Animated Movies Hitting Theaters in the Summer of 2012

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The summer of 2012 features a lot of big money action movies that will please most adults, but there are also a number of movies that will excite the children as well. What makes the summer of 2012 so exciting is that, while there are two sequels, there are also two brand new, very fresh, exciting looking animated movies as well. Here are the most anticipated animated movie releases for the summer of 2012.

"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"

The first animated sequel of the summer is the third effort in the "Madagascar" series. Honestly, the only thing that remains popular from this DreamWorks animated franchise is the "Penguins of Madagascar," and that is more because of their animated Nickelodeon series. Many of the characters from the original movie appear in the cartoon, save the major stars from the movie. However, these minor characters, from the penguins themselves to the lemurs' King Julien, remain more interesting than any of the major characters from the movie.

This third movie really serves one purpose for the fans who have followed the first two. This is the movie where the animals try to get back home, to the New York Zoo. However, the animals get sidetracked on their way back home and end up in a traveling circus in Europe.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith return as the voices of the lead animals. "Madagascar 3" hits theaters on June 8, 2012.

"Brave"

Pixar has spent a couple of years making sequels, from "Toy Story 3" to "Cars 2," but in 2012 the animation giant returns with an original movie called "Brave." This movie is the first for Pixar to enter the fairy tale-style world.

"Brave" focuses on a girl named Merida, who refuses to follow age-old customs and brings chaos to her kingdom. She finds herself cursed and must figure out how to break the spell before she is doomed.

While the movie looks similar to old Disney princess fairy tale movies, this one appears to be darker. With Pixar, you have to expect something out of the ordinary. The company's last couple of original films, "Up" and "Wall-E," were anything but normal.

The voice cast remains British and unique, including Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, and Robbie Coltrane. "Brave" hits theaters on June 22, 2012.

"Ice Age: Continental Drift"

Next up is the fourth movie in the "Ice Age" series. The mammals return to witness more of the world as it changes during prehistoric times.

This movie follows "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" by a few years and brings Sid in contact with his long-lost family. Everyone is back this time around, with Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo reprising their roles in the never-ending prehistoric animated franchise. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" hits theaters on July 13, 2012.

"ParaNorman"

In what looks like the most unique animated movie release in the summer of 2012, "ParaNorman" is about a young boy who can talk to the dead. This comes in most handy when his small New England town is attacked by the undead.

Kodi Smith-McPhee ("Let Me In") voices Norman, who must fight ghosts, witches, zombies, and adults while trying to save his town. "ParaNorman" is a 3D stop-motion adventure movie from the makers of "Coraline." If it even compares to that film, this should be a good one. "ParaNorman" hits theaters on August 17, 2012.

Find showtimes and tickets near you on Yahoo! Movies.

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