Far and Away: Many Future Family-Film Sequels Are Already Planned

With $336 million domestic and two Oscar nominations, it should be no surprise that Frozen is getting a stage spin-off. But a sequel? So far Disney has shied away from sequelizing its big hits—unlike other studios like Sony and Dreamworks, which produced twos and threes for just about all its blockbusters: case in point, Rio 2 (April 11) and How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13). 
The popular family movie you see in the theater today probably has a green-lit sequel (or sequels) with a release date far in the future already announced.  See what's coming, and when.
Director Joss Whedon’s superhero sequel will bring an international twist to the story, as filming will be taking place in the U.K., Italy and South Africa. Reportedly, the Fab Six will be joined by brother-sister duo Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) as they try to stop super-robot Ultron (James Spader).
Minions (July 10, 2015) and Despicable Me 3 (June 30, 2017)
Following the megagrossing success of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 is the prequel Minions detailing how the little yellow sidekicks of villainy came to be. Turns out they’ve almost always existed, evolving from one-celled yellow organisms to helpers of the best bad guys through history. When the minions find themselves in the groovy 1960s without a current master, they look to team up with the best-of-the-baddie best -- Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock).
Despicable Me 3 is now reportedly in an “embryonic” story state but expect much more about Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) now that he has a more stable family life. But, will Gru and co. remain on the side of good? We’ll find out in 2017.
Jurassic World (June 12, 2015)
Steven Spielberg returned to coproduce the fourth chapter in the Jurassic Park series. Mum's the word on cast, but reportedly Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Nick Robinson have been in talks to star in the production. Comingsoon.net reported last summer the story would begin with Isla Nublar now a Sea World-esque tourist destination inhabited by people and dinos alike—until tragedy strikes. 
The Smurfs 3 (August 14, 2015)
The Smurfs will rise again in the second sequel to their 2011 feature film by Sony/Columbia. Not much is yet known about the little blues’ next adventure, but we'll bet wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) will return. Azaria recently discussed that he would like the third film to be an origin story, explaining how the evil wizard developed (perhaps in a “Harry Potter-like academy”) and came to be obsessed with the Smurfs “way back when.”
Hotel Transylvania 2 (September 25, 2015)
Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his monster friends return next year in a new production for Sony Pictures Animation. No director is officially yet attached, but our bet is on the original's Russian-born, Chicago-bred director, Genndy Tartakovsky, who hit the big time after helming his first film.
Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 (December 11, 2015)  
The long-famous rodents, who first appeared in 1958 on vinyl, will be back again – although no word if their sassy friends the Chipettes will join them again. Having earned over $340 million in their last sequel, we expect this outing won't be the last we see of the tiny songsters.
Star Wars: Episode VII (December 18, 2015)
This will be the first of three named sequels, which will follow soon after in subsequent years. Rumored to occur maybe 20-40 years after Return of the Jedi, audiences may see a much older Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) in a completely “original” story.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (December 23, 2015) 
Funnyman Jack Black is back as the bum-kicking panda Po in this Christmastime release for next year. Preliminary reports say that, for the first time, DreamWorks Animation will coproduce the film with Oriental DreamWorks, a Chinese company. In this third outing, Po may have to face a supernatural enemy and one “closer to home.”
The Nut Job 2 (January 15, 2016) 
Strangely, as South Korea's most expensive animated film ($42.8 million) and only making some $60 million worldwide, and opening to mostly negative reviews, a sequel was still recently green-lit. 
Batman vs. Superman (May 6, 2016)
The Internet nearly collapsed when Warner Bros. announced Ben Affleck would be cast as the new Batman and Jesse Eisenberg would play Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor. We know little about the plot so far but many believe the story will revolve around Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, which ends with a megaclimactic fight between the two hero-icons. Amy Adams will return as Lois Lane as will Diane Lane as Superman’s mother, Martha Kent.  The film may also have cameos from multiple Justice League heroes, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and possibly Green Lantern (rumored to be Dwayne Johnson) among them, setting up a future Justice League of America film (possibly in 2017).
Finding Dory (June 17, 2016)
When Ellen DeGeneres revealed that she will be resuming her role as the memory-challenged, but extremely lovable, blue tang fish Dory, the Internet again went berserkabilly. We don’t yet know much about the Pixar sequel, but we do know a few tidbits. Pixar vet Andrew Stanton will return to direct, part of the film may take place along the California coastline, and Dory will finally find out more about her own loved ones.
Ice Age 5 (July 15, 2016)  
Attempting to keep its crown as the kids’ movie with the most sequels, the fifth (!) Ice Age outing will make its debut next summer. Collectively, the Ice Age films, each starring the voice of Ray Romano as Manny the woolly mammoth, have grossed a mind-boggling $2.8 billion dollars. Although fans are clamoring to know if the one-eyed, dino-hunting British weasel Buck (Simon Pegg) from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will return, full cast info is not yet available.
The Croods 2 (TBA)
The Croods was a huge hit for DreamWorks Animation, grossing over $587 million dollars worldwide since its release in March 2013.  Most of the returning voice cast has agreed to reprise their roles as the prehistoric family including Nicolas Cage (Grug), Emma Stone (Eep) and Ryan Reynolds (Guy, Eep's seemingly more-evolved love interest).  Expect more fantastical and fun ancient creatures as the audience learns more about fictional early human life as told in CGI form.
And though dates, plots and even actors are subject to change until the film’s actual release date, Fandango will keep you updated on all the latest. What sequels would you love to see in coming years?
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