Current and upcoming animated films (2023-2024)
What's become clear is that thanks to Covid, film distribution is a mess. Some animated films are endlessly delayed, some get shown early at film festivals before getting a limited release up to a year later in their home country, and some just... show up, and it's anyone's guess which streaming services will carry them, or for how long.
For many of the films below, I can't find streaming versions yet - this might be because I'm in Canada. If you find out they're available in your area, let us know in the comments. (Justwatch has been a great help.)
I'll provide ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with [I=] and [RT=], if available. This list relied largely on Wikipedia. It's an okay source for older films, but isn't especially reliable for upcoming titles. So this is definitely an incomplete list. For babysitting films, Sturgeon's Law usually applies (90% of everything is crud). But perhaps there will be a few unexpected surprises - time will tell! So first, let's talk trends.
It's been a busy time for Sun Wukong. In most of these, he carries a big stick, travels with a team, and fights demons, as well as some kind of demon lord:
- The Monkey King: Reborn (2021, China) [I=6.1]. On streaming services.
For a different kind of primate, there's Ozi: Voice of the Forest (UK, France), for which information is sparse. It may have already appeared at a film festival, but won't be released elsewhere until 2024? "This is the story of Ozi, an orphan orangutan, who uses her influencer skills to save her forest and home from deforestation." ... wait, 'influencer'?
Puffins and Birbs
Apparently the poorly-received 2019 film Arctic Dogs spawned a massive series of 250 TV shorts called Puffins with Johnny Depp, which in turn spun off into Puffins Impossible, and then a 2023 film called Johnny Puff: Secret Mission. A walrus is the bad guy. Coming in November.
Similarly, from a TV cartoon series called Puffin Rock comes the spin-off film Puffin Rock and the New Friends (2023, Ireland). The characters search for a lost egg before a storm hits. It's from Cartoon Saloon, but don't expect another Wolfwalkers; this is aimed at kids aged 3 to 5. Not on streaming services yet (maybe in the UK)?
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023, UK) from Aardman Animations, a sequel after 23 years. The characters are trying to break into a bird sanctuary and encounter an old foe. Should be available for streaming on Netflix the week before Christmas.
Goldbeak (2023, China). An eagle raised by chickens finds it difficult to suppress his instincts. Travelling to a bird city where he wants to join a special patrol team, he uncovers a conspiracy. Not available for streaming.
Richard the Stork 2, aka Richard the Stork and the Mystery of the Great Jewel (2023, Germany, Belgium, Norway) [I=5.1]. A sequel to 2017's Richard the Stork aka A Stork's Journey aka Little Bird's Big Adventure or How Many Variant Titles Does This Film Series Need. Richard is a sparrow raised by storks. On an adventure in North Africa, he meets another sparrow and her flock, who are being held captive by a greedy peacock. Not available for streaming yet.
Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales) was hired by Illumination and Universal to direct Migration (2023). A family of ducks force their overly-cautious father to take them on a vacation, and they end up in New York City. Despite Renner being French, this film is very American. (Not a fan of Danny DeVito.) Scheduled for release just before Christmas. If you see it, send us a review! Maybe you'll have a mallard reaction.
Speaking of Ernest & Celestine, there's now a sequel! By a different team of writers and directors, but still. Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia (2022, France) [I=7.1]. (Original title, Ernest et Célestine: le voyage en Charabie) Ernest and Celestine return to Ernest's home country to have his broken violin repaired, where they discover that music is banned. GKids is importing this to North America; an English dub of unknown quality should hopefully be available soon.
Nimona (2023, U.S.) [I=7.6, RT=94/91]. A knight in the future, framed for a crime he didn't commit, teams up with a shapeshifting-animal teen sidekick to prove his innocence. I've heard good things about this, but haven't watched it yet. Apparently it had LGBTQ+ themes which got its production axed by Disney, and then it was rescued by other studios. Yay! It's on Netflix.
Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat (2023, China) [I=4.2]. Three?? I haven't gotten around to watching Rock Dog 2 yet! Bodi joins a music competition TV show to inspire others, and accidentally becomes an overnight sensation. On streaming services.
Leo (2023, U.S., Australia). A jaded old lizard (Adam Sandler; who also does voice acting) has been stuck in the same school classroom terrarium for decades with a turtle for a friend, and learns he only has one year left to live. When an opportunity presents itself, Leo tries to make a difference in the lives of the kids. Coming to Netflix on November 21.
Epic Tails (France, 2023) [I=5.9, RT=40/36] was a film I mentioned last time as Argonuts, which turned out to be its title in Australia. The original French title was Pattie et la colère de Poséidon. An adventurous mouse sets off to battle dangerous creatures in Ancient Greece. Available for streaming in the UK?
