Kids love superheroes, it’s true. But not all of this summer’s superhero flicks are appropriate for the young ones in the family. Even some of the Disney movies–here’s looking at you Maleficent–might be a little too scary for the little ones. And sure, what your kid sees is up to you to decide, but we thought we would include a Summer Preview list featuring all of the family-friendly movies that’ll open in theaters in the next few months. Many of them are animated sequels like How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Planes: Fire & Rescue. But we also threw in some choices for the older, though still young kids who can’t get enough of YA novels like The Fault In Our Stars and The Giver. Check it out:
1. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is a 3D animated musical based on a novel by L. Frank Baum‘s great-grandson. This time around, Dorothy and her old friends, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion have to go up against a wicked Jester who wants to control Oz by turning people into marionettes. The voice cast includes Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammar, Dan Aykroyd and Lea Michelle, and features original songs by Bryan Adams.
Release Date: May 9, 2014
2. Million Dollar Arm
Starring Jon Hamm, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm is based on the inspiring true-story of sports agent J.B. Bernstein, who came up with the brilliant idea of making a TV show that would find and turn talented cricket bowlers into Major League Baseball players. This isn’t an animated feature, but baseball movies are often family-friendly and uplifting movies about love and teamwork. Plus, this one has a PG rating so go ahead and take the kiddies.
Release Date: May 16, 2014
3. Postman Pat: The Movie
The star of the long-running BBC children’s series Postman Pat is getting his own feature-length movie. Directed by Mike Disa, Postman Pat: The Movie tells the tale of a veteran postman who finds his beliefs challenged after he enters a TV talent show competition. The voice cast includes Stephen Mangan, David Tennant, Rupert Grint, and Jim Broadbent.
Release Date: May 23, 2014
4. How To Train Your Dragon 2
Hiccup and his adorable, loyal dragon Toothless will be facing new threats in How To Train Your Dragon 2. Loosely inspired by Cressida Cowell‘s popular series of kids’ books, this DreamWorks sequel takes place five years after the original movie. This time around Hiccup and his dragon travel to a village in the Arctic, where they run into dragon hunters and a possible mentor for Hiccup. The voice cast includes Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and Cate Blanchett.
Release Date: June 13, 2014
5. Earth To Echo
Inspired by films like E.T., The Goonies and Stand By Me, Dave Green‘s Earth To Echo is for kids and by kids. The found footage, sci-fi adventure follows a group of friends who start receiving strange, encoded messages on their cell phones, but when their parents and the authorities don’t have an answer, they take matters into their own hands and discover a mysterious being from another world. The film’s kids include Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese Hartwig and Ella Lennea Wahlestedt.
Release Date: July 2, 2014
6. Planes: Fire & Rescue
Disney’s sequel to last year’s Planes is directed by Bobs Gannaway. Dane Cook returns as the voice of Dusty Crophopper, who learns his engine is damaged and he may never race again. The first film didn’t quite dive deep enough as Disney films tend to do. But Gannaway assures that this time they’ve dug deeper into Dusty’s character, emotionally. The voice cast also features Julie Bowen and Ed Harris.
Release Date: July 18, 2014
7. When The Game Stands Tall
The other sports drama this summer stars Jim Caviezel as the legendary De La Salle High School football Coach Bob Ladouceur. When The Game Stands Tall details how Ladouceur took the Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning stream that shattered all records for any American sport. On the surface, this movie is about football, but wherever high school kids and American sports are involved, there’s always a hopeful message of responsibility and commitment.
Release Date: August 22, 2014
For The Young Adults
8. The Fault In Our Stars
Shailene Woodley returns to the Ya genre with this film adaptation of John Green‘s best seller The Fault In Our Stars. Woodley reunites with her Divergent co-star Ansel Elgort for this romantic drama about two teens who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them—and us—on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. This is one of the most anticipated YA adaptations of 2014. Yes, the trailers look a bit sappy, but Woodley’s a talented young actress and she’s always worth watching.
Release Date: June 6, 2014
9. The Giver
Lois Lowry‘s 1993 sci-fi novel is finally coming to the big screen. Directed by Philip Noyce, The Giver features a talented ensemble that includes the likes of Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, and Katie Holmes. The film follows a 12-year-old boy who is elected to store all memories of the world before its utopian conversion to Sameness, where individuality and choice do not exist. He alone will carry the memories of the “real world” ’til it’s time to pass them on. This long-awaited adaptation has a spectacular cast, but Lowry’s novel will be hard to capture. Our expectations are very high on this one.
Release Date: August 15, 2014
10. If I Stay
Based on Gayle Forman‘s 2009 teen novel If I Stay, the film stars Chloe Moretz as Mia Hall, a 17-year-old girl dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophic car accident involving her family. Jamie Blackley plays Moretz’s love interest Adam. The film is directed by R.J. Cutler and also stars Mireille Enos.
Release Date: August 22, 2014