2014 Animated Feature Film Guide

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Coming to a theater near you in 2014—lots of animated films! 2014 looks to be a great year for animated motion pictures. Here is Animation Fascination’s guide to all of the new animated movies scheduled to be released in theaters this year.

While it’s the first year in quite some time where we haven’t had a film from Pixar Animation Studios on the calendar (which is a bummer), there are many films to look forward to seeing. Of course, this list is subject to change so stay tuned to Animation Fascination for the latest news and updates. All release dates listed are for the U.S.

Which films are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below. See you at the movies!

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The Nut Job

  • Release Date: January 17
  • Studio/Distributor: Toonbox Entertainment/Open Road Films
  • Directed by: Peter Lepeniotis
  • Voice Cast: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph
  • Website: www.thenutjob.com
  • Official Synopsis: 
  • “In animated 3D, The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy that follows Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop in order to help his pals in the park gather food to survive the winter. Together with his sidekick, Buddy, he will assemble a ragtag crew to help him get inside – and take them on a fun-filled adventure they’ll never forget.”

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The LEGO Movie

  • Release Date: February 7
  • Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros.
  • Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
  • Voice Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill
  • Website: www.thelegomovie.com/index.html
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “The original 3D computer animated story follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously unprepared.”

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The Wind Rises

  • Release Date: February 21 (limited), February 28 (wide)
  • Studio/Distributor: Studio Ghibli/Touchstone Pictures
  • Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Voice Cast: English dub cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Elijah Wood, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Martin Short, Jennifer Grey
  • Website: www.facebook.com/thewindrisesmovie
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “In ‘The Wind Rises’, Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo. Writer and director Hayao Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in this epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world.”

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman

  • Release Date: March 7
  • Studio/Distributor: DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox
  • Directed by: Rob Minkoff
  • Voice Cast: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Stanley Tucci, Mel Brooks
  • Website: www.mrpeabodyandsherman.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine – The Wabac – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes The Wabac out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history.”

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Ernest & Celestine

  • Release Date: March 14 (New York and Los Angeles; other cities and dates TBA)
  • Studio/Distributor: Les Armateurs/GKIDS
  • Directed by: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, and Benjamin Renner
  • Website: www.gkids.tv/films/
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “Deep below snowy, cobblestone streets, tucked away in networks of winding subterranean tunnels, lives a civilization of hardworking mice, terrified of the bears who live above ground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer – and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for ursine troubadour Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Fresh from standing ovations at Cannes and Toronto, Ernest & Celestine joyfully leaps across genres and influences to capture the kinetic, limitless possibilities of animated storytelling. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bugs Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde. Bringing it all together is the on-screen chemistry between the two lead characters – a flowing, tender and playful rapport that will put a smile on your face and make your heart glow.”

RIO 2

Rio 2

  • Release Date: April 11
  • Studio/Distributor: Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox
  • Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
  • Voice Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, Andy Garcia, Kristen Chenoweth, Bruno Mars, Rita Moreno
  • Website: www.riomovies.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “The entire cast of the animated smash RIO returns in RIO 2, and they are joined by a new flock of top actors and musical talents. Rich with grandeur, character, color and music, RIO 2 finds Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three kids leaving their domesticated life in that magical city for a journey to the Amazon. They encounter a menagerie of characters who are born to be wild, voiced by Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Oscar/Emmy/Tony-winner Rita Moreno, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth.”

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Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

  • Release Date: May 9
  • Studio/Distributor: Summertime Entertainment
  • Directed by: Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre
  • Voice Cast: Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, Oliver Platt, Hugh Dancy, Patrick Stewart, Megan Hilty
  • Website: legendsofozmovie.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is a 3D-animated musical based on the adventure books by Roger Stanton Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum. A continuation of one of the world’s most popular and beloved fairy tales, Legends of Oz finds Dorothy (Lea Michele) waking to post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Lion (Jim Belushi), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and Glinda (Bernadette Peters) from a devious new villain, the Jester (Martin Short). Wiser the owl (Oliver Platt), Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), China Princess (Megan Hilty) and Tugg the tugboat (Patrick Stewart) join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colorful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City. Set to the tunes of Academy Award-nominated singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, Legends of Oz marks a charming, family friendly return to the Oz franchise.”

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

  • Release Date: June 13
  • Studio/Distributor: DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox
  • Directed by: Dean DeBlois
  • Voice Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Djimon Hounsou
  • Website: www.howtotrainyourdragon.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “The thrilling second chapter of the epic How to Train Your Dragon trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.”

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Planes: Fire and Rescue

  • Release Date:July 18
  • Studio/Distributor: DisneyToon Studios/Walt Disney Pictures
  • Directed by: Bobs Gannaway
  • Voice Cast: Dane Cook, Julie Bowen
  • Website: http://movies.disney.com/planes-fire-and-rescue
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “Planes: Fire & Rescue is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous team, including spirited super scooper Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.”

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The Boxtrolls

  • Release Date: September 26
  • Studio/Distributor: Laika
  • Directed by: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
  • Voice Cast: Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Jared Harris, Laraine Newman
  • Website: www.theboxtrolls.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “An orphaned boy raised by underground creatures called Boxtrolls comes up from the sewers and out of his box to save his family and the town from the evil exterminator, Arichibald Snatcher.”

BOOK OF LIFE

The Book of Life

  • Release Date: October 17
  • Studio/Distributor: 20th Century Fox Animation/Reel FX Animation Studios
  • Directed by: Jorge R. Gutierrez
  • Voice Cast: Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, Danny Trejo, Ice Cube, Hector Elizondo, Cheech Marin
  • Website: www.reelfx.com
  • Synopsis: While no official synopsis has been released, Cartoon Brew published a story about the film last year. The article stated that the film is a “Romeo and Juliet-style love story set against a Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) backdrop.” The article also had this to say about the film:
  • “The distributor Fox Animation Studios, which is a distinct entity from Fox’s subsidiary Blue Sky Studios, is a new contender in theatrical animation and all eyes will be on them as they prepare Book of Life as one of their first major releases. Further pressure was added last year by Pixar’s announcement that Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich would develop a Day of the Dead-themed feature of his own, though no release date has been set for the Pixar film.”

BIG HERO 6

Big Hero 6

  • Release Date: November 7
  • Studio/Distributor: Walt Disney Animation Studios/Walt Disney Pictures
  • Directed by: Don Hall and Chris Williams
  • Voice Cast: TBA
  • Website: www.disneyanimation.com/projects/bighero6
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “Brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion, a robot named Baymax, Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.”

Home-still-1

Home (formerly titled Happy Smekday!)

  • Release Date: November 26
  • Studio/Distributor: DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox
  • Directed by: Tim Johnson
  • Voice Cast: Steve Martin, Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Matt Jones
  • Website: www.dreamworksanimation.com
  • Official Synopsis:
  • “A group of aliens seek refuge from their enemies by hiding out on Earth.”

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