If there’s any doubt that kid cinema is taking over the multiplex, just take a look at what's coming out this fall. Normally when kids go back in school, the family film extravaganza known as the Summer Movie Season ends and all is quiet until Thanksgiving. This year, however, the turnstile never stops spinning. In fact, Oct. 19 is the only date in the weeks til Turkey Day that doesn’t offer a movie targeted at youth 16 and younger. In other words, start planning now.
Sept. 14: Finding Nemo 3D. If you miss seeing one of the best family films of all time with one of the best 3D conversions of all time on the big screen, then you’re the one who’s lost.
Sept. 28: Hotel Transylvania. Who knew monsters were afraid of us? Count Dracula is an overprotective parent in this playful, funny, sweet (but not scary!) monster mash.
Nov. 2: Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph is like an avatar for parents: he’s the bad guy who escapes his ‘80s arcade game only to realize today’s videogames are an entirely different world. Plus, irresistible cameos from Qbert, Wario and Sonic the Hedgehog!
Dec. 19: Monsters, Inc. 3D. Pixar scares up a boo-tiful 3D version of their animated classic, just months before the release of its prequel Monsters University.
Oct. 5: Frankenweenie. Tim Burton reanimates his 1984 short about reanimating a family pet – but will it get kids animated about science and black and white movies?
Oct. 12: Here Comes the Boom. Kevin James is a teacher who comes up with a unique school fundraiser: fighting in Mixed Martial Arts competitions for prize money.
Oct. 26: Chasing Mavericks. This motivational sports film – which is like The Karate Kid in the world of surfing – is a true story about the friendship between surfing legends Frosty Hesson and the late Jay Moriarty.
Nov. 21: Rise of the Guardians. Jolly Old Saint Nick is just a fairy tale. Santa Claus is actually a burly, tatted-up protector of kids, at least in this film. The Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy push up their sleeves and crack their knuckles when a villain named Pitch threatens the world as we know it.
Oct. 26: Fun Size. Which is worse for a teen – trick-or-treating with a little brother or losing the little brother while trick-or-treating?
Sept. 21: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Guaranteed to excite teens and make parents uncomfortable, this adaptation of the young adult novel phenom covers every life adjustment kids face: making friends, surviving high school, managing family relationships, sexual temptations, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and falling in love. In one movie.
Sept. 21: House at the End of the Street. In this horror thriller, The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence learns why sometimes, when everyone warns you to stay away from the “broken” mysterious boy, you should!
Sept. 28: Pitch Perfect. “Glee” goes to college.
Nov. 9: Lincoln. Okay, teens are NOT clamoring to see Steven Spielberg’s biopic on America’s 16th president. However, it does seem like something parents should take their kids to see because it will no doubt be thorough, educational and excellent. Besides, it stars Young Hollywood’s MVP Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Nov. 16: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Bella’s eternal immortality may be shorter than she expected when a vampire army vows to kill her new family in the last chapter of the franchise.
Nov. 19: Skyfall. Bond. That says it all, dads. Share a 007 experience with your teen son.
Nov. 21: Life of Pi. Ang Lee makes Oscar bait out of the inspirational bestseller about a zookeeper’s son who survives a shipwreck along with a tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan – all of whom share the same lifeboat.
Nov. 21: Red Dawn. Hollywood’s hottest hotties (The Avengers’ Chris Hemsworth and The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson) save America from terrorists. The formula worked in 1984. Expect it to work again in 2012.
Dec. 14: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Teens loved the book as kids, but Jackson's take may be too adult for the younger set.
Sept. 28: Looper. Think of it as this year’s Inception: its creative plot about proactive assassination – going back in time to kill people before they do something heinous – is creating a high level of anticipation among sci-fi fans.
Dec. 7: Playing for Keeps. Sometimes, we blow it. Gerard Butler works for a second chance with his son, ex-wife and athletic career while he tries to rebuild his life in this movie that could be called About a Father.
Dec. 21: This is 40. Married parents Pete and Debbie from Knocked Up turn 40 and so-relatable-its-painful hilarity ensues.
Dec. 25: Parental Guidance. Going to bed without supper is practically child abuse these days. When Bette Midler and Billy Crystal come to watch the grandkids for a weekend, the generational difference in parenting styles creates a clash that will no doubt entertain extended families together for the holidays.
To read what kids think about this fall’s movies as they are released, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.