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Fall 2015 movies have something for the entire family
Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) - photo by Chandra Johnson
As summer winds down, audiences say goodbye to the comic book hero and disaster movies for another year. As fall sets in, families have a lot to look forward to at their local theaters, from feel-good animated films to big-budget revamps and historical thrillers.

For the whole family

Hotel Transylvania 2, Sept. 25 (not yet rated)

A sequel to the 2012 hit, Hotel Transylvania 2 sees Dracula (Adam Sandler) settling into his new role as grandpa with his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) now married with a young son, Dennis. With Mavis and her husband away, Dennis stays at the hotel with Dracula and the rest of the monster ensemble left wondering whether Dennis will exhibit any vampire tendencies or whether hes fully human. As a typical, rambunctious little kid, Dennis puts Dracula through the paces, made harder when Draculas father (voiced by Mel Brooks) also visits.

The Peanuts Movie, Nov. 6 (not yet rated)

After a 35-year absence from the big screen, Charles Schulz Peanuts characters are back in a fresh reboot of the classic cartoons. Charlie Brown is still socially awkward, Lucy is still a drama queen and Snoopy is still up to no good, but there are some changes to make these beloved characters relevant to a new generation. Rather than grappling with existential questions that made the original cartoons and comic strip so popular, in this adaptation Charlie Brown is struggling with newfound fandom when a new girl at school showers him with attention. Eyebrows were initially raised over computer-assisted animation putting a digital spin on the original artwork, but overall, fans of the classic may find theres plenty for everyone to love.

The Good Dinosaur, Nov. 26 (not yet rated)

Thanksgiving this year brings with it another Pixar tear-jerker. Following its summer megahit Inside Out, Pixar offers The Good Dinosaur, the story of two lost creatures an Apatosaurus named Arlo and a human child named Spot. Arlo and Spot become friends while they navigate the incredibly realistic wilderness of prehistoric Earth to get back to their families. Just as Inside Out sought to help kids make sense of their emotions, released clips hint that Dinosaur may be preparing kids for one of the toughest concepts of all death. Clips shown at the D23 Expo recently depicted Arlo and Spot comparing family stories by setting up sticks to represent relatives before knocking a few over and burying them a subtle gesture to make audiences appreciate their loved ones more, just in time for the holidays.

For families with middle-grade children or teens

Pan, Oct. 9 (not yet rated)

Building on recent successful origin stories, especially with the Batman franchise, Atonement director Joe Wright gives audiences an origin story of beloved childhood story, Peter Pan with Pan. Breaking with J.M. Barries classic novel, Peter in this version (newcomer Levi Miller) is an orphan who is taken from his bed in an English boys home by, of course, pirates bound for Neverland. Further departures involve Peter actually being friends with Neverland adventurer James Hook (nee captain), leaving the villainous pirate role to Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Peter is quickly recognized by the natives of Neverland (in Barries novel, known insensitively as the Piccaninny tribe, although in this version they may or may not be Native American) as being the chosen one who is prophesied to lead an uprising against the pirates. While the film is intended for younger viewers, theres a lot of fighting and kidnapping that could overwhelm smaller children.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Nov. 20 (not yet rated)

Mockingjay, Part 1 saw a Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) permanently changed by the civil war she never intended to start when she competed in the original Hunger Games. In this, the fourth and final film of the franchise, Katniss is galvanized to lead the rest of society in a full-scale revolution against the totalitarian Capitol and its sinister leader, President Snow (Donald Sutherland). But surprises await Katniss and the rest of the games' survivors as Snow has set the Capitol up as a deadly obstacle course essentially putting Katniss and the other rebels into a makeshift encore of games. Fans of the original book series will be looking at the final film for some of the storys most emotional moments (not to be spoiled here), as well as closure for Katniss, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and the rest of Panem.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Dec. 18 (not yet rated)

Little is known about the plot of director JJ Abrams revamp of the classic Star Wars films, but the films are engineered to be a continuation where Return of the Jedi left off. While many of the new characters remain a secret, Darth Vadars successor, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), seems to be the main baddie for the new generation. Abrams has confirmed that while all three of the central characters from the original three films will appear, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) will get the most screen time. Thats a surprising detail given that Disney lured Abrams away from his Star Trek reboot with the question of who Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had become since the end of Jedi.

For the adults

The Walk, Oct. 9 (not yet rated)

In 1974 New York City, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was out to accomplish what he considered the ultimate, if illegal, challenge: Walk a wire strung between the World Trade Center towers. Director Robert Zemeckis film follows Petits feat from inception to the day that made Petit famous.

The Martian, Oct. 2 (not yet rated)

After a turn in Christopher Nolans Interstellar last year, Matt Damon returns to space as Mark Watney, an astronaut who is left behind on Mars after an accident separates him from the rest of the crew. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, the movie is likely to have a similar feel to 2013s Gravity much of the drama centers on Watneys struggle to survive on a planet with no water, no food and no air while NASA and the rest of the crew debate a rescue mission. With Alien director Ridley Scott on board, its likely Weirs story is in good hands.

Bridge of Spies, Oct. 16 (PG-13)

Boasting a Coen Brothers (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) script, Steven Spielberg in the directors chair and Tom Hanks as the lead, this Cold-War thriller is sure to grab a lot more attention before its October release. James Donovan (Hanks) is an insurance attorney recruited by the CIA to negotiate the release of an American pilot shot down and captured in the Soviet Union. Tensions rise when Donovan must travel to East Germany for the confidential talks and the Russians ask to exchange one of their spies for the pilot.

In the Heart of the Sea, Dec. 11 (PG-13)

Based on the book of the same name by Nathaniel Philbrick (which also won the National Book Award), this historical drama documents the true events aboard the Essex, a 19th-century American whaling vessel whose encounter with a ferocious sperm whale in 1820 inspired Herman Melvilles classic novel, Moby Dick. But where Melvilles telling ended with the sinking of the whaling ship, Philbricks account and director Ron Howards film adaptation follows the crew through the horrific, aftermath of surviving one of the most infamous maritime disasters predating the Titanic.