that won’t shy away from giving us all the feels as well. Add in vocal performances from Marvel alumni Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, and we could have a winner on our hands.
2. Mulan (released 27th March)
Another live-action remake from Disney, Mulan is going in a somewhat different direction from the original, dropping the songs and Eddie Murphy’s beloved dragon sidekick Mushu. Instead, we’re getting a mega-budget ‘wuxia’ epic, which mixes incredible martial arts and eye-popping fantasy sequences.
As before, the story follows Mulan, a fearless young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army against northern invaders in China. Mulan has amassed a very talented cast including Liu Yifei as Mulan herself, plus Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, and Jet Li. It’s directed by Whale Rider filmmaker Niki Caro and could well be the most immersive and spectacular Disney remake yet.
3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (released 22nd May)
By now, you should absolutely know who lives in a pineapple under the sea. If you don’t, then you should be ashamed of yourself. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run catches up with SpongeBob and Patrick, as the buddy duo travel to the Lost City of Atlantic City to solve the mysterious kidnapping of SpongeBob’s beloved pet, Gary the snail.
Combining live-action with computer animation, this will be the first time that SpongeBob and pals have been fully animated in stylised CGI, rather than traditional 2D animation. The regular voice cast is all set to return, and with the addition of Keanu Reeves in a cameo role, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is sure to be hilarious.
4. Artemis Fowl (released 29th May)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Artemis Fowl is adapted from the first book in a series of novels by Eoin Colfer. It follows a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, who finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father's disappearance.
It sounds like a winning combination of intriguing adventure and off-the-wall, fantastical weirdness. Newcomer Ferdia Shaw plays Artemis, with the starry supporting cast including the likes of Judi Dench and Josh Gad.
5. Soul (released 19th June)
The second Disney-Pixar movie arriving in 2020, Soul boasts a tear-jerking, spiritually powerful premise. The movie follows Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx, a middle school music teacher who has long dreamt of performing jazz onstage. He finally gets the chance to do so, but before he can, Joe finds himself the victim of an untimely accident that causes his soul to separate from his body. He must find his way back to Earth, with the help of an infant soul learning about herself before it’s too late.
That’s right, it’s a Disney-Pixar movie about death and the afterlife. We all know how brilliantly Inside Out tackled complex themes of our subconscious, so be sure to bring the tissues.
6. Jungle Cruise (released 24th July)
Jungle Cruise is based on the Disneyland theme park ride of the same name, which consists of a small riverboat that takes a group of intrepid travellers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles. The movie stars walking man-mountain Dwayne Johnson as riverboat captain Frank, who takes Emily Blunt’s scientist and her brother on a mission into the jungle to find the mythical Tree of Life, believed to possess healing powers.
On their quest, the crew must fight various animals and reptiles, as well as a competing expedition party. The supporting cast includes Jack Whitehall, Édgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti. If Johnson’s last adventure into the jungle, Jumanji, is anything to go by, then this promises to be a must-see adventure, filled with action and humour. Plus, we're hoping for wonderful chemistry between Johnson and Disney veteran Blunt, who has starred in Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns.
7. The Witches (released 16th October)
This is the second adaptation of Roald Dahl’s delightfully macabre children’s novel; it was previously filmed to acclaimed effect by Nic Roeg back in 1990. As before, The Witches centres on a little boy who stumbles across a conference of witches while staying with his grandmother at a hotel. In the process, he’s transformed into a mouse by the evil Grand High Witch, played by Anne Hathaway (taking over from the fiendish Angelica Huston in the earlier movie).
The movie is being directed by kids’ movie maestro Robert Zemeckis, responsible for modern classics like the Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Fingers crossed his remake will be just as magical as the original movie.
Will you be watching all these family movies in Cineworld in 2020? Let us know @Cineworld.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow him on Twitter.