It’s summertime, the kids are out of school or will be soon, and a nice air-conditioned theater playing a wholesome flick sounds like a great option every now and then when you’re struggling to come up with ways to entertain them each day.
The only thing is it seems like good family-friendly movies are few and far between lately. Instead, we’re surrounded by shows full of hardcore violence, language, drugs, and sex – not exactly what we want invading our youngsters’ minds!
Despite the apparent lack of films appealing to the family audience this summer, you’re not completely out of luck. Check out our list of movies, in order of release date, that you absolutely must see with the kids this season!
From the 1959 classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ arises ‘Maleficent,’ the untold story of Disney’s most notable villainess. Starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, it relays how a ruthless betrayal turned her pure heart to stone and led her to place a curse upon Aurora, the infant princess who in time may be the only one who can restore peace to the kingdom. It should definitely be interesting to see star Angelina Jolie playing the lead role alongside her real-life children who also make small cameos in the much-anticipated film.
In theaters: May 30
2. The Fault in Our Stars
A romantic comedy-drama, this extraordinary story starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort is based on the 2012 novel by John Green. Hazel, a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets Gus, a similarly afflicted teen, at a cancer support group, and they fall in love. They share the same acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love of books – in particular “An Imperial Affliction,” by Peter Van Houten. They are swept on the journey of their short lives when Gus receives an invitation to meet the withdrawn author. We can only assume you’ll want to take a box of tissues (and probably your teenage daughter) when you see this one!
In theaters: June 6
3. How to Train Your Dragon 2
The first installment of the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ trilogy was an epic success, and we have high hopes for the sequel that looks just as thrilling. It’s been five years since Viking teenager Hiccup and his trusty fire-breathing comrade Toothless changed things forever on the island of Berk. Now dragons and Vikings live together in harmony, but trouble arises when the two friends discover a secret ice cave home to hundreds of wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider. At the center of a battle to protect the peace, it’s up to them to stand together and fight for what they believe in this endearing action-packed adventure.
In theaters: June 13
4. Earth to Echo
Relativity Media’s upcoming sci-fi adventure film is said to be a cross between the classic ‘E.T. the Extra Terrestrial’ and J.J. Abrams’ ‘Super 8.’ ‘Earth to Echo’ is the story of three inseparable teenage boys who are being split up because of a highway construction project forcing their families to move. Two days before the move, however, the trio begins to receive a series of cryptic text messages and sets off on an adventure to trace the source. What they encounter is an extraterrestrial being, stranded on earth and wanted by the government, who needs their help to survive. If it can live up to its counterparts, this movie will be an engaging tale that tests the strength and limits of real friendship.
In theaters: July 2
5. Planes: Fire & Rescue
‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ is the comedic sequel to Disney’s 2013 animated film ‘Planes,’ a spin-off of Pixar’s ‘Cars’ franchise. Comedian Dane Cook returns as the voice of famous air racer Dusty Crophopper who tragically learns that his engine is damaged, and he may never be able to race again. Dusty is launched into the world of aerial firefighting and battles a massive wildfire alongside the fearless team known as The Smokejumpers. It’s all about second chances and what it takes to be a true hero, and it is sure to instill a positive outlook on life’s trials and tribulations.
In theaters: July 18
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
Another Marvel superhero film, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ introduces a brand new team of courageous characters, this time set in space. Peter Quill aka Star Lord, played by Chris Pratt, is the Guardians’ leader and offspring of a human mother and alien father. He becomes the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb wanted by Ronan – powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. Quill is forced into an unlikely alliance with four misfits in order to evade Ronan, and things get interesting when he discovers the power of the orb. As is typical, the galaxy’s fate ends up at stake in this dynamic cosmic adventure. Though not yet rated, these films are usually PG-13 worthy, meaning it’d be best to enjoy this film with your teenaged children.
In theaters: August 1
7. The Expendables 3
‘The Expendables,’ also a Marvel superhero production, is on its third installment in the popular franchise. In the thrilling adventure, Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and his team, aka The Expendables, come face-to-face with ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks, who was the Expendables’ co-founder years ago and thought to be dead. Stonebanks is on a mission to destroy the dynamic team, but Barney has other ideas. Although typically rated R, ‘The Expendables 3′ is the first that is set to be released at rated PG-13. Use your discretion on whether you take the kids to this one – perhaps your older teen may be a good companion to see this more graphic action film.
In theaters: August 15
8. The Giver
We’re excited to see Lois Lowry’s Newberry winning book finally come to life. It tells the story of a seemingly perfect world where everyone is happy; however, 12-year-old Jonas soon finds out his community is nothing close to reality. He is chosen to be the Receiver of Memories, and under the training of an elderly man known as The Giver, he learns all about pain, sadness, and war – all the unhappy truths of the “real” world. Typically read at middle-school level, “The Giver” is one of those classic novels your kids (and you) are most likely familiar with already.
In theaters: August 15
9. When the Game Stands Tall
Inspired by a true story and based on the book by Neil Hayes, this movie tells the story of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur leading the De La Salle High School Spartans on an amazing 151-game winning streak over the course of 12 years. It shattered all records for any American sport, yet along the way the coach always emphasized purpose and significance rather than streaks and titles. If you’re into sports drama films, this sounds like a feel-good one that motivates and warms the heart.
In theaters: August 22
‘Underdogs,’ first successfully released in Argentina under the title ‘Metegol,’ is a family comedy-action movie that The Weinstein Company picked up release rights for in the U.S. In the 3D animation, a reluctant hero’s town is threatened when his long-time rival returns to avenge an old grudge. The players from his foosball table magically come to life, and he recruits them to help him save the town in an underdog match and win back the love of his life. The film is “sure to captivate parents just as much as it will their children,” according to TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. Here’s hoping!
In theaters: August 27
11. Dolphin Tale 2
In this PG-rated sequel to the 2011 film inspired by a true story of a boy’s effort to save Winter, an injured dolphin, the fight is not yet over. Winter’s surrogate mother Panama, who is the only poolmate the dolphin has ever known, has passed away. The impact of the loss is even greater than that though – according to USDA regulations, Winter cannot be housed alone because a dolphin’s social behavior requires them to have companions. The clock is ticking for the team at Clearwater to find another dolphin for Winter before she must be moved to another aquarium.
In theaters: September 19
12. The Boxtrolls
This upcoming 3D stop-motion comedic fable, based on the children’s novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow, is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors – the Boxtrolls. Residents of Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town, believe the little monsters crawl out of the sewers at night to collect their children and cheese, but that’s only legend. In truth, the quirky trolls are quite the lovable group of oddballs. When they are targeted by an evil exterminator, Eggs ventures out of the sewers and his protective box to save his family and the town. Take the whole family to see the adventure unfold!
In theaters: September 26
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