Picture from Family Films Opening During the 2016 Holiday Movie Season
Moana is Disney's animated film contribution to the 2016 Christmas Movie Season. Image ©Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Family Films Opening During the 2016 Holiday Movie Season

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, movie studios roll out their biggest box office hopefuls. Here is a list of family targeted titles they are hoping will draw film fans into theaters during November and December of 2016. (Click on the title links for our review and more content information, which will be updated as each movie releases.)

November 4, 2016

Doctor Strange MPAA: PG-13
This Marvel character comes to the big screen with Benedict Cumberbatch starring as the arrogant surgeon forced to look at alternative medical solutions after his hands are badly injured in a car accident. What he finds pushes his understanding of science, spirituality and the universe. Oh, and it turns him into a superhero too.

Trolls MPAA: PG
Yes, this animation looks like a huge advertisement– and it will undoubtedly inspire some little ones to ask for Troll dolls under the Christmas tree. Surprisingly, it also offers positive messages about where to find real happiness (and it is not from getting gifts…) as well as some fun musical numbers featuring older songs likely to entertain mom and dad.

November 11, 2016

Arrival MPAA: PG-13
Communication proves to be the best weapon for dealing with an alien invasion in this sci-fi that promotes talking, tolerance and considering a perspective on time. This deep-thinking, low-action script will likely be best suited for older teens and adults.

November 18, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them MPAA: PG-13
This Harry Potter spin-off features Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of a textbook about fantastic beasts. He can be found in New York City, wondering amongst the muggle and wizard worlds of the turn of the twentieth century.

November 23, 2016

Moana MPAA: PG
Walt Disney Motion Pictures travels to the ancient world of the South Pacific in this animation. Here we meet the spunky Moana (voice of Auli'i Carvalho), whose navigational skills are just what’s needed in a high seas adventure. What seem optional is her traveling companion, the demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and his over-inflated view of himself.

November 25, 2016

Lion MPAA: PG-13
Opening in limited release, this film looks like it will be worth hunting down for older teens and adults. Based on a true story it recounts the experiences of Indian born Saroo (Dev Patel), who was lost from his family when only a five-year-old (played by Sunny Pawer) and later adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Denham). Now he returns to his native land hoping his faded memories will help him find his first family.

December 16, 2016

Rogue One – A Star Wars Story MPAA: PG-13
Star Wars fans from galaxies far and wide will be gathering for this big budget production that promises to tell the tale of the rebel group that acquired the plans for the Death Star that were used to take down the massive space base in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The Space Between Us MPAA: PG-13
In this science fiction flick featuring a teen romance, Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) who was born and raised on Mars visits Earth for the first time. The sixteen-year-old is anxious to experience all of the wonders of the blue-green planet. He is especially excited to meet his virtual pen pal, Tulsa (Britt Robertson).

21 Dec 2016

Assassin's Creed MPAA: PG-13
Based on the popular video game (and targeting its fanboys), this live action adventure follows Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) who is able to experience the memories of his ancestor Aguilar (also played by Fassbender). Exploring the mind of this citizen of 15th Century Spain, Lynch discovers a mysterious brotherhood with a dark purpose.

Passengers MPAA: PG-13
This space adventure proves you should never fall asleep on the job because while the passengers on board a craft travelling to a distant colony were hibernating – something went terribly wrong. Only two of them (Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence) are now awake and it will be up to them to figure out the mystery.

Sing MPAA: PG
A singing contest brings out the best and the worst -- both in talent and motives -- in this animation aiming at family audiences and wannabe entertainers.

December 23, 2016

A Monster Calls MPAA: PG-13
This limited release, animation/live action mix is a bit of a somber note amidst the holiday merriment. But it may have a comforting message for those facing the cheerless prospect of losing a loved one. The possible death of his mother (Felicity Jones) is what Connor (Lewis McDougall) is afraid to deal with. To his aid comes a monster tree-like creature (voiced by Liam Neeson) that offers him support to face his inner demons.

December 25, 2016

Hidden Figures MPAA: PG-13
Racial prejudice and women’s rights are explored in this movie that recounts the true story of a group of black females (played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe) who provide the mathematical brains behind NASA’s space missions. This movie opens in limited theaters in December and expands to a wider release January 13, 2017.

More details about the movies mentioned in this post…

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

A second chance to heal mankind.

Trolls

Trolls

They're in a hairy situation.

Arrival

Arrival

First impressions are everything.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

A suitcase full of surprises.

Moana

Moana

This Disney animation sets sail in the South Pacific.

Lion

Lion

No matter how far away, the heart still longs for home.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Another tale from a (familiar) galaxy far, far away...

The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us

She is from Earth, he is from Mars.

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed

Who knows what lurks in your family tree!

Passengers (2016)

Passengers (2016)

It’s a bad time to suffer from insomnia.

Sing

Sing

The animal world's got talent.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

More than just a pretty face.

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

Real life can be more frightening than imaginary monsters.