While there are a lot of serious movies geared toward adults on HBO Max, sometimes you just want something to watch with the family. Despite these movies being geared toward children, they are often packed with jokes for the adults that will go over the kids’ heads and keep everyone in the house entertained. They are also surprisingly good with well written scripts, fantastic animations, and heartfelt moments. There is a lot to choose from on the streaming service, so we have put together a list of the 20 best family movies on HBO Max.
Based on the famous children’s novel of the same name by legendary author Roald Dahl, Matilda is about a young girl who discovers that she has telekinetic abilities. Capable of moving objects with her mind, Matilda must survive her dysfunctional family and face off against her evil school principal, Miss Trunchbull.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Another movie based on a kids book is How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The film centers on a reclusive green character called the Grinch (played by Jim Carrey) who sets out to ruin Christmas for the inhabitants of the nearby town of Whoville. Alongside his cute dog, the green menace descends upon the town from his mountain lair to steal everything Christmas related from the Whos.
After encountering a girl called Cindy Lou, his entire world view is shifted on its head as he reconsiders the spirit of Christmas. This movie is honestly a great watch all year round and not just during the holiday season because Jim Carrey’s nature makes this evil turned loving character hilarious to watch.
3. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is a fantastic film that is enjoyable by the entire family. Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, it follows a pair of paleontologists who are selected to embark on a tour of a mysterious island destination themed around dinosaurs. When they arrive, they discover that scientists have revived dinosaurs using DNA found in mosquitoes frozen in ancient pieces of amber. Despite being assured that the park is perfectly safe, things take a turn for the worse when the dinosaurs escape their enclosures.
The 1980s was an incredible decade for family-friendly films that have stood the test of time and are still enjoyable today. Ghostbusters is no exception and this paranormal movie follows a goofy group of guys who lose their jobs at a New York City university. Newly unemployed, they decide to form a team that takes on paranormal forces for money as part of the “Ghostbusters.” While taking on some less powerful ghosts, they encounter a gateway to another dimension and an ancient evil is unleashed upon the city.
5. Free Guy
For something a little newer that may appeal to the gamers in your family, Free Guy is a great time starring funnyman Ryan Reynolds. A man named Guy is going about his idyllic life and engaging in the same routine every single day until he learned that he is actually a non-playable character (NPC) within an open-world, online video game. With the world at risk, Guy decides to break out of his restraints and save the day.
When a salesman is searching for a special gift for his son, he stumbles across a mysterious seller in Chinatown who has a small creature called a “mogwai.” Despite being reluctant to sell the creature, he eventually does with the warning not to expose him to bright light or water and not to feed him after midnight. Inevitably, all of these things happen and a gang of mischievous gremlins turn up to wreak havoc on the town. The best part is that this all happens on Christmas Eve of all nights.
7. The Wizard of Oz
Perhaps one of the greatest movies of all time, The Wizard of Oz is beloved by families around the world. In the movie, a tornado hits a town in Kansas and a young girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to a magical land called Oz. After an encounter with a witch, the pair set out along a yellow brick road to meet the Wizard in the Emerald City. Along the way, they meet a series of characters including a Scarecrow who wants a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Lion who wants some courage. When they meet the wizard, he requests that the gang bring him the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom in exchange for their wishes being granted.
8. Spirited Away
A beautiful animated film from the legendary Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away follows a young girl who stumbles upon an abandoned amusement park. When her parents are transformed into pigs, she learns that the park is a resort for supernatural beings and she must navigate around them to free her parents.
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9. The Lego Movie
LEGO is perhaps the greatest toy ever created and the movie based on it is one of the best family movies on HBO Max. A LEGO figurine called Emmet is incorrectly recognized as “the special” who is a legend that is meant to save the world. He is sucked into a plot to stop an evil presence from destroying their world and tries his best despite his regular status.
10. The Lego Batman Movie
Following up the LEGO movie is another great experience in the LEGO franchise that has shifted onto the screen, The Lego Batman Movie. When the Joker takes over the city of Gotham, Batman must drop his lone vigilante approach to team up with other heroes to stop the rampant rogues gallery in this hilarious adventure.
