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The Nine Next Youth Movies to Know

Millennials have Hollywood worried, so studios are lining up movies based on the properties, toys, and games they already know and love. 

Millennials and post-Millennials have Hollywood a little worried. Theaters now compete with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for attention, and movie attendance among the 18-39-year-old audience has declined over the past five years. But they clearly have some hope: family movies like Lego were some of the biggest box office hits of 2014 among both younger viewers and Millennials. Disney has officially announced that viewers can expect a sequel to Frozen, the 2013 hit movie that brought in $1.2 billion at the box office and has been called a “merchandising juggernaut.”

A “Proprietary Survey of Moms” found that between 25% and 50% of toy purchases in the U.S. are now related to entertainment franchises, and 90% of moms say they bought a toy linked to one of the big movies of 2014. With all that family movie money on the line, understanding the new generation of parents is essential and Millennials are becoming the influential parenting majority.  That, and the desire to appeal to Millennial viewers’ own nostalgia, is probably why a whole entertainment economy is being built on turning young consumers beloved toys, games, and childhood TV shows into big screen content. We could call it the Lego-effect. Here are nine upcoming youth movies hoping to recreate the success of that awesome hit, and make a movie out of something Millennials already love: 

1. Jem & the Holograms

Jem! She is fantastic. Jem and the Holograms, the ‘80s animated hit about a girl band with pretty magical talents, is going to get some big screen live-action time, and then their fair share of branded products, including a Sephora makeup line. Though the trailer wasn’t exactly a huge hit, the director promises that fans will not be disappointed when the movie premieres in October.

2. My Little Pony

Millennials’ favorite childhood toys have become a billion dollar market again, thanks to good ol’ nostalgia. My Little Pony and Transformers have become major earners for their brands in the wake of their entertainment reboots. My Little Pony figurines reportedly reached a billion dollars in sales last year, and a Pony movie is set for release in 2017. 

3. Minecraft 

Minecraft’s enormous popularity among young consumers has given the game some major momentum, and it’s influencing other media and big brands. Now, the simple building block world is being turned into a film by Warner Brothers, which will actually be directed by one of the stars of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Details about the plot of the movie version of the game have not been revealed, but much like the Lego Movie, the basic premise of Minecraft means the film could go in all sorts of creative directions.

4. Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty, beloved cat/human hybrid, is getting her own movie. The Verge predicts the film will include “friendship, mild adventure, and giggles, at the very least.” Sanrio will release the film in 2019, and we predict that older Millennials and post-Millennials alike will be viewers.


5. Monopoly 

Put on your top hat and bow tie, the “Monopoly movie has passed go.” Lionsgate and Hasbro have greenlit a film based on everyone’s favorite property trading game, and starter of family fights. The 80-year-old board game is the latest classic toy box item to be given time on the big screen, and the film will reportedly be an action/adventure following a boy from Baltic Avenue building his fortune, and of course avoiding bankruptcy and jail.

6. Play Doh

Clearly toy-inspired films have had some big success in the last few years, and now Hollywood has a new, perhaps unexpected, source of inspiration from our childhoods: Play-Doh. Bridesmaids director Paul Feig may direct the live-action film from Fox, which he reports will be “a big movie, big in scope.” Though some might sniff at the idea of a movie based on colorful clay, the memory of The Lego Movie’s success has many predicting Play-Doh could be a hit as well. 

7. Fraggle Rock

Fraggle Rock, the classic ‘80s children’s TV series, is set to become a live-action movie produced by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A movie adaptation of the show has been in the works for over a decade, but the star’s participation should move the project forward. Like many in his generation, Gordon-Levitt has been a muppet and Fraggle Rock fan since his youth, saying, “The first screen personas I ever loved were Henson creations.” Millennials’ appetite for nostalgia viewing doesn’t seem to be dying down, so Fraggle Rock could be another reboot success.

8. Barbie

With Barbie’s sales and popularity faltering, Mattel is taking some risks to try to put her back on top. Their most recent unexpected move is putting the upcoming live-action Barbie Movie script in the hands of Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody. Cody is an advocate of female empowerment and a Barbie fan, but her style is without a doubt edgier than the “squeaky-clean” image the doll is usually known for. Producers say that her “unconventionality is just what Barbie needs,” and are reportedly aiming for a “contemporary tone” with a theme of helping others that overrides a focus on fashion.

9. Emoji 

If you don’t “get” emoji, you might want to stop reading now. Millennials and teens second language is being turned into an Emoji Movie. Three studios battled to win the rights to the animated project, and Sony Pictures Animation won the hot property. Though some might be perplexed by the idea of the film, “it’s not terribly surprising” considering Hollywood’s love for turning trends into full-length features.