Feature Film

17 Big Animated Movies Coming To U.S. Theaters In 2019

If you thought 2018 was a big year for animated features, just wait until 2019. New Lego and How to Train Your Dragon movies. Frozen 2. Toy Story 4. And so many more.

Cartoon Brew has collated the latest on next year’s major U.S. feature animation releases, which are keeping a lot of artists incredibly busy right now.

All of next year’s releases are aimed at the children’s or family film markets. Most of next year’s major U.S. releases are cg animated pics, although there are a couple of stop-motion efforts in the mix.

And in a sign of changing times, our most anticipated hand-drawn feature from an American major is being produced for streaming by Netflix. We’re making an exception and adding it to our list because you’ve got to have at least one 2d film in the batch.

Dive into the list below.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Director: Mike Mitchell
Production studio: Animal Logic (Australia/Canada)
U.S. distributor: Warner Bros.
Release date: February 8, 2019

The characters from the first film, including Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) face a new foe in the form of alien Lego Duplo invaders. Production on the cg animated film has centered at Animal Logic’s Vancouver studio.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Director: Dean DeBlois
Production studio: Dreamworks Animation (USA)
U.S. distributor: Universal Pictures
Release date: February 22, 2019

Toothless discovers an untamed mate, but the discovery of a new world brings danger back to the now peaceful village. The film is billed as the third and final installment in Dreamworks’ beloved How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

Wonder Park

Director: no director announced
Production studio: Ilion Animation Studios (Spain)
U.S. distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release date: March 15, 2019

This Paramount Animation release tells the story of a young girl who discovers an abandoned magical amusement park. Ilion Animation Studios in Spain has ramped up to make the film possible.

Missing Link

Director: Chris Butler
Production studio: Laika (USA)
U.S. distributor: Annapurna Pictures
Release date: April 12, 2019

Laika’s newest stop-motion adventure, in which the studio will also be taking advantage of cg and visual effects, is about a living remnant of the link between man and ape. The studio’s technical advances continue to impress: look for a new approach to how Laika makes its stop-motion characters appear to be breathing via an air-filled apparatus that was developed for this film.

Uglydolls

Director: Kelly Asbury
Production studio: Reel FX Animation Studios (USA/Canada)
U.S. distributor: STX Entertainment
Release date: May 10, 2019

This film ties into the hugely popular Uglydoll brand, based upon a series of plush toy characters. STX Entertainment is producing the film in conjunction with Robert Rodriguez and his Troublemaker Studios outfit.

Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie

Director: Richard Starzak
Production studio: Aardman Animations (UK)
U.S. distributor: Lionsgate
Release date: May 15, 2019

The follow-up to Aardman’s Oscar-nominated 2015 stop-motion film is being distributed again by Lionsgate in the United States. The new movie sees Shaun and his flock rally against an invasion of aliens who arrive at the farm.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Director: Chris Renaud
Production studio: Illumination Mac Guff (France)
U.S. distributor: Universal Pictures
Release date: June 7, 2019

This Illumination production is a sequel to the 2016 original, which was a massive global success, grossing around $875 million worldwide. One person who won’t partake in the new film is Louis C.K., the voice of the lead dog Max, who was booted from the sequel in the wake of his Me Too scandal.

Toy Story 4

Director: Josh Cooley
Production studio: Disney-Pixar (USA)
U.S. distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Release date: June 21, 2019

Pixar’s Toy Story universe is expanding once more with a film that reportedly deals with the search for the lost Bo Peep, who is Woody’s love-interest. Toy Story 4 was originally set for release in 2017, then 2018, before receiving its 2019 date.

The Lion King

Director: Jon Favreau
Production studio: MPC (principal VFX house)(USA/UK/Canada/India)
U.S. distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Release date: July 19, 2019

Disney is calling this a live-action remake, but it’s actually photoreal computer animation. Director Favreau, who tackled the Disney live-action/cg hybrid re-imagining of The Jungle Book, is going all-cg for The Lion King, but is using a similar virtual production approach to ‘shoot’ the film. MPC is leading the charge on creating the environments and characters in the film.

Wish Dragon

Director: Chris Appelhans
Production studio: Base Animation (China)
U.S. distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation
Release date: July 26, 2019 (China)

Wish Dragon is described as a ‘genie-in-a-bottle retelling’ set in contemporary China. Jackie Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media is producing with Base Animation in China, with Sony Pictures Animation also on board. We don’t have the U.S. release date for the film yet, but it’s set for July in China, and will make its way stateside via Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation.

Playmobil: The Movie

Director: Lino DiSalvo
Production studio: On Animation Studios (Canada)
U.S. distributor: Tristar Pictures
Release date: August 16, 2019

This cg-animated feature is inspired by the German Playmobil brand toys. The story centers on a young woman who is forced to abandon her carefully structured life to embark on an epic journey to find her young brother in the world of Playmobil.

Angry Birds 2

Director: Thurop Van Orman
Production studio: Sony Pictures Imageworks (Canada)
U.S. distributor: Columbia Pictures
Release date: September 6, 2019

Rovio and Sony Pictures Animation are combining again for Angry Birds 2. This is the follow-up to the 2016 film, which was based on the Finnish mobile game fad.

Spies in Disguise

Directors: Nick Bruno, Troy Quane
Production studio: Blue Sky Studios (USA)
U.S. distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Release date: September 13, 2019

Will Smith and Tom Holland voice a spy and an inventor respectively in this upcoming Blue Sky Studios cg feature. It is inspired by the 2009 short film Pigeon: Impossible by Lucas Martell.

Abominable

Directors: Jill Culton
Production studio: Pearl Studio (China)
U.S. distributor: Universal Pictures
Release date: September 27, 2019

Abominable, formerly called Everest, is a magical yeti story, and one of Pearl Studio’s first projects after changing from Oriental Dreamworks (the film is still a collaboration with Dreamworks Animation).

Pearl Studio.
The Addams Family

Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Production studio: Cinesite Animation (Canada)
U.S. distributor: MGM
Release date: October 18, 2019

Cinesite is working with MGM on this new adaptation of Charles Addams’ classic single-panel comic characters The Addams Family. Cinesite’s new Vancouver studio is producing the film (it is the former Nitrogen Studios, which made the raucous R-rated Sausage Party). In this new cg take on the characters, The Addams Family faces off against a crafty reality TV host while also preparing for their extended family to arrive for a major celebration.

Frozen 2

Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Production studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios (USA)
U.S. distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Release date: November 27, 2019

Frozen, released in 2013, still tops the list as the number one grossing animated film worldwide, as well as becoming a merchandising and live-show phenomenon. The sequel sees the return of the original directors and many of the cast, including Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.

Klaus

Director: Sergio Pablos
Production studio: Sergio Pablos Animation Studios (Spain)
U.S. distributor: Netflix (online)
Release date: Christmas 2019

Sergio Pablos is not just one of the finest animators of his generation, but an idea machine who created the Despicable Me franchise and Smallfoot. Now, he makes his feature film directorial debut with Klaus, a quirky holiday-themed film that tells the origin of Santa Claus. Produced through his Madrid-based studio, Pablos and his crew are using digital tools to create a best-of-both-worlds approach to 2d that combines the organic charm of drawing with the volumetric lighting and texturing that viewers commonly expect from computer animated films. Netflix distributes worldwide on its streaming service.

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