Netflix is about to make your life a whole lot easier. While many of the buzziest kids’ films are back to getting theater-first releases, the streamer is doubling down on its commitment to bringing quality animated movies right to your living room. That’s good news for parents who prefer having family movie nights at home over packing all of the kids in the car, buying pricey concession stand snacks, watching your kiddo spill said snacks, wiping away the tears that ensue, and then spending two hours sneaking in and out of a dark theater for bathroom breaks.
Thankfully, Netflix is going to cut down that drama by at least half. Sure, you’ll still need to make the trek to the theater to the latest Pixar offering, but the streamer’s lineup of animated movies for 2023 and 2024 includes some well-known characters alongside original fare. Among the most exciting titles on the list are the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie, Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie, and the long-awaited (emphasis on long) sequel to 2000’s Chicken Run.
Read on for a complete list of upcoming kid-friendly animated movies coming to Netflix over the course of the next 18 months.
Nimona (Summer 2023)
First up is the highly-anticipated adaptation of ND Stevenson’s graphic novel Nimona. The story follows Ballister Boldheart, a knight who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. As he fights to clear his name, he finds an unexpected ally in a shape-shifting teen named Nimona. The film’s voice cast includes Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, Eugene Lee Yang, Frances Conroy, Lorraine Toussaint, Beck Bennett, RuPaul Charles, Indya Moore, Julio Torres, and Sarah Sherman.
The Monkey King (Summer 2023)
This comedy is sure to bring the laughs thanks to its protagonist, a demon-fighting, adventure-seeking, and arrogant primate known simply as Monkey. Along with his magical fighting stick, he embarks on a quest that will lead him to a village girl who sets out to teach Monkey how to tackle his ego. The movie’s star-studded cast includes Jimmy O. Yang, Bowen Yang, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport, Jo Koy, Ron Yuan, Hoon Lee, Stephanie Hsu, and BD Wong.
Leo (Fall 2023)
Adam Sandler leads the voice cast in this musical, coming-of-age tale about the last year of elementary school as seen through the eyes of a 74-year-old lizard named Leo (Sandler), who also happens to be a seasoned class pet. After spending decades in a Florida classroom, Leo discovers he only has one year left to live, and he plans on making the most of it. With a little help from the students, he hatches a plan to break out of the classroom and start checking off items on his bucket list. In addition to Sandler, the cast also includes Bill Burr, Cecily Strong, Jason Alexander, Rob Schneider, Sadie Sandler, Sunny Sandler, and Jackie Sandler.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Fall 2023)
The original Chicken Run remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, and even though it’s been over 20 years since the movie’s release, it remains a classic. That puts a lot of pressure on the sequel — which finds Ginger, Rocky, and the rest of their flock leaving their sanctuary to save all of chickenkind — to succeed. But thankfully, this movie has both nostalgia and an amazing voice cast on its side. Among the movie’s stars are Thandie Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Imelda Staunton, David Bradley, Jane Horrocks, Romesh Ranganathan, and Nick Mohammed.
In Your Dreams (2024)
While details on In Your Dreams remain scarce, this definitely sounds like the perfect movie for siblings who have trouble getting along. In the film, Stevie and her brother Elliot travel to the world of dreams to find the Sandman, who they believe can grant their wish of stopping their parents’ divorce. Along the way, these two total opposites will have to learn how to get along as they come to realize they can face anything as long as they face it together.
Saving Bikini Bottom: The Sandy Cheeks Movie (2024)
SpongeBob is leaving the ocean, y’all. In 2024, Netflix is releasing a new Bikini Bottom adventure which finds Sandy leading the charge when her and her friends’ entire community gets scooped out of the ocean. This leads her and her pals on an adventure to Texas to save Bikini Bottom before it’s too late. The movie’s cast includes Carolyn Lawrence, Tom Kenny, Wanda Sykes, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Johnny Knoxville, and Craig Robinson.
That Christmas (2024)
Based on the children’s book series by Love Actually director Richard Curtis, That Christmas is set to “follow a series of entwined tales about love and loneliness, family and friends, and Santa Claus making a big mistake, not to mention an enormous number of turkeys,” per the official press release. The movie’s script is also being penned by Curtis.
Thelma the Unicorn (2024)
The only info we have about this movie so far is the synopsis and a photo, but it looks destined to be a fan favorite among kids. After all, who doesn’t want to see a movie about an ambitious pony who is transformed into a unicorn, leading her to chase her dreams of becoming a pop star?
Hailing from Shannon Tindle, the director of the emotionally devastating Netflix original Lost Ollie, Ultraman follows the titular beloved Japanese character. After becoming a baseball superstar, Ken Sato returns to Japan where he takes on the role of the Earth-defending hero Ultraman — and is forced to raise the child of his greatest enemy.
Go ahead and get excited now, because Netflix is making sure there are plenty of reasons for the family to stay in over the next few months.