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2019: The Year Ahead In Animated Film

As a new year begins, AFA is here with our traditional look ahead to all the big animated features due to hit cinemas (or on occasion, streaming services) over the next twelve months. We've got some big name sequels this year, but also some exciting originals too.

As always, bear in mind that this list won't be able to cover the complete scope of animated films released in 2019. We mainly focus on US and UK releases, and there will certainly be some independent and foreign features announced and released over the course of the year that aren't even on our radar yet.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly

The first movie spin-off from the Dragon Ball Super TV series, and the 20th in the Dragon Ball Movie franchise overall. The new movie brings back fan favourite villain Broly for a brand new story created by original Dragon Ball author Akira Toriyama.

ETA: Jan 16 (US) Jan 23 (UK)

Ruben Brandt, Collector

Something for more mature audiences arrives in this R-rated Hungarian thriller from Milorad Krstić. The eponymous Brandt is a renowned psychotherapist who becomes an art-thief with the help of four of his patients.


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

The long-awaited conclusion to the How To Train Your Dragon story. Director Dean DeBlois returns to finish the trilogy with an apparently bittersweet end to Hiccup and Toothless's story. Don't forget your hankies- this one is going to be emotional.

ETA Feb 1 (UK) Feb 22 (US)

The Lego Movie 2 :The Second Part

Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are replaced this time by Mike Mitchell and Trisha Gum, but still get screenplay credits on this long-awaited sequel. Set five years after the events of the first film, it sees Emmet, Wyldstyle and co contend with Duplo Invaders from the Sistar Galaxy.

ETA:  Feb 8 

Ponoc Short Film Theatre Volume One: Modest Heroes

Studio Ponoc's follow up to Mary And The Witch's Flower is a three-part anthology. Each segment uses a distinct style of animation and is directed by a veteran from Studio Ghibli, including Mary's director Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The film is getting a two-night Event Screening in the US from GKIDS and Fathom Events.

ETA: Jan 10 & 12 (US)

Penguin Highway

A young boy investigates the mysterious appearance of penguins in a Japanese town in this charming family feature. Following festival screenings last year the film will see wider screenings in both the US and UK this year, via Eleven Arts and Anime Limited respectively.  Check out our review here.

ETA 2019 TBC

Wonder Park

Paramount and Nickelodeon are hoping to launch a franchise with this movie set to be joined by an upcoming TV series. The story follows a young girl who discovers the theme park she dreamt up when she was younger actually exists.

ETA March 15 (US) April 8 (UK)

Missing Link

LAIKA are finally back with their first stop-motion feature since masterpiece Kubo And The Two Strings. Written and directed by Paranorman's Chris Butler, this sees Victorian adventurer Sir Lionel Frost teaming up with the Bigfoot-like Mr Link for a globetrotting adventure.

ETA April 5 (UK) April 12 (US)

Secret Life Of Pets 2

Illumination's biggest hit outside the Despicable Me/Minions franchise gets its inevitable sequel. This promises to be pretty much more of the same and will surely go down a treat with its (massive) intended audience.

ETA May 31 (UK) June 7 (US)

The Lion King 2019

Jon Favreau's (still animated) remake of the classic Disney 2D film is coming, whether you like it or not. The trailer has split audiences (and the AFA staff) but it's sure to be an absolute juggernaut at the box office next summer.

ETA July 19

Toy Story 4

So maybe we didn't need another sequel, potentially spoiling what was after all a perfect trilogy. Still, the first teasers released late last year reminded us just how much we love those characters. Not only that, but with Forky, they also showed us that they still have new ideas to spare, giving us hope that this will be more than just a hollow exercise in nostalgia.

ETA: June 21 

Asterix: Secret Of The Magic Potion

The second CG animated feature based on the classic French comic book series Asterix in which the plucky Gaul takes on the might of the Roman Empire.

ETA August 15 (UK)


Based on the popular toys, this family adventure comes from STX and Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios. Both visually and in terms of the film's feel, the trailer is very reminiscent of DreamWorks's Trolls.

ETA: May 3 (US) August 16 (UK)

Spies in Disguise

Blue Sky's new spy caper is adapted from a short called Pigeon Impossible, and sees ace secret agent Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith) turned into a Pigeon. He must team up with his nerdy tech officer Walter (Tom Holland) to save the world- and try to regain his human form.

ETA:  13 September 

Frozen 2

It's less than a year away, but we know next to nothing about Disney's sequel to their biggest princess movie of the century. Original directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck are returning, and Evan Rachel Wood is set to join the cast. The synopsis says that the sequel will see "Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf are going far in the forest to know the truth about an ancient mystery of their kingdom."

ETA: November 22

Shaun The Sheep Farmageddon

The second big-screen outing for Aardman Animation's adorable sheep. This time around the farm is visited by extraterrestrials

ETA October 18 (UK) 

Okko’s Inn

Supernatural shenanigans as a young girl moves into her Grandmother's rural Inn, which happens to be inhabited by friendly ghosts. This anime comes from industry veteran Kitaro Kosaka and is based on a series of popular Japanese children's books.

ETA: April (US)

Tito And The Birds

This Brazilian feature from Gabriel Bitar, Andre Catoto and Gustavo Steinberg has been going down a storm on the festival circuit and will come to the US via ShoutFactory. The titular Tito and his father are in search of a cure to save the world from a virus following a global pandemic

ETA: Jan/Feb (US)

Bunuel In The Labyrinth of Turtles

Following its world premiere at Animation Is Film Festival 2018, this Spanish/German 2D feature comes to the US via GKIDS Films. The film is an animated recounting of a particular chapter in the life of surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel as he made a documentary film in Paris.

ETA 2019 TBC


This long-awaited Christmas tale has had animation fans excited from the release of its proof-of-concept trailer. Sergio Pablo's story of a postman who meets Santa Claus has a very distinctive style combining 2d and CGI techniques, and will finally be released thanks to Netflix.


And The Rest

The Playmobil Movie is looking to get in on the Lego Movie's patch with another toy-based movie. ETA August 9 [UK]   Much delayed talking-animal CGI feature Animal Crackers finally arrives ETA January 4 [US] February 4 [UK]   The birds are still angry in The Angry Birds Movie 2 ETA August 16 [US] October 11   Formerly known as Everest, Pearl Animation and DreamWorks collaboration Abominable is due for release later this year ETA September 27 [US] October 11 [UK]