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2022: The Year Ahead In Animated Film

2021 may not have exactly been the year we might have hoped, but it did bring us another great slate of animated features. Hopefully, 2022 will be a big improvement all around, but either way, we've got a pretty packed schedule of animated movies coming to cinemas and/or streaming services near you.

Join us for our annual look ahead to see what to expect in the next 12 months. Remember that dates and details are always subject to change- and now more than ever, depending on how the pandemic develops. There will also likely be unexpected movies- especially independent and international titles that we don't know about yet that will come out this year. Who knows, maybe the best animated feature of 2022 isn't even on this list?


Mamoru Hosoda's follow up to his Oscar-nominated Mirai is quite possibly his most acclaimed work to date. Following festival screenings and its highly successful release in Japan this past summer, Belle arrives in the US and UK in early 2022. A modern sci-fi spin on Beauty and The Beast, Hosoda has this time enlisted help from talent across the world, including Disney artist Jin Kim, Cartoon Saloon's Ross Stewart and Tomm Moore, composer Ludvig Forsel and British architect Eric Wong to create something truly beautiful. 

ETA: January  14 (US) Early 2022 (UK)


Turning Red

Pixar's next is another original project, this time the feature debut from Domee Shi, director of Oscar-winning short Bao. That makes this the first film from the studio to be solo-directed by a woman.  The trailers tease a fresh, funny and relatable film, featuring a teen who discovers she has inherited a family curse to turn into a giant ( and incredibly adorable) Red Panda when she gets over-excited. The story and setting draw on Shi's own childhood as a Chinese-Canadian growing up in Toronto.

ETA: March 11 (Disney Plus)


Strange World

Walt Disney Animation Studios movie for the Holidays of 2022 is inspired by 20th Century pulp fiction. Don Hall directs the adventure romp that will follow a family of legendary explorers called the Clades as they journey to strange new worlds featuring strange never seen before creatures. 


ETA: November 23



Pixar's first sci-fi movie since Wall E is an origin story for Buzz Lightyear- the 'real' space ranger that the Toy Story toy was based on. Which explains why Tim Allen is out and erstwhile Captain America Chris Evans is in, in what- if the first teaser is to be believed- looks like an epic space adventure. Angus MacLane makes his solo directorial debut on the film, having previously directed Toy Story Of Terror and co-directed Finding Dory. Pete Docter is on board as writer. 

ETA  June 17


The Bad Guys

Based on a popular Scholastic Children's book series of the same name, this new offering from DreamWorks Animation wasn't really on anybody's radar before the trailer dropped late last year. With a very distinctive visual style and a madcap mood, this crime caper (featuring talking animals) looks set to steal audiences' hearts when it arrives in the spring. 

ETA  April 22 [US] Apil 1 [UK]


Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse: Part One

The first Spider-Verse movie benefitted from the element of surprise and to some degree low expectations. The same can't be said for the sequel, which has the nigh-on-impossible task of living up to its game-changing predecessor. Still, Lord and Miller are back on screenwriting and Executive Producer duty, and if anyone can pull it off they can. There's a new team of directors at the helm, featuring Soul's co-director Kemp Powers, Avatar creator Joaquim Dos Santos and Justin K Thompson, graduating from Production Designer on the first movie. The plot will see Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy and Oscar Isaac's Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099) on a journey across the multiverse so epic, it's going to take two movies and a whole load of  Spider-people to finish. 
ETA  October 7


Super Mario

The collaboration between Illumination and Nintendo, based on the beloved video game characters caused many raised eyebrows when it was revealed that Chris Pratt would be voicing the title character. But without a trailer or so much as a still from the movie, it's only fair to keep an open mind. Nintendo actually being involved this time makes it instantly one step-up on the notorious 90s live-action Mario movie, at least. 

 ETA Holiday 2022



The Amazing Maurice


This CG family feature is adapted from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, a 2001 children's book by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett. It features an impressive roster of UK voice talent, including Hugh Laurie as the titular kittie,  Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, Rob Brydon, David Tenant and Gemma Arterton. The original novel actually takes place in Pratchett's Discworld, but there's no sign of that being the case here. 

 ETA; February 13 [US]  Febuary 16- Cinema + Sky Cinema/Now TV [UK]


Fortune Favours Lady Nikuko


Studio 4C and director Ayumi Watanabe reteam after successful collaboration Children Of The Sea. A quirky comedy about a young girl and her larger-than-life mother, it's a much smaller and more down-to-earth film than many of the studio's previous releases, but it still boasts the high quality animation that they are known for and a big heart.


DC League Of Super-Pets


Having been given access to the Hanna-Barbera characters for Scoob and Tom and Jerry, Warner Animation Group have been handed the keys to the DC universe. This CG family feature will star Clark Kent's super-dog Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) who has to assemble a team of super-powered pets when the Justice League is put out of action. The first DC animated movie to be made for cinemas since Teen Titans Go To The Movies.

ETA: May 20

The Deer King

Iconic anime studio Production IG present this new fantasy feature that marks the directorial debut of Masashi Ando, an anime veteran who worked as animator or animation degree on several Studio Ghibli, Satoshi Kon and Makoto Shinkai films. The film follows the search for a cure for a deadly fever in a fantasy world. 



