The Witches

We had a pretty good version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches in 1990, but that was a whole generation ago. Now the story gets a redo with Anne Hathaway taking over from Anjelica Huston as the leader of the witchy cause. The whole thing has been relocated to 1960s Alabama; Robert Zemeckis directs.


Disney’s latest live-action reboot seems a shameless ploy to penetrate the lucrative Chinese box office, now rivalling the US’s in size. Inspired by a Chinese poem about the female warrior Hua Mulan, the new version looks more of a straight-ahead martial arts film than the 1998 cartoon, but hit a controversy pothole when lead actor Liu Yifei (also known as Crystal Liu) came out in support of the crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.


Next up from Pixar: a magic-stuffed comedy about a pair of elves – voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt – trying to bring their dead dad back to life. Hilariously, they mess it up and only get his legs – and they have just 24 hours to conjure up the rest of him.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s evergreen children’s classic – last revisited cinematically in the early 90s – gets another adaptation, this time with Colin Firth as shut-down Archibald Craven and Dixie Egerickx as Mary Lennox, the orphan who arrives at Craven’s moribund Yorkshire home and wakes things up.

Jungle Cruise

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt lead the line in this Disney theme park ride turned movie. He’s a boat captain, she’s a scientist, and together they are heading upriver to find the tree of life. Jack Whitehall, of all people, is along for the ride as Blunt’s little brother.


The Robert Downey Jr remake of the talk-to-the-animals musical (one of Hollywood’s legendary flops, but never mind) has been floating around since reshoots were ordered last year. But it will emerge in the New Year, with Downey’s Dolittle discovering a colony of talking CGI animals while trying to find a cure for Queen Victoria’s illness.


Pixar’s second of the year looks like a jazz version of Coco: a music teacher (Jamie Foxx) loses his soul to some sort of limbo (the “You Seminar”), where it has to teach other souls in order to get back to the human world. Tina Fey plays a grump.

Artemis Fowl

The super-intelligent 12-year-old – descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds – gets his own film in what no doubt is hoped to be the start of a series. Based on the books by Eoin Colfer and directed by Kenneth Branagh, this looks a good bet.

Massive business ... 2015’s Minions gets a follow-up. Photograph: Allstar/Universal Pictures/Sportsphoto Ltd

Minions: Rise of Gru

A follow-up to Minions, the fun Despicable Me spin-off that did massive business in 2015. This is a sort of origins story, with Gru on his march to supervillaindom. Steve Carell is back to voice the spindly-limbed boss of the little yellow creatures.

Come Away

Brenda Chapman, best known for her pioneering directing work on The Prince of Egypt and Brave, is making her live-action debut with this fun-sounding fantasy that crosses Alice in Wonderland with Peter Pan. The title characters are posited as a brother and sister (children of Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo) whose respective fantasylands come alive after the death of an older sibling.

Raya and the Last Dragon

Disney are positioning this for a Thanksgiving/Christmas release: it’s pitched as a mix of classic Disney and kung fu movies. Raya is a kid hunting for the world’s last dragon; Awkwafina is the top name on the cast list, as the voice of the dragon.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

This is the third feature spin-off from the popular animated TV show, following 2015’s Sponge out of Water. Here, SpongeBob and his starfish pal Patrick go looking for Gary after he has been “snail-napped”. Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg have cameo voice roles.

Guardian film

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