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Summer kids' movies to take the family to in 2012

From animated sequels to arrow-shooting princesses, we have the scoop on all the new summer kids' movies,

The summer kids' movie season is upon us, so grab your popcorn and your Bloomberg-approved tiny sodas and check out the incoming crop of 3-D sequels, tear-jerking family films and arrow-slinging heroines (nope, it's not Katniss!).

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The endearingly Noo Yawk zoo animals voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are back in the third installment of the mega-successful Madagascar franchise—this time in neon-bright 3-D. The friends are chased by an awesome French baddie (played by Frances McDormand) as they join a circus, fall in love and hopscotch from Africa to Monte Carlo then Rome on their way back to the Big Apple. Opens June 8. Rated PG.

Between The Hunger Games' Katniss and Brave's arrow-shooting Princess Merida, we predict there will be a lot of little girls signing up for archery lessons in the fall. This adventure story set in the Scottish Highlands marks the first Pixar movie with a female lead; it also provides new employment for several former Harry Potter actors, including Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Emma Thompson. Opens June 22. Rated PG.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Competing with Madagascar for the "3-D sequel starring sarcastic animals played by popular New York comedians" crown, the latest Ice Age flick once again features Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary as Manny, Diego and Sid. The gang deals with another environmental catastrophe (caused by Scrat chasing an acorn, of course), a band of pirates and a cranky grandma played by Wanda Sykes. Opens July 13. Rated PG.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Girls get Princess Merida saving her kingdom from an evil witch; boys get another visit with the hapless hero Greg, from the books that every nine-year-old male in America seems to love. Greg gets humiliated at the pool, in the amusement park and on a camping trip in the third episode of the live-action series. Opens Aug 3. Rated PG.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green
The summer's major live-action offering for families, this magical fable from Disney is about a childless couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who bury a box in the backyard filled with little notes about their wishes for a son. The next day, a mud-covered ten-year-old appears, calling them Mom and Dad. Written and produced by rock scion Ahmet Zappa, this one will probably include several Kleenex moments. Opens Aug 15. Rated PG.
Following in the freaky, macabre footsteps of Coraline and The Corpse Bride, this stop-motion animated is about spiky-haired Norman, a pariah at his school who discovers he can see dead people. That plot worked out well for a different movie a few years ago, and this one has the added bonus of zombies and John Goodman. Opens Aug 17. Rated PG.

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
Featuring B-level celebrities such as Cloris Leachman and Jamie Pressley mixed with full-size costumed characters (think Teletubbies), this interactive G-rated flick encourages the audience to get up and sing and dance in the aisles. Not a bad idea for the tiniest toddlers, who otherwise can't be expected to sit still for a 90-minute movie, but it sounds like torture for anyone over age five. Opens Aug 29. Rated G.