9 must-see family movies to see this summer

Summer means not only beaches and BBQs, but also blockbuster movies. Here’s a look at the new family-friendly flicks to put on your must-see list. 

RELATED: Every free kid-friendly outdoor movie playing this summer


Opens: May 24

Rating: PG

A lavish parade through Agrabah seems like an appropriate way to kick off the summer movie season. In this live-action remake of the animated Disney classic, Will Smith steps into the iconic role of the Genie and hopefully makes all our wishes come true while helping Aladdin (Mena Massoud) woo Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). Jasmine’s character is more developed here than in the animated version and her song “Speechless” is powerful. Initial reviews are positive. It was rated PG for some action and peril.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Opens: June 7

Rating: PG

This sequel to the clever animated film that tried to answer the question, “What do your pets do when you’re away?” has city animals heading to the country where antics with farm animals ensue. There are also lessons about facing fears and the importance of friendship. The voice cast is impressive and includes Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Harrison Ford and more. It’s rated PG for some crude humor and action.

Toy Story 4

Opens: June 21

Rating: G

Woody, Buzz and all your favorite characters from the first three Toy Story films are back along with a few new additions, including Duke Caboom and Forky, a utensil that is Bonnie has crafted into a toy at kindergarten orientation. Forky is reluctant to embrace his toyness, something Woody tries to change on Bonnie’s family road trip. There are detours which lead to both reconnecting with long-lost friend Bo Peep.


Opens: June 28

Rating: PG

Girl power and determination are on display in this documentary about the first-ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World yacht race in 1989. This 97-minute movie could be a good first documentary for kids who are new to the genre, and prior sailing knowledge is not required to appreciate this underdog story. It’s rated PG for language, some suggestive content and brief smoking images.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Opens: July 2

Rating: Not yet rated

Going through Marvel withdrawal now that “Avengers: Endgame” has come and gone? Fear not! Fans can get their superhero fix thanks to this film that follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his high school classmates as they travel to Europe. Peter may not plan on being Spiderman while on the trip, but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up and convinced him to join forces with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). This is a good option is best for tweens and teens.

The Lion King

Opens: July 19

Rating: Not yet rated

It’s hard to believe that The Lion King turns 25 this year. To mark the occasion, Disney Studios is a retelling of the animated classic using new film techniques to make it look very real. Some debate whether it is actually live action, but the animals look remarkably real. The images of baby Simba are adorable, and the cast is impressive, with Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Alfre Woodard, Keegan-Michael Key, and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. Parents and kids will likely both appreciate Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon. Mufasa’s death is upsetting, and it may be even more so in this version, especially to sensitive souls.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Opens: July 31

Rating: Not yet rated

Dora (Isabela Moner) has grown up a bit in this live-action movie update of the Nickelodeon animated show. She’s in high school now, but still has Boots the monkey and Diego (Jeffrey Wahlberg), by her side. Dora will need their help as she works to save her parents (Eva Longoria and Michael Peña) and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold.

Artemis Fowl

Opens: August 9

Rating: Not yet rated

The first book of the Artemis Fowl fantasy series by Eoin Colfer, which is popular among tween readers, will finally make it to the big screen this summer, with Kenneth Branagh directing, no less. Judi Dench and Josh Gad appear in supporting roles but the focus is on tween hero Artemis (Ferdia Shaw), an Irish boy who endeavors to reunite his family and restore the family fortune. There are some differences between the book and the movie, so this could be a good one to read first, and then compare and contrast them.

The Angry Birds Movie 2

Opens: August 14

Rating: Not yet rated

Angry Birds — those fuming, feathered creatures (and the green pig) — have some serious staying power. This movie is being released on the 10th anniversary of when the original game first became available. There are a lot of characters in this tale of the birds versus the pigs versus mysterious purple bird Zeta (Leslie Jones). The stars are apparently fans, as Peter Dinklage, Sterling K. Brown, Awkwafina and Rachel Bloom all voice characters in the movie. We won’t tell if you check your phone to see who’s voicing which character, but playing Angry Birds may be pushing it.

Moms’ Night Out: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Opens: August 16

Rating: Rated PG-13

By this point in the summer, it’s time for a moms’ night out at the movies. We loved this best-selling book and are excited to see the film starring Cate Blanchett in the title role. Bernadette is a creative woman who may have lost herself in motherhood and decides to take an unusual route to rediscover herself. We suspect we may both laugh and cry at this one.

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