11. The Maze Runner
Geared a little more towards teenagers, this could be a great one for families with older children. After a teenager wakes up in the center of an enormous maze, he must adapt to life with the community, where “runners” explore the maze every day to try to find a way out. Not content to sit and do nothing, the slightly dazed and confused main character, Thomas, decides to become a runner himself and solve the mysteries of the maze.
12. Kung Fu Panda
A lazy, food loving Panda named Po dreams of becoming a kung fu legend and finds himself at the center of a prophecy to save the land from a powerful leopard named Tai Lung. Despite nobody believing in Po, he is trained by the legendary Master Shifu as the only hope to save the world. This movie is hilarious as Jack Black acts as the voice of Po and brings in his usual family-loved humorous side.
As an adaptation of the classic tale of Peter Pan, Hook shows an older version of the character who is played by Robin Williams. He returns to Neverland to face off against his old rival Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman, once again in this family-friendly and entertaining drama film.
In a magical world, a young man named Tristan crosses into a land of fairies to retrieve a star that he and his love, Victoria, see falling from the sky. In the hopes that finding the fallen star will win the heart of his beloved, he begins his journey and ends up finding a mysterious woman instead of a fallen star who needs his help. With witches, pirates, and unicorns, this action-packed fantasy film is perfect for children who love to use their imagination.
15. Harry Potter Series
When an orphaned boy discovers that he is a wizard, he receives an invitation to a prestigious magical school called Hogwarts. Throughout an epic saga spanning eight movies, he faces off against an evil wizard named Voldemort who he has a mysterious bond with.
So that we don’t fill this list with each Harry Potter movie listed as an entry, we have combined all of the Harry Potter series into one entry here. All of the Harry Potter movies will win over your family and it goes without saying. There’s magic, light-hearted and funny moments, and action-packed adventure.
16. Life of Pi
Life of Pi was originally a book by Yann Martel that tells the tale of how Pi Patel ended up shipwrecked and lost at sea in a lifeboat alongside a tiger. The writer in the movie knows his life story will make an excellent novel and as he encounters breathtaking events and forms a bond with the vicious tiger, you can see why. Life of Pi is a joyful movie to watch with the family.
17. Ender’s Game
For families looking for a sci-fi kick, Ender’s Game follows a boy enlisted into a galactic combat training academy to prepare him for battle against an alien race known as the “Buggers.” Despite his natural ability, he starts to suspect that all is not what it seems at the facility. The cast is famously stacked with Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, and Viola Davis.
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18. Ron’s Gone Wrong
When a lonely boy receives B-bot named Ron for his birthday, he begins to enjoy its company. However, it starts to malfunction soon after and take on these weird and hilarious personality traits. This draws the attention of Bubble, the manufacturer, and their executive, Mark Wydell, who want to protect the stock price of the company. This is a great animated film to watch with the whole family, especially if you’re interested in technology and a little humor.
Hugo follows a boy who is orphaned and living in the walls of a Paris train station in the 1930s. He takes it upon himself to maintain the station but becomes obsessed with restoring a broken automaton left to him by his father. He meets a girl who he can have adventures with and Hugo’s creativity shines through as an inspiration to many children out there.
When a theatrical pet chameleon played by Johnny Depp is thrown from his family’s car in the middle of the desert, he finds himself in a harsh wild west world. As a way to survive, he adopts the mysterious and tough character of “Rango” and gives the struggling town hope against a terrifying rattlesnake gangster.
Does HBO Max Have the Best Movies for Kids?
These top 20 best family movies on HBO Max go to show that HBO has a lot to offer for children in addition to the more mature TV and movies they are known for. They even have some of the most classic family movies ever like Matilda and The Wizard of Oz. If you already use this streaming platform, it’s a great bonus to have these options available. However, since it is not their main focus, we’d recommend exploring additional avenues for family TV like Disney+ or Amazon Kids+ to get the most out of your streaming platforms.