Sing A Bit Of Harmony

Time Of Eve and Patema Inverted's Yasuhiro Yoshiura newest feature is a musical high-school romance with a sci-fi twist. The film centres on an Artificial Intelligence named Shion who transfers to Keibu High School. Sing A Bit Of Harmony is Funimation's first co-produced feature film.

ETA: Jan 23 [US] Jan 27 [UK]


The Bob's Burgers Movie

The Belchers are headed for the big screen, in what will be the first 2D animated film to be released by Disney since Winnie The Pooh (although as a formerly Fox property, it will be released by 20th Century Studios). Originally scheduled for release in 2020,  we actually know very little about the plot beyond the fact that it's a musical. 

 ETA May 27


The House

Nexus Studios and Netflix present this blackly comic stop-motion anthology focussing on the residents of a London house. Each instalment of the anthology comes from one of the most talented names in indendent stop motion: Emma de Swaef and Marc Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Paloma Baeza. 

ETA:  January 14 (Netflix)


Minions 2: The Rise Of Gru

Assuming no further delays, Illumination's return to the franchise that built their name will arrive around two full years late. Most animated films were able to continue production during the pandemic, but for whatever reason Minions 2 suffered one of the biggest delays to hit an animated film. Uniquely, this film is both a sequel to a prequel (2015's Minions) and is itself a prequel (to 2010's Despicable Me) AND a spin-off. The film follows the first meeting of the Minions with a young Gru

ETA  July 21 [US] July 1 [UK]

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish

This sequel arrives a whole ten years after the first movie spin-off featuring Antonio Banderas's scene-stealing swashbuckler from the Shrek movies.  Are audiences still hungry for more stories from the Shrekiverse? We guess we'll find that out when the fearsome feline returns to the big screen later in the year.

ETA : September  23 [US] October 21 [UK]


Fireheart has an unconventional plot for a family feature: it follows Georgia Nolan a young girl who dreams of following in her father's footsteps and becoming a firefighter in 1930s New York. As NYC is menaced by a mystery arsonist, Georgia disguises herself as "Fireman Joe" she secretly joins the fire brigade. If she can find the culprit, surely she'll be allowed to join for real? Fireheart is a French/Canadian co-production, 


The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild

The existence of this spin-off of the popular Prehistoric family franchise is distinctily contentious, following Disney's closure of Blue Sky Studios last yearThis Disney Plus original movie puts the spotlight on adventurous weasel Buck Wild (voiced by Simon Pegg) as he tries to save the Lost World from Dinosaur domination. 

ETA : January 28 (Disney Plus)


Hotel Transylvania; Transformania

Sony Picture's Animation's Fourth film in the Hotel Transylvania franchise skipped its original late 2021 theatrical release in favour of a streaming release via Prime Video. This is the first film in the series not to be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, although he is still credited with the screenplay. Original star Adam Sandler also elected not to return, with YouTuber turned voice actor Brian Hull stepping in, and  Drek Dryomn and Jennifer Kluska taking over as directors. 

ETA  January 14 [Prime Video]


Catwoman Hunted

Although produced by Warner Bros Animation, with anime veteran Shinsuke Terasawa in the director's chair, the next DC Universe Animated movie distinguishes itself with an anime-like style. Infamous villain Catwoman and Batwoman take part in a fun looking crime caper written by Greg Weisman.

ETA Febuary 22 [Digital]

Undated 2022 Releases



Masaaki Yuasa follows up Ride Your Wave with a fictionalised biography of a real-life 14th-century performer, The film premiered to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival in 2021 and was nominated for Best Film in the Venice Horizons strand. 


Pompo The Cinephile


Based on a manga of the same name, this anime feature comes from new studio CLAP.  Pompo is a film producer in 'Nyallywood', in a story that celebrates the art of move making 



Dragon Ball Super: Super Heroes

The newest entry in one of anime's biggest franchises marks something of a radical departure for the series. For the first time, The Dragon Ball series is headed for 3D CG, with the film adopting a cel-shaded look that follows the style of its many videogame spin-offs. The film doesn't have a confirmed US or UK release for 2022, but we would expect it to follow on from the Japanese opening sooner rather than later.

ETA: April 22 [Japan] US/UK TBC

Suzume No Tojumari

The newest feature from Makoto Shinkai is another magical realist fantasy with a couple of teens at its heart (and probably falling in love along the way). The story follows a series of mysertious doors appearing in the middle of nowhere across Japan, and the teen girl Suzume who discovers she has the ability to close them.

ETA: Autumn 2022 [Japan]

Unconfirmed 2022 Releases 

The following titles are listed as films due to release during 2022 but do not have a confirmed/exact release date as yet. They are primarily streaming titles, but they may also receive cinema releases.

  • My Father's Dragon [Netflix] Cartoon Saloon fantasy adventure from director Nora Twomey.
  • Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Movie [Netflix] Movie spin-off.
  • Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules [Disney Plus] Animated sequel.
  • Luck [Apple TV+] SkyBound Animation's first feature. 
  • Escape From Hat [Netflix] Fantasy feature from director Mark Osborne
  • Wendell and Wild [Netflix] Henry Sellick's long-awaited return to stop-motion.