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2018: The Year Ahead In Animated Film

Maybe it wasn't quite up to 2016's standards, but 2017 saw a decent selection of animated features, both mainstream and independent. How does 2018 look? There's a lot to look forward to, from eagerly anticipated sequels to the return, of both Nick Park And Wes Anderson. Join us as we look ahead to the animated features that will be hitting cinemas over the next 12 months! Note- there may well be other delights this year we don't even know about yet (particularly in the field of independent and international fare) but we've tried to cover everything we can!

Mary and The Witch's Flower

The debut animated feature from Studio Ponoc is giving us distinct Studio Ghibli vibes. Which is hardly surprising as Ponoc is the new home for many ex-Ghibli staff, including director Hiromasa Yonebeyashi (When Marnie Was There). Adapted from a fantasy novel by Mary Stewart, this story of a young witch looks like it could almost be a Ghibli greatest hits, with elements from Kiki's Delivery Service, Laputa, Howl's Moving Castle and more- plus more than a touch of J.K. Rowling too. While it doesn't seem to be doing anything particularly new, this looks perfect for scratching that Ghibli itch.

ETA: January 18 (US Preview), Jan 19 (US full release) May 18 (UK)


Pixar's love-letter to Mexico was a 2017 release in the US but comes to the UK and Ireland in early 2018. Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina's Day Of The Dead-themed story was able to overcome initial controversy and has already won numerous awards and become Mexico's all-time highest-grossing film. It follows a young boy named Miguel who is transported into the land of the dead and must find a way to connect with his ancestors and find his way home.

ETA: January 19 (UK)

Early Man

Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run's Nick Park returns to helm his first feature since Curse Of The Were-Rabbit. A plucky caveman and his pet woolly pig must unite his tribe to face the might of the technologically superior Bronze Age tribe lead by the dastardly Lord Nooth... in a football match! The trailers for this latest from Aardman are full of the charm and wit we've all come to expect from the UK's stop-motion supremos.

ETA January 26 (UK), February 16 (US)

Isle Of Dogs

Wes Anderson's sophomore stop-motion feature takes place on an island of Japan where the nation's dogs are exiled following an outbreak of dog flu. A young boy named Atari comes to the island in search of his beloved pooch. If you loved Fantastic Mr Fox (or any other Anderson films) then you are in for a treat. Featuring an all-star voice cast including Ed Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston and Bill Murray.

ETA  March 23 (US), March 30 (UK)

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales

French duo Benjamin Renner and Patrik Imbert re-team for this follow up to the Oscar-nominated Ernest & Celestine. Based on Renner's own graphic novel, this charming family story is brought to life with beautiful water-colour style visuals.

ETA: April TBC (US),  TBC (UK)

Lu Over The Wall/ Night Is Short Walk On Girl

Incredibly, anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa released two feature films in Japan in 2017- and they are both coming to North American cinemas in 2018 via GKIDS Films. Lu Over The Wall is Yuasa's first family film, a fishy fairytale about a teenager who befriends a mermaid. Night Is Short is a surreal and dreamlike film that acts as a spiritual successor to his TV series The Tatami Galaxy.

ETA: Spring/Fall TBC (US)

The Breadwinner 

Nora Twomey and Cartoon Saloon's moving story of a young girl in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is a top awards-season contender. Following a number of festival showings and a release in the US and Canada in 2017, the film will finally arrive in the UK and Twomey's native Ireland later this spring.

ETA: May 25 (UK)


Warner Animation Group's second non-LEGO film, following Storks,  is set among a colony of Yetis who don't believe in humans. While this is probably not going to be anyone's most anticipated animated movie, Storks was such an unexpected gem that we're intrigued to see where WAG go next.

ETA: September 28 (US), October 5 (UK)

Incredibles 2

Brad Bird's sequel to his 2004 Pixar classic was a long time coming. In the movie itself though, very little time has passed, and it, in fact, picks up moments after the last movie ended. This time around Bob (aka Mr Incredible) is left looking after baby Jack-Jack while wife Helen (aka Elastigirl) gets to save the world. We've only seen a teaser so far, but this has to be our most anticipated sequel of the year.. by a hair.

ETA: June 15 (US), July 13 (UK)

Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2

The other hotly anticipated animated sequel of 2018 will see us make a welcome return to Ralph's world. Despite the fact that there seems to be plenty of milage left in mining the video game world, Rich Moore's sequel is setting its sights on the wider world of the internet. While it remains to be seen if this works as well as the original, we're excited to find out!

ETA: November 21 (US), November 30 (UK)

The Grinch

Illumination Entertainment is producing this new take on the classic Dr Seuss fable. While we're skeptical that this can live up to the original Chuck Jones holiday special, the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role is pretty on point. Surely it has to be better than the Jim Carrey version at least.

ETA:  November 9 (US/UK)

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Considering all the grumbling in some quarters that there are too many superhero movies these days, it's a little bit ironic that one of the freshest and most exciting looking mainstream animated movies this year stars Spider-Man. Or that should be Spider-Men, as not only will Miles Morales make his big screen debut, the trailer teases multiple spideys. The first teaser was more than enough to sell us on Peter Ramsey's new spin on the iconic character.

ETA: December 14 (US/UK)

Mirai Of The Future

Mamoru Hosoda's new film will see a spoiled four-year-old boy who (thanks to time-travel shenanigans) meets the older version of his new baby sister. Due to open in Japan this summer, it's also due to play theatrically in 57 other countries. We've heard whispers of deals for the US and UK, so we're hopeful that we just might get to see it in English-speaking countries before the year is out.

ETA: July (Japan)

And The Rest...

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation sees director Genddy Tartovsky return in the second sequel to his surprise 2012 hit  ETA July 13 (US) July 27 (UK)  ✱  Johnny Depp stars as the titular Sherlock Gnomes in the sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet.  ETA  March 23 (US),  May 11 (UK) ✱  A normal family are turned magically into monsters in the UK/German co-production Monster Family  ETA February 9 (US), March 2 (UK)  ✱ Masaaki Yuasa's 2004 feature debut Mind Game is getting a US Release via GKIDS Films  ETA  February TBC