Every holiday season, moviegoers are hit with a nearly impossible task: Find one film the whole family can agree on. That means something entertaining for pint-sized nieces and nephews, and also great Uncle Al and Grandma. Some years that task seems more impossible than others, but thankfully, 2018 promises a hearty handful of offerings safe for (nearly) every demographic. With holiday movie season about to formally kick off, The Times offers a list of family-friendly entertainment. (Parents, be advised some of these films may be more suitable for the little ones than others so check the listings before heading to the theater.)
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Nov. 2)
The classic holiday-timed fairy tale gets reinvented with Oscar-nominated actress Keira Knightley donning a purple wig as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger. If nothing else, this latest take on the beloved story promises to offer moviegoers some serious eye candy.
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (Nov. 9)
It’s been 14 years since Jim Carrey donned the green makeup for the Ron Howard-directed take, but this version promises to hue more closely to the animated 1969 original. The big difference? Computer animation, for one, and did we mention the one and only Benedict Cumberbatch voices the devilish protagonist. The entire voice cast offers a who's Whoville of names for every demo, including Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson and Angela Lansbury.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov. 16)
Fair warning: Like its predecessor, the “Fantastic Beats” sequel is also rated PG-13 for some fantasy sequences. But if the “Harry Potter” franchise can’t bring a family together, then what can? In addition to returning favorites Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, Johnny Depp. Written by J.K. Rowling. Directed by David Yates. Warner Bros.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Nov. 21)
Six years after “Wreck-It Ralph,” the reluctant video game villain and his pal Vanellope von Schweetz return. But this time, they’re venturing outside the arcade and heading online. In addition to returning voice stars John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, keep an ear out for the likes of Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), “Empire” stand-out Taraji P. Henson and comedian Ali Wong.
The Christmas Chronicles (Nov. 22)
Why leave the house on Thanksgiving Day if you don’t have to? Netflix plans to take advantage of the extra couch time by releasing its new holiday-themed movie from the producer behind one of the all-time classics (“Home Alone”). The film, this time with Kurt Russell taking on the role of Santa Clause, tells the story of two siblings whose Christmas Eve plan to catch the man in the big suit leads to an unexpected wild ride.
Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer (Nov. 30)
Where else can you find the comedic talents of comedy legends John Cleese and Martin Short combined in one film? Also featuring the vocal talents of Josh Hutcherson and Samantha Bee, the film centers on a miniature horse who sets out to replace the retiring Blitzen on Santa’s team in this animated tale.
Mirai (Nov. 30)
From revered Japanese animator and director Mamoru Hosoda (“The Boy and the Beast,” “Wolf Children”) comes an animated time-travel fantasy about how the arrival of a new baby sister leads a 4-year-old boy on an incredible journey learning about his family.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Dec. 14)
Yes, Spider-Man is getting rebooted again (kind of). In addition to the ongoing Tom Holland live-action film series, Sony is also launching a new animated franchise that sees Peter Parker (this time voiced by “New Girl’s” Jake Johnson) mentor a new web-slinger in the form of Miles Morales — a new half-Puerto Rican and half-African American superhero for the post-#OscarsSoWhite age. The film, which also boasts John Mulaney, Lily Tomlin, Brian Tyree Henry and Nicolas Cage among its voice cast — hails from the acclaimed team behind “The Lego Movie,” which means there’s a good chance it will appeal to adults just as much (if not more) than it does to the under-age set.
Mary Poppins Returns (Dec. 19)
A sequel more than 50 years in the making, it doesn’t get more wholesome than the long-awaited return of the world’s most beloved nanny. The new iteration sees Julie Andrews pass off the magical umbrella to Emily Blunt. The ensemble includes living legend Meryl Streep and “Hamilton” mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda. How exactly does one rap “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”? That lies in the hands of Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”), who are behind the film’s nine original new tunes.