From “Hotel Transylvania 2” to “Pan” to “Goosebumps,” here are ten family movies we can’t wait to see this fall. Note that release dates are subject to change.
1. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN
PG-13 for intense accident and injury images | In Theaters 9/11 | Ok for Kids 12+ | Giving Films | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | 90 Minutes in Heaven
Based on the incredible true story and New York Times bestseller, this movie follows the life of Don Piper (Hayden Christensen), who died Jan. 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car. Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don’s body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes.
His soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love and joy like he’d never known before – in Heaven. When a pastor’s prayer helps bring Don back to life, he becomes a living miracle, but also experiences pain and emotional turmoil. With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva (Kate Bosworth), their three kids and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life. Directed by Michael Polish, this inspirational movie also stars Dwight Yoakam, Elizabeth Hunter and Fred Thompson.
2. MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 9/18 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D | Ok for Kids 12+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | The Maze Runner
This sequel to the 2014 hit movie follows Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers as they face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all. Directed by Wes Ball (who also helmed the first movie), this movie is based on the book by James Dashner and also stars Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario and Aidan Gillen.
3. THE INTERN
PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language | In Theaters 9/25 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | The Intern
In this cute comedy from director Nancy Meyers — a favorite of mine who also helmed “It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give” — Robert De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who’s discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). This movie also stars Anders Holm, Rene Russo, Nat Wolff and Linda Lavin.
4. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2
Not yet rated; likely PG | In Theaters 9/25 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Sony Pictures Animation | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Welcome To Hotel T
The Drac pack is back for an all-new monster comedy adventure! Everything is changing at Hotel Transylvania. Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny – and in for a major cultural shock of her own – “Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and old-school dad is about to pay a visit to the hotel. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (who also directed the first movie), this cute family film features the voice talent of Mel Brooks, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Steve Buscemi and Selena Gomez.
5. THE WALK
PG for thematic elements involving perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking | In Theaters 9/30 (2D, IMAX 3D) | Ok for Kids 11+ | TriStar, Sony | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | The Walk
Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man has ever walked the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his crew overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this thrilling movie also stars James Badge Dale and Charlotte Le Bon.
6. THE MARTIAN
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 10/2 (2D/3D) | Ok for Kids 13+ | 29th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | The Martian
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney survives and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he draws on his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he’s indeed alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. Based on the book by Andy Weir and directed by Ridley Scott, this movie also stars Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
PG for fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material | In Theaters 10/9 | Ok for Kids 9+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Pan
Those classic childhood characters created by J.M. Barrie get a fresh take in this movie directed by Joe Wright. “Pan” follows the story of an orphan boy (Levi Miller) who is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland. There, he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero known as Peter Pan. Also stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Amanda Seyfried as Mary, Cara Delevingne as Mermaid, and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.
PG for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor | In Theaters 10/16 | Ok for Kids 10+ | Columbia/Sony | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Goosebumps
Based on the popular book series by R.L. Stine, this movie centers on teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette), who’s upset about moving from the big city to a small town, but finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful Hannah (Odeya Rush) living next door. But Zach’s silver lining reveals a cloud when he learns that Hannah’s mysterious dad is R. L. Stine (Jack Black), author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. And those monsters from his books are indeed real; Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts, they begin to terrorize the town, and it’s up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get them all back into the books where they belong. Directed by Rob Letterman, this movie also stars Amy Ryan and Ken Marino.
9. BRIDGE OF SPIES
PG-13 for some violence and brief strong language | In Theaters 10/16 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Disney/DreamWorks | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | Bridge of Spies
This dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of historic events tells the story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Screenwriters Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers have woven this remarkable story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this movie also stars Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance and Sebastian Koch.
10. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS
PG for thematic material, including reckless behavior, brief suggestive content and some language | In Theaters 10/23 | Ok for Kids 10+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Jem Movie
Based on the 1980s TV series, this movie follows a small-town girl (Aubrey Peeples) who catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar. Jem and her three sisters take the world by storm when they learn that the key to creating your own destiny lies in finding your own voice. Directed by Jon Chu (“Step Up 3D”), this movie also stars Hayley Kiyoko, Stefanie Scott, Samantha Newark, Juliette Lewis, Molly Ringwald, and Ryan Guzman.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.