The question for movie-release status quo will continue in 2023, as some of the production-pipeline delays and COVID-era skittishness about theatrical releases appears to be dissipating. This doesn’t mean that the dates of the following 60-plus new releases are set in stone, or that audiences will show up in pre-2020 numbers for those that are coming out in theaters. The movie business remains in feast-and-famine flux, with a litany of streaming services providing plenty more question marks.
But there is some comfort for movie fans in looking over the rough schedule for the year, and seeing that many recent release-calendar standbys are intact: The lower-budget January thrillers, the wannabe spring blockbusters, the superhero-centric summer tentpoles, and some auteur-driven counterprogramming for adults, along with some streaming releases picking up the slack on star vehicles. This means appearances from old friends like Indiana Jones, Godzilla, Barbie, Magic Mike, Pazuzu, Captain Marvel; new pals like Spider-Man 2099, M3GAN, and the Cocaine Bear; and perpetual savior of cinema Tom Cruise. So buckle up and take a look at what you might be watching this year.
[Ed. note: Now that we’ve hit September, we’ve moved all the prior releases to the bottom.]
The Equalizer 3
In theaters Sept. 1
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, David Denman
It’s often seemed like Denzel Washington replaced the late Tony Scott with Antoine Fuqua as his go-to director for pulpy actioners; The Equalizer 3 all but confirms this by reteaming Washington with Dakota Fanning, his no-longer-diminutive co-star from Scott’s Man on Fire. A new Equalizer movie probably won’t be quite so smeary, glitchy, or green, but Scott fans can hope!
The Nun 2
In theaters Sept. 8
Director: Michael Chaves
Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Anna Popplewell, Bonnie Aarons
Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) just can’t catch a break. After squaring off against a demonic nun in, you guessed it, The Nun, she’s dragged into another conflict following the murder of a priest in this year’s big entry in the Conjuring-verse.
A Haunting in Venice
In theaters Sept. 15
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan
No, it’s not an international expansion of the Haunting in Connecticut series, but a different, tonier franchise extension: Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot is back again, baby! A Halloween-themed Agatha Christie adaptation brings together another eclectic cast of suspects, including Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, and Kelly Reilly. Presumably Poirot’s mustache has closed a deal to return as well.
In theaters Sept. 22
Director: Scott Waugh
Cast: Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone
The Expendables started off as a nostalgia franchise; now, nine years after its previous entry, the series is old enough to traffic in nostalgia for itself. It’s certainly drifted from its action-all-stars roots; Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture return, while the new recruits are a mix of genuine action pros (Tony Jaa; Iko Uwais) and slightly faded stars (Megan Fox and 50 Cent).
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
On Netflix Sept. 27
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel
Could we actually get two Wes Anderson features in the same year? Anderson has supposedly already finished shooting this adaptation of a Roald Dahl story — aimed at a somewhat older audience than works like Fantastic Mr. Fox, also adapted by Anderson — so it seems conceivable that it would be ready in time for a fall 2023 awards-season release. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular role, a gambler who uses meditation to gain a sort of superpower.
In theaters Sep. 29
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: John David Washington, Allison Janney, Gemma Chan
For a guy whose last two movies — Rogue One and Godzilla — were big franchise hits, Gareth Edwards has taken his time crafting a follow-up. The wait ends with The Creator, a sci-fi project whose plot appears to be under wraps for now. John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Ken Watanabe, Taylor Russell, and Zazie Beetz are all set to appear.
In theaters Sept. 29
Director: Kevin Greutert
Cast: Tobin Bell, Michael Beach
This will be the third attempt to restart the Saw franchise following its initial seven-movies-in-seven-years run, but it’s not a reboot, which would violate the elaborate architecture of a series that keeps making sequels set within sequels. For example: This story is said to prominently feature Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and Amanda (Shawnee Smith), which means at least some of it takes place around the time of the second and third installments, as both characters perished at the end of Saw III. The new one also welcomes back director Kevin Greutert, who has edited six Saw movies and directed the series highlight Saw VI (as well as the less notable Saw VII).
The Exorcist: Believer
In theaters Oct. 13
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Leslie Odom Jr., Ann Dowd, Ellen Burstyn
They’re just gonna call this The Exorcist, right? Fresh off his Halloween trilogy, which reinvigorated the series and irritated fans in equal, glorious measure, David Gordon Green turns his eye toward another much-sequeled horror classic, with a follow-up to The Exorcist. This direct sequel brings back Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil, sought by another parent (Leslie Odom Jr.) whose child has been possessed.