Icarus and the Minotaur (2022, Belgium, France) [I=6.7]. Or maybe just Icarus? (Not to be confused with a 2017 film. French title: Icare.) A different take on the Greek legend of Icarus, with the minotaur as a supporting character. Icarus, son of the inventor Daedalus, befriends a mysterious boy with a bull's head who lives hidden in the royal palace. Their secret friendship is ruptured when King Minos puts the 'monster' in his labyrinth. Available for streaming in France?
Titus: Mystery of the Enygma (2020, Indonesia). This is outside the time range for this article, but the search algorithms mentioned it while I was looking up everyting else. A mouse detective, a rabbit magician and a lizard are up against a criminal cat. Not available.
Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds (2023, Belgium, France). Two sisters travel into the world of a book, transformed into cats, and seek a way to get home. Opening in France on December 13.
Robot Dreams (2023, Spain, France). Dog is lonely and lives in New York City in the 1980s. He builds himself a robot friend, but later is forced to abandon it. A tragicomedy based on a graphic novel by Sara Varon. A film with no dialog? Opening in Europe in December.
Four Souls of Coyote aka Kojot négy lelke (2023, Hungary). Ok, this one was unexpected. A Hungarian film about Native American teenagers protesting an oil pipeline, and their grandfather tells them creation myths. Not available yet, but may be coming to Netflix or Crunchyroll.
Cats in the Museum (2023, Russia) [I=4.6], aka Коты Эрмитажа. Vincent the cat finds a potential home in a museum guarding the art, but his best friend, a mouse who saved his life, has a weakness for gnawing on masterpieces. Streaming in Australia.
Heroes of the Golden Masks (2023, Canada). Unsure if the title ends with a plural or not. This film has "Hey, China, give us your money" stamped all over it. An American orphan is magically transported to ancient China, where he joins a group of superheroes to defend a city from a brutal conqueror. Mildly furry - it appears to have some kind of fish-guy as well as some animal transformation? On streaming services in the U.S., but ironically not in Canada. Thanks Trudeau.
Baba Yaga (2023, Russia), aka Яга и книга заклинаний, or possibly Yaga and the Book of Spells. Baba Yaga the witch is trying to get better at magic, but needs her spellbook that was stolen many years ago by an evil sorceress. With the help of a princess, she gets her chance. Seems to have a couple of talking animal side-characters. Not available.
Under the Boardwalk (U.S.). There has been zero marketing for this from Paramount. Two crabs from different backgrounds, whose friendship divides their community, find themselves far from home. So... like Balto, but with singing crustaceans? It might show up on streaming services on November 7.
Noah's Ark: A Musical Adventure (Brazil, India), from studio Gullane. Still in the works from at least 2014! A story about Noah's Ark from the perspective of two mice. I'm not in any hurry for this. The track record of previous animated Noah's Ark films has been... bad. Also floating around as an idea since at least 2014, The Ark and the Aardvark. Consider yourself warned.
Little Emma (China). May have been previewed at a film festival? Emma is a miniature human girl in a world of animals.
Pierre the Pigeon-Hawk (U.S.). A hybrid bird tries to find their place in New York City. "Unleash the beak!" - "He ain't flockin' around!"
10 Lives (UK, Canada). A pampered pet cat negotiates for another set of lives, each of which will teach him a lesson.
High in the Clouds (U.S., UK). A squirrel leaves his destoyed homeland to seek an animal sanctuary. This one's been in theoretical development for a while.
Hidden Dragon (China). Floating around since at least 2019. "In a magical undersea world where dragons rule and humans are feared, a naive young dragon forms an uneasy alliance with the sea's greatest enemy - a human girl." All that's been available so far is this clip. The humour sounds dumb, but I like the character design.
Gus, the Guide Dog (Spain). Don't know much about it.
Fixed (U.S.). An R-rated film from Genndy Tartakovsky about a dog whose friends treat him to a day out before he gets neutered.
The Tiger's Apprentice (U.S., China?). This has been in the works for a while. A Chinese-American boy discovers he has a duty as a magical guardian, and must reunite the warrior animals of the Zodiac.
Dragonkeeper (Spain, China). In ancient China, a girl (an orphan? or a slave?) tries to help an endangered dragon bring an egg to the coast, the only place it can hatch.
Night of the Zoopocalypse (Canada, France, Belgium). A group of animals who transform into zombies after their zoo is hit by a meteor.
And of course, Kung Fu Panda 4 (U.S., China). "Po is gearing up to become the spiritual leader of his Valley of Peace, but also needs someone to take his place as Dragon Warrior. As such, he will train a new kung fu practitioner for the spot and will encounter a villain called the Chameleon who conjures villains from the past."
There are probably dozens more in the works (200% Wolf, Zootopia 2, etc.), but that's enough for now! Has anything caught your eye that isn't listed here? Let us know in the comments! As for non-furry films, I'm interested in seeing Mars Express.