The animation genre is one of the most exciting and it seems that the films get bigger and better as every year goes by... it looks like 2016 is going to be no different.

The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets

We are going to see some of the biggest animation studio release films during this new year and we take a look at some of the movies that we are looking forward to the most.

- Anomalisa - released 11th March

Charlie Kaufman is best known for writing scripts such as Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but he has returned to the director's chair for the second time in his career.

Anomalisa is the second feature film of Kaufman's directing career and comes eight years after he made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York - this is also the first time that he has tackled the animation genre. His latest film project sees him team up with fellow director Duke Johnson.

Anomalisa is already one of the most acclaimed films of 2016 and has been winning over critics as well as bagging a whole host of nominations during the award's season - including a Best Animated Feature Oscar nod.

David Thewlis brings to life the central character of Michael Stone and he is joined on the cast list by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan. I am a huge fan of stop motion animation movies and I cannot wait to see what Kaufman and co have delivered this time around.

Michael Stone (Thewlis) is a successful motivational speaker with fans across the country, but inside him sits a knot of anxiety that renders much of his daily life meaningless. Everything and everyone just seems the same to him. But then Michael meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on a speaking tour stop in Cincinnati. Lisa is an anomaly and makes him see life a little differently.

Stop motion animation is something that we don't see on the big screen all that often and Anomalisa is going to be a terrific change from all of the computer generated animation films that are set for release this year.


- Kung Fu Panda 3 - released 11th March

Hard to believe but it was back in 2008 when we were introduced to the loveable Po in the first Kung Fu Panda film. Eight years on, and the third film in this already hugely successful franchise is about to be released.

This is the first Kung Fu Panda film since Kung Fu Panda 2 back in 2011, and it looks like this could be the biggest instalment yet. Jennifer Yuh returns to the director's chair for the latest instalment and teams up with Alessandro Carloni as he makes his feature film directorial debut.

However, Carloni is no stranger to this franchise, having worked as a story artist on the first two films. This is the first time that we have seen Yuh back at the helm since Kung Fu Panda 2.

Po is one of the most iconic animation characters of recent years and Jack Black is back on board to bring him to life. Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu are the other familiar voices as they reprise their roles as Shifu, Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, and Viper.

However there are some great new additions to the cast list as J.K. Simmons, Bryan Cranston, and Kate Hudson are on board as Kai, Li, and Mei Mei.

When Po's long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible - learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!

The Kung Fu Panda franchise has already grossed over $1 billion at the global box office and Kung Fu Panda 3 has box office smash written all over it.

Kung Fu Panda 3

- Zootropolis - released 25th March

Disney has enjoyed huge success in the last couple of years with the likes of Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 winning over audiences and critics and making a whole heap of cash at the global box office.

This March, the latest offering from Disney is set to hit the big screen in the form of Zootropolis, which is the fifty-fifth feature from the much-loved studio.

Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush come together in the director's chair for the first time. Howard brought us Tangled, Moore was behind Wreck it Ralph, while this will be the feature film directorial debut for Bush.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman are set to bring to life the central characters of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. They are joined on the voice cast list by Idris Elba, J.K Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira. It is another impressive line-up of talent - as we have come to expect from animation movies in recent years.

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootropolis is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighbourhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it's a melting pot where animals from every environment live together - a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.

But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps (Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn't so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (Bateman), to solve the mystery.

Disney has brought us some wonderful movies and unforgettable characters in recent years, and it looks like we are going to be treated to another film for all the family.


- The Secret Life of Pets - released 24th June

The Secret Life of Pets is one of the big animation films coming our way this summer as Illumination Entertainment collaborates with Universal Pictures for their fifth animated feature film together.

The Secret Life of Pets is from the team that brought us Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 and sees Chris Renaud back in the director's chair. This time around, he has teamed up with Yarrow Cheney, who is making his feature film directorial debut.

Have you ever wondered what your pets get up to every day when you are at work? The Secret Life of Pets explores this world. It is a movie that really does look like it is going to be a lot of fun.

Another fantastic voice cast has been assembled for the film as Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress and Albert Brooks are all on board.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures have enjoyed huge success together in recent years and The Secret Life of Pets looks like it is going to be another big hit for both studios.

The Secret Life of Pets

- Finding Dory - released 29th July

No year is complete without a Pixar film hitting the big screen and in 2016, we are going to be treated to Finding Dory. It was back in 2003 when Finding Nemo was released and everyone fell in love with the character of Dory.

Now, over a decade later, she is set to star in a film of her own and Ellen DeGeneres is back to voice the character once again. There is also a familiar face in the director's chair as Andrew Stanton is back as he teams up with Angus MacLane.

This is the first Pixar film for Stanton since he enjoyed huge critical and commercial success in 2008 with Wall-E; I don't know about you, but it is great to see him back at the helm. He has also penned the film's screenplay.

Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

Albert Brooks is back as Marlin while Idris Elba, Michael Sheen, Dominic West, Diane Keaton, and Eugene Levy have all lent their voices to the upcoming movie.

Finding Nemo is still one of the most loved and successful Pixar movies, just how will Finding Dory perform at the box office? Will it be bigger than its predecessor? I guess we are going to have to wait and see.

Finding Dory

- Moana - released 2nd December

2016 is a special year as we are going to be treated to not one but two animation films from Disney... that second film comes in the form of Moana.

It will be the first time since 2002 that the studio has put out two feature films in the same calendar year. The movie sees Ron Clements and John Musker reunite in the director's chair for their first Disney film since The Princess and the Frog - it is good to see them back.

Filming is still underway on Moana. The movie is going to introduce us to the acting talents of Auli'i Cravalho, as she is set to voice the title character.

Cravalho is joined on the cast list by Dwayne Johnson and Alan Tudyk - those are the only actors to have officially been announced by the studio.

Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast South Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped - and no one today knows why.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana, a sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfil her ancestors' unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana (Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.


Other animation movie set to hit the big screen this year, include Angry Birds, Storks, Trolls, and Ice Age: Collision Course.

Anomalisa is released 11th March.

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