Currently, there are 35 fully animated movies that are slated for 2020, with several of them coming from foreign markets or animated internationally. Thus, this list will consider all markets available and run down the 10 animated films that will certainly bring the best of animation for the next year.
10 Wish Dragon
With no clear release date as of the moment, Wish Dragon is a US and China co-production from Sony Pictures Animation. The story, written by director Chris Appelhans, is a contemporary take on the genie-in-a-bottle story about a boy who encounters a wish-granting dragon.
The cast boasts an entirely Asian cast like Jackie Chan, Constance Wu, John Cho, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and Will Yun Lee. And as proven by DreamWorks’ Abominable, animated co-produced movies set in China are eye-popping visual treats, fun chase adventures and intriguing feats for mythological creatures.
9 The Willoughbys
Based on the children’s book by Lois Lowry, the story is about four children who were abandoned by their parents and had to adapt their old-fashioned skills to survive a contemporary world. Ergo, here is another take of orphan fantasy like A Series of Unfortunate Events. This Netflix film is among the many animated projects that it had slated for the future.
The Canadian co-production boasts a talented cast that includes Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, Will Forte, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski and Alessia Cara in her film debut.
8 Over The Moon
The story of Over the Moon centers on a girl who wishes to meet the mythical Moon Goddess by constructing her own rocket. Disney veteran Glen Keane, who created the shorts romantic Duet and the Oscar-winning Dear Basketball with Kobe Bryant, is directing the project, backed by Chinese animation studio Pearl Studio.
The project is a co-production between Netflix and Pearl.
7 Bob’s Burgers: The Movie
Bob’s Burgers was one of the successful animated sitcoms that was compared to iconic animated classics like The Simpsons and Family Guy. And this year, it got its chance for a feature-length feature, the second for a Fox animated series since 2007’s The Simpsons Movie.
Creator Loren Bouchard envisioned the first feature-length outing for the Belchers as a musical adventure, with a subplot involving Louise and her fan-favorite Kuchi Kopi doll. Nothing is much laid out, but it is riveting to anticipate any news. Probably expect a Tina Belcher dance or Teddy spouting one-liners.
For a second time, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gets their theatrical release with an origin story that is aimed to set up a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe with the Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, Captain Caveman, Dee Dee Sykes and Dick Dastardly appearing.
Its first trailer showed a lot of promise for being a fun mystery adventure and cute origin story for Scooby and Shaggy. While Will Forte makes a good Casey Kasem impression as Shaggy, it is Frank Welker’s creative involvement as Scooby’s voice that raises hope for this reboot.
For the first time since 2015, Pixar will be releasing two animated features. The first of which is the suburban-themed contemporary fantasy called Onward that stars the vocal talents of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two brothers who go in a race against time to revive their deceased father.
The recent promotional materials showed a lot of subversion from the usual Pixar fodder, like the modernized setting and the emphasis on humor. Yet, Monsters University director Dan Scanlon promised emotional levity since the film is based on his personal experience.
4 Raya And The Last Dragon
For their 59th animated feature, Walt Disney Animation set for an Orient-inspired story about a warrior who ventured to find the last dragon in her world. The voice cast currently consisted of Cassie Steele (who voiced Tammy Gueterman from Rick & Morty) and Awkwafina (who had a fantastic 2019 with The Farewell and Jumanji: The Next Level).
Raya and the Last Dragon teases a fusion of hyper-realistic animation and kung-fu sequences that harkens back to Mulan, but will bring new elements from its world-building, almost like Avatar: The Last Airbender.
3 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run
After the series celebrated its 20th anniversary, SpongeBob gets his third theatrical outing and the first full 3D-animated feature-length feature. For his third cinematic adventure, his loyal pet snail Gary was suddenly “snailnapped” by Poseidon, and he and his best friend Patrick must rescue him.
While the story was inspired by the special “Have You Seen this Snail?”, the teaser brought unique elements like flashbacks to a younger SpongeBob in Camp Coral (a setup for his spinoff show) and an unprecedented cameo by Keanu Reeves as a tumbleweed sage. Sold.
2 How Do You Live?
Even though Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement after The Wind Rises, the world-renowned anime visionary stepped out to do his twelfth feature with Studio Ghibli centering on a protagonist’s encounters with a coming-of-age novel entitled How Do You Live?. The film’s specifics remain hidden; though producer Toshio Suzuki revealed that the project was meant to be Miyazaki’s gift to his grandson.
Expect the release of this project before the 2020 Summer Olympics to pay respect to an animation legend behind gems like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
From an animated film about personal emotions in Inside Out, Pixar mapped out an animated film about personal passions in Soul. Back again in this project is two-time Academy Award winner Pete Docter, who teased the project as a “cosmic journey around New York City”.
With a strong impression on its teaser, the film will likely to boost a moving emotional weight like many Pixar films. Yet, the strongest hook is its distinction to have an African-American as a protagonist for the first time for a feature-length Pixar film. With a strong story and solid animation, Soul will be breathtaking.