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2020: The Year Ahead In Animated Film

So, as the Christmas decorations go back in the loft for another year we find ourselves staring down the barrel of not only a new year but also a whole shiny new decade. After a pretty incredible year for animation in 2019, what delights does the first year of the 2020's hold? Join us for our annual look ahead to the animation movies we'll be enjoying (or not) over the next 12 months.

As always, bear in mind this isn't the whole picture. Some releases may be delayed or pushed forward as the studios see fit. It's also entirely possible that your favourite film of the year won't even be listed here, as independent and boutique distributors tend to work on a tighter schedule. Releases from distributors such as GKIDS Films, Eleven Arts and Anime Limited, as well as the various streaming services will almost certainly happen during this year that have not been announced yet. So keep an eye on our news coverage to find out! With that all said- let's get going!

The Wonderland

Also known as Birthday Wonderland, this anime fantasy from Miss Hokusai director Keiichi Hara is an original contemporary spin on the trope of a young girl transported to a fantasy kingdom. High-schooler Akane is summoned to Wonderland, where she finds herself labelled as the kingdom's saviour. Featuring gorgeous character designs by Russian designer Ilya Kuvshinov.


ETA:  JAN 31 (US)

Weathering With You

Makoto Shinkai's follow up to Your Name has already become Japan's biggest grossing film of 2019, but in 2020 general audiences in the UK and US will finally get to see it for themselves. Featuring Shinkai's trademark teen romance with a science-fiction/fantasy spin, combined with some of the most beautiful 2D animation you'll ever see, fans of Your Name should be more than satisfied.

ETA:   JAN 17 (UK, US) [Previews 15 and 16]

One Piece Stampede

The latest big screen outing for the hugely popular pirate anime is the 14th movie in the series and was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show's first broadcast. The new movie sees The Straw Hats come up against may of the rival crews they've crossed paths with before as they race to be the first to find a treasure that belonged to the legendary King Of The Pirates.



After several years of back-to-back sequels, we're getting TWO original movies from Pixar in 2020, the first of which is from Monsters University director Dan Scanlon. Set in a world of elves, wizards and dragons but which has largely lost its a magic, two elf brothers go on a quest to be reunited with their late father for one day. This summer's Soul seems to be being viewed as Pixar's big hope for this year, so Onward definitely has the potential to catch us all unaware.


Trolls World Tour

DreamWorks's first film of the 2020s is this sequel to 2016's surprisingly enjoyable original. This second movie looks likely to deliver more of the same- only dialled up to 11. So expect colourful animation, lots of music and a manic muppet-like energy. Musical stars Kelly Clarkson, Chance The Rapper and Ozzy Osborne join the voice cast this time around.

ETA:  MARCH 20 (UK), APRIL 17 (US)


Many of us were taken off guard by how charming the first trailer was for Warner Animation Group's reboot of the classic Hanna-Barbera franchise. Featuring a visual style that beautifully brings the original characters into three dimensions, the series will reveal Mystery Inc's origin story and launch a Hanna-Barbera shared universe.


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run

Originally planned to mark the 20th anniversary of the series, this third big-screen outing for SpongeBob and friends has now been pushed into this year. The plot seems to be standard spongey fare, but stylistically this is looking like something pretty special. The first full CG movie in the franchise uses a bold visual style that makes it look like the most unique mainstream animated feature since Into The Spider-Verse.

ETA  MAY 22 (UK)  JULY 31 (US)

Tokyo Godfathers (Re-release)

GKIDS Films will re-release this often-overlooked gem from the late great Satoshi Kon. In a career cut tragically short, this film stands out as Kon's most warm and humane work. Set amongst the homeless of Tokyo at Christmas, it follows three friends who find a lost baby, and set off to try and reunite it with its mother. The film will be released theatrically in a new 4K master and will be dubbed for the first time.

ETA: 2020 TBA


There's still so much we don't know about Pete Docter's spiritual successor to Inside Out. We do know that it features Joe Gardner, a musician and teacher who has lost his passion for music (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who's soul is transported out of his body. He must learn to find his way back, with the help of an infant soul named 22 (Tina Fey). The first teaser shows us a wonderfully vibrant version of inner-city New York, but it's the soul realm where it seems most of the film will take place.

ETA: JUN 19 (UK, US)

Minions 2:  The Rise Of Gru

After disappointing box-office returns on The Secret Life Of Pets 2, Illumination return to their most bankable franchise. Assuming audiences haven't finally tired of the little yellow buggers, this looks sure to be one of the biggest hits of the year (the last two movies in the franchise broke a billion). This sequel to the original prequel doubles up as an origin story for the lead character of the Despicable Me main series.

ETA:  JUL 3 (US), JUL 10 (UK)

Raya And The Last Dragon

Disney's next musical feature hopes to do for the culture of East Asia what Moana did for the Pacific Islands- although this is an original story. In a fictional kingdom, a warrior named Raya goes on a quest to find the last renaming dragon. The film features a screenplay by Adele Kim, best known for writing the hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians.

ETA:  NOV 27 (UK, US)

Bob's Burgers The Movie

Despite briefly going missing from Disney's schedule, we're assured that this big screen spin-off of the Fox animation is still coming this year. We've no idea exactly how The Belchers will adapt to the movie form (perhaps it could even be a musical?) but we can't wait to find out.


The Mitchells Vs The Machines

We still know very little about Sony's forthcoming feature, but it sounds like a lot of fun. It stars a normal family who's roadtrip is interrupted when technology starts turning on mankind. It sounds like a family-friendly version of Steven King's Maximum Overdrive- and coming from Gravity Falls alumni Jeff Rowe and Michael Rianda, we're expecting great things.


The Croods 2

Despite originally being cancelled, this year we are supposedly finally getting a sequel to the 2013 DreamWorks hit. The eponymous stone-age family are challenged by a rival family named The Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved. The film will be the feature directorial debut of Joel Crawford and will feature the voice of Peter Dinklage as the head of the Betterman Clan.


Shaun The Sheep 2: Farmageddon

Released theatrically in the UK late 2019, this Aardman stop-motion sheep-quel is skipping US cinemas entirely and will be hitting Netflix there instead. Expect buckets of Aardman's trademark humour and charm but this time with a sci-fi twist.

ETA: Early 2020 TBC (US)


Superman Red Son DC animated movie inspired by the Elseworlds comics  ETA  FEB 25★ Marona's Fantastic Tale Anca Damian's prize-winning 2D Feature ETA TBC ★  Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against The Universe Feature-length outing for the duo, debuting on Disney Plus ETA TBC ★  Sonic The Hedgehog Animated/live-action hybrid ETA Feb 14 ★ Wish Dragon Sony Pictures Animation Chinese co-pro ETA 2020 TBC (CHINA)