2016 Guide to Summer Movies: Family

It’s time to hit the beach, go hiking, and just generally enjoy the great outdo—just kidding, it’s time to see some of the biggest family films of the year

Summer Movie Guide For The Fam
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Summer Movie Guide For The Fam

Take off your Canada Goose jacket, lose the hat, peel off those gloves and put them into the far back corner of your closet—summer is here. It’s time to hit the beach, go hiking, and just generally enjoy the great outdo—just kidding, it’s time to see some of the biggest family films of the year.

The lines cordoning off summer movie season have definitely been blurred recently, but the fact still remains that the months from May to early September are loaded with great horror movies. By our count, there are nine bone-chilling  films getting a wide release this summer.

But, you don’t have to go to the movie theater unprepared, just you and that flask of whiskey you’re smuggling in. You’ve got us. And we watched screeners, and pored over the trailers and plot summaries for you, so that you won’t end up seeing this summer’s version of Fantastic Four. From the suspenseful Don’t Breathe to a classic shark thriller The Shallows, from the gory to the scream worthy to the “eh this is fake”—this is the only guide to summer movie season that you need.

Make sure to check out our other 2016 Guide to Summer Movies lists for Blockbuster, Indie, Horror, and Comedy classics, and start learning which movies are must-sees and which ones are oh-my-god-do-nots.

The Angry Birds Movie

Angry Birds Movie

May 20

Maybe it was inevitable that a game as universally addicting as Angry Birds would get its own cinematic feature, but the question was always: “About what?” Well, it’s arrived, and it's got an admittedly hilarious plot line about a pig invasion and a bird with a problematic insecurity about his eyebrows. Naturally, their new island visitors soon become their swine overlords and begin harvesting the eggs of their future hatchlings on the DL. The furry browed cranky bird, Red, must channel his temper to save the day. I don’t know, y’all. This one might be kinda tight.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Finding Dory

Finding Dory



July 1

This favored story of your childhood gets a modern makeover with a live action feature from from none other than Steven Spielberg. With an all-star ensemble that includes Rebecca Hall in the role of the Queen’s maid, Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant, and Bill Hader as the terrifying Bloodbottler—and featuring a young Ruby Barnhill as little Sophie, the story’s brave protagonist—the film follows the story of an orphaned girl who befriends a kind and gentle giant. When brooding and ill-intentioned behemoths intercept Sophie’s arrival to their world, they must take extreme measures to protect both themselves and Sophie’s fellow countrymen. Get your tissues ready, y’all.

The Secret Life of Pets

Secret Life of Pets

July 8

Down for another 3D-animated feature from Illumination, the production company behind Despicable Me and Minions? The Secret Life of Pets is for you. Featuring the vocal talents of Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, and many more, we get a glimpse of what our household pets do when they’re cooped up in their owners’ apartments, which includes getting into a life of crime. Seriously.

Ice Age: Collision Course

Ice Age Collision Course

Nine Lives

Nine Lives

Pete's Dragon

Petes Dragon

Aug. 12

Dragons: they’re pretty cool! So are feral children and Robert Redford. And Bryce Dallas Howard, who’s back for her second summer as a smart lady hanging out with giant reptiles no one thought existed. As far as backstory, Pete’s Dragon is a remake of the 1977 animated/live action disney flick of the same name. Note: it is not the same as Puff, the Magic Dragon. Don’t fall for this trap—just remember that “Puff” is the one that may or may not be about toking, and Pete’s is…the other one.

Kubo and The Two Strings


Aug. 19

It’s cool to see stop motion animation back in the mainstream, and not relegated to the kids-only section. Obviously, Kubo and the Two Strings isn’t Anomalisa, but the story and visuals make it seem more ambitious than your everyday adventure tale. Kubo might not be perfect, or even close to it—for a movie set in Ancient Japan, there are an awful lot of white actors. But (hopefully) it’ll surprise us.

Max Steel

Max Steel

Aug. 26

This flick is packed with things teens love: aliens, steel, friendship, skateboarding, romance, superheros, and other teens. Should be super exciting. Honestly, the trailer looks horrible—Max Steel takes a blandly quippy every-boy, gives him a techno “bio-matter” sidekick, and lines up a bunch of poorly rendered CGI monsters for him to fight. Steel’s catchphrase, notably, is “let’s go turbo!” At best, it’s a so-bad-it’s-good excuse to day drink at an AMC Loews. At worst, it won’t even pass as a lame fuckboy Flubber.

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