9 Great TV Cartoons Turned Into Feature Films

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9 Great TV Cartoons That Hit the Big Screen

Peanuts. Universal Pictures

Everything old is new again, as the saying goes. Hollywood, especially, is always re-inventing a well-known, and often beloved, subject. Whether it's a book, Broadway musical or TV show, if it's successful you can bet a studio executive is looking to make it into a feature film.

TV cartoons are no exception. In fact, Hollywood has a long history of making popular TV cartoons into movies. We've seen The Flintstones, South Park and The Smurfs turned into big screen movies. Here's the roster of cartoons that came to theaters in 2015 and the following years.

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Peanuts. 20th Century Fox

In this movie based on Charles Schulz's comic strip, the Peanuts gang gets a makeover. For the first time we'll see Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and Woodstock in 3D CGI. The soft colors and bright lighting make for a happy-looking movie. In Peanuts, Snoopy (as the WWI Flying Ace) goes after his arch nemesis, The Red Baron. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has challenges of his own.

Release date: Nov. 6, 2015

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The LEGO Batman Movie

The LEGO Movie
The LEGO Movie. Warner Bros.

Another brick-heavy movie that Warner Bros. has in the pipeline is one about LEGO Batman, played so fantastically by Will Arnett (Arrested Development) in The LEGO Movie.

Release date: Feb. 10, 2017

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Smurfs: The Lost Village

Smurfs. Sony Pictures Animation

The 2011 movie, The Smurfs, was a mash-up of animation and live-action. The movie was smurfy at the box office, but not with critics. It was a formulaic movie, meant to entertain small children, not necessarily their parents. The Smurfs made enough money that a sequel was released, but it made only half of the grosses that the original pulled in. The new movie about the Smurfs is completely animated and involves fan favorites finding a mysterious map that leads them on a race through the Forbidden Forest.

Release date: April 7, 2017

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Ninjago. Cartoon Network

After the success of The LEGO Movie, Warner Bros. is layering more bricks into its movie roster. Naturally, the movie studio looked to one of the most successful LEGO cartoons, Ninjago, for adaptation. In the Ninjago movie, they've been at peace since the Ninja defeated Ronin, however when a once banished warlord (is it Garmadon?) returns to claim the stone of elements, the Ninja must team up with Sensei, Samurai, dragons and elemental fighters to fight dark magicians, ghost warriors and the mysterious league of silent ninja.

Release date: September 22, 2017

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The Jetsons

The Jetsons
The Jetsons. Warner Bros./Getty Images

In early 2015, Hollywood started buzzing about an animated movie based on The Jetsons. The Jetsons will be based on the Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon series about a traditional family who lives in space, which premiered in 1962. 

Release date: TBD

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Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: The Sonic the Hedgehog balloon is seen during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Sega of America

In 2014, Sony announced that they are teaming up with Japan-based production company Marza Animation Planet, a division of the Sega Sammy Group, to make a hybrid computer-animated/live-action movie starring Sonic The Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog was an incredibly popular video game character for many years, but his popularity has declined since 2000. Sony and Sega are looking to energize the franchise with a big screen feature film. 

Release date: Oct. 19, 2018

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Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Batman. Turner Broadcasting

Forget the gritty style of the Dark Knight trilogy. The new animated Batman movie is based on the kitschy 1966 TV series. Adam West, who played Batman, and Burt Ward, who played Robin, made the announcement during a panel discussion at Mad Monster Con. The animated movie was released in 2016, the fiftieth anniversary of their campy TV show. 

Release date: Oct. 11, 2016

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My Little Pony: The Movie

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic. The Hub

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has spawned other TV movies, like Equestria Girls, but this is the first time the Mane Six and the rest of Ponyville hit the big screen.

Release date: Oct. 6, 2017

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Jem and the Holograms

JEM and the Holograms
(Left to right) HAYLEY KIYOKO as Aja, AUBREY PEEPLES as Jem and STEFANIE SCOTT as Kimber. Photo Credit: Justina Mintz / Universal Pictures

JEM and the Holograms was a very pink cartoon that found a loyal fan following in the late '80s. The TV series centered on JEM, a mysterious pop star, and her band. But what kept fans on the hook were the music videos and songs in each episode.

JEM and the Holograms received a live-action movie makeover. The producers made the announcement in a very nontraditional way, by posting a video on Tumblr and asking fans to submit their ideas and audition tapes. In a short amount of time the producers had over 1,000 entries.

JEM and the Holograms stars Aubrey Peeples as Jem. Juliette Lewis plays Erica Raymond, and Molly Ringwald plays Mrs. Bailey. The story follows JEM and the group on their magical musical adventures in Los Angeles. 

Release date: October 23, 2015