Now that the worst summer for movies in nearly two decades has come to an end, it’s time to look forward to the fall movie season.
This year, there are only a few notable releases in September. But by October, things pick up significantly with some less buzzed-about movies that could wind up being more worth seeing than the majority of the big summer tent poles from the last four months.
Here are 11 upcoming movies to watch out for that might appeal to broader and family audiences:
“Dolphin Tale 2” (Sept. 12) -- A sequel to 2011’s family friendly hit inspired by the true story of Winter the dolphin. This time around, the whole crew from the first movie reunites in an effort to find a companion for Winter after her surrogate mother dies. Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr. and Kris Kristofferson co-star.
“The Maze Runner” (Sept. 19) -- James Dashner’s New York Times best-selling young adult series is the most recent book-to-movie adaptation to take a swing at becoming the next “Hunger Games.” While that’s a lofty goal, “The Maze Runner” does look like it has one of the more interesting young adult premises -- a society of amnesiac teens stuck in the center of a mysterious and deadly maze.
“The Boxtrolls” (Sept. 26) -- The new feature from Laika (“Coraline,” “ParaNorman”) is loosely based on Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters,” the first book in a popular kid lit series. Set in (and under) the town of Cheesebridge, it centers on an orphan who’s adopted by a bunch of subterranean, garbage-hoarding trolls. Ben Kingsley, Tracy Morgan, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are among the film’s eclectic cast.
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (Oct. 10) -- Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner headline this family comedy from Disney, which takes its title (but not a whole lot else, it seems) from the classic kids’ book by Judith Viorst. Live-action family comedies don’t come around too often, so fingers crossed that this one is worth the price of admission.
“One Chance” (Oct. 10) -- Before Susan Boyle stunned audiences with her vocal talent, there was Paul Potts, a shy cellphone salesman and amateur opera singer from South Wales who went on to win the first season of “Britain’s Got Talent.” James Corden (“The Wrong Mans”) stars as Potts in this movie directed by David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”).
“The Book of Life” (Oct. 17) -- A “Romeo and Juliet”-style love story centered around the Mexican Day of the Dead, this animated feature from Fox and producer Guillermo del Toro (“Pacific Rim”) boasts a fascinating visual style and a talented voice cast led by Diego Luna and Ron Perlman. Think “Corpse Bride” by way of Tijuana instead of Victorian England.
“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” (Oct. 17, limited release) -- Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, “Princess Kaguya” is based on a 10th-century Japanese folktale about a bamboo cutter who finds a baby inside a stalk of bamboo. The film is animated in a gorgeous style reminiscent of Japanese watercolors. It’s also significant as possibly the penultimate Studio Ghibli film, as the legendary animation house responsible for classics such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away” recently announced that it will be halting production on feature films. Let that sink in for a minute, and then go mark your calendars so as not to miss this in theaters.
“Mudbloods” (October, limited release) -- A classic underdog story, but with a unique twist. This documentary follows the completely real UCLA Quidditch team’s efforts to compete at the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City. Not only do the athletes have to contend with typical sports-related hardships, but they also have to fight against intense social stigma as they try to bring a fictional sport played on flying broomsticks to life in the real world.
“Interstellar” (Nov. 7) -- As usual, not a whole lot is known about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie, a sci-fi epic based on the theories of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne about wormholes and time travel and a race to save humanity. Given his track record so far, though, this will probably be one you won’t want to miss -- and one to see on as big a screen as you can find. Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine lead what is easily one of the finest casts of any movie this year.
“Big Hero 6” (Nov. 7) -- A boy and his inflatable robot invention team up with a bunch of tech-powered heroes to save the fictional city of San Fransokyo in this animated flick from Disney and Marvel. It might not be quite what people had in mind when they drooled over the idea of a collaboration between the House of Mouse and the House of Ideas, but based on the trailer, “Big Hero 6” looks like yet another winner for Disney.
“The Theory of Everything” (Nov. 7) -- Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”) plays a young Stephen Hawking in this look at the brilliant physicist’s life, dealing with his huge scientific breakthroughs and equally huge personal struggles following his diagnosis with motor neuron disease. The film is based on a memoir by Hawking’s first wife, Jane, here portrayed by Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), and it has Oscars written all over it.