Killers of the Flower Moon
In theaters Oct. 20
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone
One of America’s filmmaking masters is back at it in 2023, as Martin Scorsese adapts an acclaimed nonfiction book about a series of murders in the Osage Nation, set in 1920s Oklahoma. Also back: the director’s frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, appearing in the same Scorsese picture for the first time ever, alongside Lily Gladstone (Certain Women), Jesse Plemons (The Irishman), and Brendan Fraser (The Whale), among others. Expect a major Oscar push from Apple on this one.
In theaters November 10
Director: Nia DaCosta
Cast: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani
The follow-up to both Captain Marvel and the recent Ms. Marvel TV series is… a body-switch comedy?! That’s what it sounds like, as hinted in a mid-credits scene during the Ms. Marvel season finale. Last time we saw them Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) jump into each other’s bodies when they use their powers; apparently Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) gets mixed into the action, too. Nia DaCosta, of the recent Candyman reboot, directs.
Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain
In theaters Nov. 17
Director: Paul Briganti
Cast: Martin Herlihy, Ben Marshall, John Higgins
Proving the habit of handing out movies to nascent Saturday Night Live stars is hard to break, the writing and performing trio known as Please Don’t Destroy (also known as “Three Sad Virgins”) has a treasure-hunting comedy in the works with producer Judd Apatow. Maybe these goofballs are exactly what’s needed to bring comedy back to the big screen (or maybe they’ll make a gloriously fun flop like the Lonely Island’s Hot Rod or Popstar).
The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
In theaters Nov. 17
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Rachel Zegler
The strategy behind turning the Hunger Games prequel book into a film seems to be hoping audiences don’t notice that it lacks star Jennifer Lawrence; it’s got the same director (Francis Lawrence) and same release date (the weekend before Thanksgiving) as three of its four predecessors. Hopefully audiences won’t be too thrown off to discover this story is actually about the future President Snow (Donald Sutherland in the earlier films, played here by Tom Blyth).
In theaters Nov. 22
Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Cast: Alan Tudyk, Ariana DeBose
Not to be confused with the Disney cruise line of the same name (we hope), Disney’s next in-house animated feature is an origin story of sorts for the “wishing star” that multiple Disney characters have supposedly wished upon, involving a girl named Asha (Ariana DeBose) and a bunch of new songs. Trying to tie the new movie into a bunch of other Disney classics feels dubious, but DeBose doing a Disney musical is bound to draw some interest.
Godzilla Minus One
In theaters Dec. 1
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Not much is known about the first Toho-made live-action Godzilla movie since 2016’s acclaimed Shin Godzilla, beyond that release date (which might only wind up applying to Japan) and director Takashi Yamazaki. But various Godzilla movies have done well on streaming services, so it’s a safe bet that the King of the Monsters will continue to reign.
In theaters Dec. 15
Director: Paul King
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins
Paddington director Paul King presses his luck in kidlit adaptation, taking on a prequel to Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Chalamet play a young Willy Wonka–the amazing chocolatier–before opening his amazing factory. Dahl fans may blanch, but the actor’s fans should know that the movie is said to contain multiple musical numbers.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
In theaters Dec. 20
Director: James Wan
Cast: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
In what could be Jason Momoa’s final outing as Aquaman, Arthur Curry teams up with his half-brother, former enemy, and onetime Ocean Master Orm (Patrick Wilson) to fight a vengeful Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). With James Wan back in the director’s chair, hopefully the first movie’s colorful maximalism remains intact, too, especially if this turns out to be Aquaman’s final lap around the ocean.
On Netflix Dec. 22
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Cary Elwes
Zack Snyder tries his hand at Star Wars-style space opera with this sci-fi adventure about a woman (Sofia Boutella) recruiting warriors from other planets to help defend a peaceful colony from an encroaching ruler. A sequel is already in the works; whether this means there’s more story to tell, or Snyder plans on having this one stop in the middle, Dune-style, remains to be seen.
