Summer Family Movies 2024 | Parenting OC (2024)

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Summer Family Movies 2024 | Parenting OC (1)

Your guide to the hottest family films set for theaters and streaming this summer.

Summer is laid out before us like a picnic blanket, and so are all its possibilities. At least one is hot summer days spent inside a cool, dark theater watching family movies. Another is hot summer days at home under a ceiling fan streaming family movies.

A lot of familiar characters will return this summer, as is usual for the season. And there will also be tales of daring and inspiration, searches for meaning, a requisite amount of world saving, and even a classic from your parents’ — or grandparents’ — childhood finally being turned into a live-action feature film.

From Memorial Day to just past Labor Day, the summer will be filled with love, laughter, imagination, empowerment, crazy action and even a magic purple crayon.

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Before even hitting the theaters, parents might want to make sure they’ve caught up on some films on streaming, starting with the fast-paced and fun “Migration” on Peaco*ck, a different kind of family vacation story featuring the voices of Elizabeth Banks and Awkwafina.

“Orion and the Dark” on Netflix is a unique and ambitious family film about a boy who is whisked away by the embodiment of what he fears most to show him there’s nothing to be afraid of. It features the voice talents of Jacob Tremblay, Angela Bassett and Colin Hanks.

And “Knuckles” on Paramount+ is a limited series that is collectively a feature-length film, and features characters from the “Sonic the Hedgehog” video game universe, in which Knuckles the Echidna teaches deputy Wade Whipple the techniques of the Echidna warrior, and stars the voice of Idris Elba.

“Thelma the Unicorn,” arriving on Netflix in May, brings to the screen the popular children’s book by Aaron Blabey about a little pony who dreams of being a unicorn and what happens when she gets her wish. The film features the unusual voice talents of former Alabama Shakes singer/guitarist Brittany Howard as well as Will Forte and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement.

Imaginary friends, or “IF,” kick off the movie theater season when a young girl realizes she has the ability to see everyone’s imaginary friends and tries to reconnect forgotten ones with the kids who once needed them. The film features Ryan Reynolds and “The Walking Dead” actress Cailey Fleming as well as the voices of Emily Blunt, Steve Carell, Matt Damon and the final performance of Louis Gossett Jr.

“The Garfield Movie” brings the famous cat back for something of a reboot, with a new voice (by Chris Pratt) and dad (Samuel L. Jackson) on their way to a high-stakes heist. Parents with older kids can enjoy the continuing allegorical tales of the rebooted “Planet of the Apes” franchise with the latest installment “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” And Disney takes on the amazing true story of the first woman to swim the English Channel, “Young Woman and the Sea,” with “Star Wars” star Daisy Ridley.

Also rounding out the busy month are “Dragonkeeper,” about a young girl who tries to save the world alongside a dragon in ancient China, and “Thabo: The Rhino Adventure,” about a boy in a small village who investigates the murder of a rhino because of its horn.


Disney returns the following month with the latest Pixar film, “Inside Out 2,” that still takes place inside Riley’s now-teenage head, but with all kinds of new emotions, and features the voices of Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Tony Hale and Maya Hawke.

Coming to streaming is “Ultraman: Rising” on Netflix, the latest adventure of the beloved Japanese, Earth-defending superhero, as well as “Kung Fu Panda 4,” the latest in the franchise about Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black), and what goes wrong when he finally tries to take it easy.

Also, “We Grown Now” is a drama about two little boys growing up in Chicago trying to escape the hardships of public housing.


Despite or because of the massive success of “Minions: The Rise of Gru” in 2022, “Despicable Me 4” brings the original franchise back to movie screens after seven years. Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig return to starring voices, with Will Ferrell and Sofia Vergara as the new baddies.

Meanwhile on streaming, “Descendants: The Rise of Red” on Disney+ expands the universe of Auradon and Isle of the Lost, and follows the latest musical adventures of the teen daughters of the Queen of Hearts and Cinderella.

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“Harold and the Purple Crayon” is the first live-action adaptation of the hit children’s book series begun back in 1955. The film follows a now-grown Harold (Zachary Levi) as he finds out what trouble he can still get into, or out of, with his magic purple crayon. Over the decades, the book has ranked highly on both the National Education Association’s Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children and the School Library Journal’s Top 100 Picture Books.


Based on the 2016 New York Times bestselling children’s book, “The Wild Robot,” the animated film follows robot Roz (Lupita Nyong’o) after she crash lands on a remote and wild island. The voyager must learn about herself as well as the animals of the hostile environment until the island begins to feel like home. The film also features the voices of Pedro Pascal, Catherine O’Hara and Bill Nighy.

Movie Guide Checklist

May 3: “Dragonkeeper,” “Thabo: The Rhino Adventure”

May 10: “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”

May 17: “IF,” “Thelma the Unicorn”

May 24: “The Garfield Movie”

May 31:“Young Woman and the Sea”

June 14: “Inside Out 2,” “Ultraman: Rising”

July 3:“Despicable Me 4”

July 12: “Descendants: The Rise of Red”

Aug. 2: “Harold and the Purple Crayon”

Sept. 20: “The Wild Robot”

By Shawn Price

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