Six weeks, no school.
While we’re loath to suggest anyone should lock their children in a dark, quiet room everyday for the entirety of the Summer holidays, a trip to the cinema could well save parents from some very long afternoons.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of six upcoming films to keep the kids busy during the Summer holidays.
For an hour and a half at least.
1. Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans
Awkward title aside, this inaugural Horrible Histories movie – 2016’s Bill notwithstanding – may well raise a smile amongst fans of the franchise, which counts books, plays, TV shows and magazines in its already expansive roster.
Rising stars Emila Jones and Sebastian Croft lead, with supporting turns by the likes of Kim Cattrall, Nick Frost, Kate Nash and Lee Mack, in his cinematic debut. There’s even a stunning(ly brief) turn from Derek Jacobi, reprising a role he last played in 1976.
When brainy-not-brawny teen Atti (Croft) falls fowl of Roman Emperor Nero (Craig Roberts), he finds himself shipped off to Britain as punishment. It’s not long before Atti finds himself a prisoner of a Celt tribe but can a bond with the local Chief’s daughter save him from a grisly fate?
Watch for: bottom humour, songs and famous cameos.
2. The Angry Birds Movie 2
Those who thought an app about firing birds at pigs didn’t have mileage for the production of a single feature film are in for a shock. Yes, that’s right, they’ve made another one!
Having survived the destruction of his home in part one, King Mudbeard (Bill Hader) is hellbent on both revenge and re-stealing the eggs of Bird Island. When a new threat arrives on the scene, however, old enemies must team up or face mutual destruction.
Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, and Peter Dinklage all return from the first film, with ubiquitous comic stars of the moment Leslie Jones and Awkwafina joining for new roles.
Watch for: more of the same.
Out Friday 2 August
3. Playmobil: The Movie
Who’d have thought we’d have come to this? A significant competitor to the Lego toy line for over forty years, Playmobil is coming to a big screen near you. In narrative form.
A live action opening sees Anya Taylor-Joy plays orderly teen Marla. When her younger brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) falls through a portal into the magical, animated world of Playmobil, Marla has no choice but to follow him.
Daniel Radcliffe, Meghan Trainer and Adam Lambert lend their voices to the film, which must have eyes on The Lego Movie’s unprecedented success.
Watch for: your childhood playtime brought to life.
Out Friday 9 August
4. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unleash your wild side with the live action debut of Dora the Explorer. Unusually, The Lost City of Gold not as the seven year old from the beloved Nickelodeon toon but as her grown up, unorthodox high schooler self.
Channelling a Nancy Drew vibe, the film comes from The Muppets director James Bobin and finds Instant Family’s likeable Isabela Moner in the titular role. When Dora’s parents (gamely played by Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) get into trouble on their quest to find a lost Incan civilisation, Dora recruits some new friends to help her save them.
Good and bad are as clear cut as you’d expect here but the spirit of adventure is strong. It’s also the only live-action kids film of the Summer so should do well.
Watch for: Moner, the cute monkey and educational extra value.
Out Friday 16 August.
Following the tradition of The Lego Movie (again!) and Trolls, UglyDolls takes its premise from the eponymous toy brand. It’s the story of manufacturing’s misshapen and rejected dolls, who spend their lives in a hidden wasteland Universe waiting for a shot in ‘the big world’.
Celebrating what it is to be different – in a world that demands perfection – the film sees Kelly Clarkson voice free spirited UglyDoll Moxy. Despite her insatiable ability to make others feel good about herself, Moxy has always dreamt of more. Cue the adventure of a lifetime.
Nick Jones, Janelle Monáe and Wanda Sykes co-star, alongside hit names from the world of music: Pitbull, Charli XCX and Lizzo.
Watch for: cute visuals and even more songs.
Out: Friday 16 August.
6. Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion
A star-studded cast gave the English dub of French animation Asterix and the Mansion of the Gods a much needed box office lift in 2014 but there’s no sign yet that the likes of Jack Whitehall and Catherine Tate have returned for its sequel.
With local druid Getafix getting on a bit, Asterix and Obelix are tasked in the film to seek a younger model, one who can be trusted to guard the former’s magic potion. This being the potion that gives Asterix and company their super strength, it should come as no surprise that ne’erdowells have their eyes on it too.
If it’s half as fun as its predecessor, The Secret of the Magic Potion should make for a splendid finale to a Summer of family film fun.
Watch for: fine animation, giggles and the winning sense of adventure.
Out Friday 30 August.