The Color Purple
In theaters Dec. 25
Director: Blitz Bazawule
Cast: H.E.R., Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey
The movie-to-musical-to-movie-musical pipeline isn’t unprecedented; Little Shop of Horrors made that trip (hooray!), as did The Producers (booo!) and Netflix’s recent Matilda the Musical. Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film of the Alice Walker novel flirted with becoming a musical at times, and while this new version from director Blitz Bazawule is based on the 2005 Broadway show, the material clearly lends itself well to song. Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, and Colman Domingo are among the cast members who will have the chance to sing their hearts out.
In theaters Dec. 25
Director: Michael Mann
Cast: Adam Driver, Shailene Woodley, Penélope Cruz
Adam Driver continues his epic tour of major filmmakers with this Michael Mann-driven biopic of Enzo Ferrari, focusing on the car man’s life in 1957. Like a lot of Mann projects, this one has been kicking around a while: He first discussed making the movie over 20 years ago.
Expected in 2023
Director: Gareth Evans
Cast: Tom Hardy, Timothy Olyphant, Forest Whitaker
Both moviemaking Gareths have movies scheduled for 2023; Gareth Evans, of The Raid fame, returns with another movie in the “must fight their way through” genre. In this case, it’s Tom Hardy who must fight his way through an urban underworld in an attempt to rescue a politician’s lost son.
(Ed. note: Here’s the stuff that’s already premiered. We moved it down to the bottom for your ease of previewing what’s to come.)
In theaters Jan. 6
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Cast: Allison Williams
The internet already has a favorite movie of 2023, and it is M3GAN, thanks to a bonkers-looking trailer and an irresistible premise: a lifelike robotic doll goes murderously haywire, attempting to kill its creator (Allison Williams), all in the name of protecting the little girl it has befriended. While it’s always possible the movie will arrive already memed to death, it what horror fan could resist seeing Megan’s athletic moves in context?
In theaters Jan. 13
Genre: Action thriller
Director: Jean-François Richet
Cast: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter
Last January’s Covid surge denied us a proper month of Pure January releases. Plane looks to rectify that situation in 2023. The impeccably titled thriller forces a team-up between a dedicated commercial pilot (Gerard Butler) and a convict (Mike Colter) when their — you guessed it — plane crashes into hostile territory.
In select theaters Jan. 13
Director: Kyle Edward Ball
Cast: Jaime Hill, Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault
The next underground horror sensation has already screened at festivals, and a pirated copy has circulated online, giving it a bit of Blair Witch cachet prior to the limited release through IFC Midnight (with a streaming debut on Shudder planned for a later date). The word-of-mouth promotion is appropriate for what is said to be an unsettling, lo-fi, nightmare-like film about two kids trapped in their own house. Despite the vaguely Poltergeist-y vibes of that premise, Skinamarink has been compared more to David Lynch than ’80s Spielberg.
On Netflix Jan. 27
Director: Kenya Barris
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Remember comedies? Five or six years ago, a new one teaming Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill would be a bona fide event — and maybe it still will be as a Netflix release. The one-scene teaser suggests a culture-clash comedy in the style of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a promising angle given Hill’s willingness to get weird and awkward. Hill also co-wrote the movie with director Kenya Barris, and given Murphy’s previous film was Coming 2 America and his next one is a Beverly Hills Cop revival, this might be our only chance in a while to see the master comedian in an original movie.
On Prime Video Jan. 27
Director: Jason Moore
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge
The Wedding Planner kicked off Jennifer Lopez’s rom-com career in 2001, and Shotgun Wedding returns to her old genre stomping grounds, albeit a bloodier variation, where the usual wedding stresses and headaches are interrupted by the arrival of hostage-taking pirates. Lopez and her intended (Josh Duhamel) must then work through their personal issues, as well as a bunch of machine guns and grenades, to save the day.
In select theaters Jan. 27
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman
Brandon Cronenberg, son of body horror master David, follows up his gnarly sci-fi horror movie Possessor with the promise of additional disturbances in this story of a couple on vacation who finds terrifying intrigue (and possibly some kind of cloning experiment?) outside the walls of their resort. It stars two of last year’s big names in unconventional genre movies: Alexander Skarsgård (The Northman) and Mia Goth (X and Pearl).
Knock at the Cabin
In theaters Feb. 3
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Rupert Grint
M. Night Shyamalan is in a groove, cranking out stylish, unnerving, small-scale horror every couple of years, owning and refining his own peculiar quirks. Like Glass, Knock at the Cabin hints at a larger world outside of its confined space, as a family vacation in a remote cabin is interrupted by a quartet of strangers (led by Dave Bautista) demanding some kind of sacrifice that will supposedly stop an apocalypse. Unlike his early original films, Knock at the Cabin finds Shyamalan adapting Paul G. Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance
In theaters Feb. 10
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek
Even before the pandemic hit, Steven Soderbergh made peace with the fact his post-retirement movies would be streaming-only affairs, sacrificing a theatrical release for the freedom to continue making a movie or two each year, exactly how he wants them. But now Soderbergh is prepping his first theatrical-first release in four years; such is the power of Magic Mike, the dancer Channing Tatum first played in Soderbergh’s 2012 hit of the same name. Soderbergh sat out the crowd-pleasing sequel (at least in the director’s chair; he shot and edited it under pseudonyms) but he’s back for what looks more like a proper Magic Mike musical than ever, as an alluring benefactor (Salma Hayek) brings Mike to London and puts him in charge of a new stage show.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
In theaters Feb. 17
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors
Long in charge of cleansing the MCU palate following a big Avengers assembly, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) level up for their sub-franchise’s third entry, kicking off Marvel’s Phase 5 with an extended trip to the Quantum Realm, where they’ll apparently encounter looming mega-baddie Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). Some of Rudd’s best Ant-Man material has actually been as comic relief in heavier movies (he’s great in Civil War!), so maybe a little bit of gravitas won’t hurt this generally lighthearted series.
In theaters Feb. 24
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich
Challenging M3GAN for the title of most potentially predigested “weird” studio movie is this (loosely) fact-based comedy about a bear that gets ahold of a bunch of cocaine and goes on a rampage. The poor big guy is just the wildest card in what looks like a farcical crime thriller; the ensemble includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and the late Ray Liotta, among others.
In theaters March 3
Genre: Sports drama
Director: Michael B. Jordan
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson
Michael B. Jordan pulls a Stallone, in more ways than one: He’s taking over the directorial reins on his most famous character, just as Stallone pivoted to directing Rocky movies himself; and he’s pulled Stallone himself from the movie. (A fair decision, really, considering how well Rocky’s storyline was wrapped up in the first two movies.) This threequel sees the son of Apollo Creed challenged by a face from his past (Jonathan Majors, apparently the go-to villain for 2023), and has some sequences Jordan shot with IMAX cameras.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre
In theaters March 3
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Hugh Grant
Guy Ritchie’s latest has been the victim of money problems at distributor STX, which pulled it from last year’s release schedule. It’s supposedly rolling out in some countries in January 2023, and a streaming bow seems likely in the U.S., though there isn’t word on whether this means premiering on a service, or as a stand-alone VOD title. However it happens, just get it out! The world needs to see this Jason Statham/Aubrey Plaza team-up for themselves!
In theaters March 10
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Cast: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Courteney Cox
Following two 11-year gaps separating Scream 3, Scream 4, and the fifth one (inexplicably titled Scream), the slasher series gets back on its late-’90s schedule, with this sixth installment arriving just over a year after the fifth. A salary dispute forced a rewrite to nix Neve Campbell’s Sidney, but familiar faces will still turn up: Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, and scream queen Jenna Ortega all return from the previous film, joined by mainstay Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Scream 4 fan-fave Kirby (Hayden Panettiere). If that seems like a big population, well, the series has relocated to New York City, marking the first substantially non-Woodsboro iteration. Expect jokes about how a lot of Jason Takes Manhattan actually takes place on a boat.
In theaters March 17
Directors: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
Cast: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman
A man in a spaceship crash lands on a planet. It turns out that planet is Earth… and he’s gone 65 million years back in time! Adam Driver plays the man; special effects play the dinosaurs he has to evade. This premise was kept under wraps for over a year; presumably its recent unveiling was a Christmas gift to the world.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
In theaters March 17
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu
In the Fury of the Gods trailer, Shazam (Zachary Levi), aka Billy Batson (Asher Angel), laments that he doesn’t feel certain of his place in this superhero world. Just imagine how he’ll feel if the DC movie universe undergoes the rumored total reboot and nixes popular versions of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and, yes, Shazam in the process! In the meantime, Fury of the Gods follows up the 2019 hit by pitting the Shazam Family against another clan: the Daughters of Atlas, played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler.
In theaters March 17
Director: Vasilis Katsoupis
Cast: Willem Dafoe
Inside’s trailer was compelling, and enough to put it on our radar this March. The premise is also captivating — a top art thief gets stuck in a penthouse filled with priceless art when a heist goes wrong. When that top art thief happens to be Willem Dafoe, Inside goes from “Hey, that could be interesting” to “Hey, THAT could be interesting!!” —PV
On Netflix March 23
Director: Veronica Ngo
Cast: Veronica Ngo, Song Luan, Dong Anh Quynh
I’m a big fan of Furie, the smash-hit Vietnamese revenge thriller that broke box-office records at home while making a big splash internationally on Netflix. Director Le-Van Kiet moved on to make last year’s The Princess, but star Veronica Ngo (who was also in The Princess) returns to direct and star in this prequel. Ngo is one of the most exciting screen fighters working today, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see what she can do from behind the director’s chair and in front of it. —PV
John Wick: Chapter 4
In theaters March 24
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård
While his John Wick cohort David Leitch continues his tour of various big-ticket franchises, Chad Stahelski keeps the faith with John Wick 4, continuing the increasingly complicated story of a skilled assassin (Keanu Reeves) who has defied the ultra-powerful governing body known as the High Table. Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgård jump on board for this latest neon-lit, bullet-sprayed action extravaganza.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
In theaters March 31
Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page
Just to be clear, the newest attempt to bring D&D to life is not a legacy sequel to the forgotten 2000 flop starring Jeremy Irons (or its even-more-forgotten sequels); it’s a new story about a group of rogue-ish adventurer types (Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, and Sophia Lillis) who endanger and then must attempt to save their medieval-style world. Co-director John Francis Daley has plenty of old-fashioned gaming experience; he played D&D enthusiast Sam Weir on Freaks & Geeks, and, along with his regular collaborator Jonathan Goldstein, directed the very funny Game Night.
Murder Mystery 2
On Netflix March 31
Director: Jeremy Garelick
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong
Adam Sandler hasn’t made a lot of sequels in his time, but in the tradition of cozy detective series and the Nick and Norah movies, it makes sense for the charming Murder Mystery to spawn his first follow-up since the dire Grown Ups 2. Once again, husband-and-wife team Nick (Sandler) and Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) will solve some kind of murder while vacationing away from their New York City home.
The Fist of the Condor
In theaters April 4, streaming on Hi-Yah! April 7
Genre: Martial arts drama
Director: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Cast: Marko Zaror, Eyal Meyer, Gina Aguad
Many American audiences were introduced to Chilean martial arts star Marko Zaror in John Wick: Chapter 4, and his new martial arts drama The Fist of the Condor is an old-school throwback to the Hong Kong action cinema of the 1960s and ’70s. Zaror plays twin brothers caught in a conflict over a long-treasured martial arts text, in a gorgeous 80-minute adventure that features many terrific fights and makes the most of Zaror’s unrivaled athleticism and kicking ability. —Pete Volk
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
In theaters April 7
Directors: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day
Sonic the Hedgehog really busted down the doors for adaptations of beloved and family-friendly video game characters, so now it’s time to bring out the big guns: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, and all the rest. There’s already been some internet controversy over Chris Pratt’s ability to summon stereotypical Italian-osity as Mario; he’s joined by Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Jack Black, and the animators at Illumination, creators of Despicable Me and Sing. Will it delight fans of all ages, or create unexpected nostalgia for the 1993 live-action version?
How to Blow Up a Pipeline
In theaters April 7
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Cast: Ariela Barer, Lukas Gage, Kristine Froseth
A group of young people resort to drastic means to protect the Earth, planning to sabotage an oil pipeline. Set to be one of the buzziest and most controversial movies of the season, How to Blow Up a Pipeline builds off Andreas Malm’s nonfiction book of the same name. —PV
In theaters April 14
Genre: Horror comedy
Director: Chris McKay
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina
2020s comeback king Nicolas Cage returns to big-studio filmmaking in a big part: He’s Dracula in this present-day story about Drac’s henchman Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) who tries to break from his vampire-enthralled past when he falls in love with a traffic cop (Awkafina). Plenty of horror comedies fall flat, but how can any Cage (or horror) fan resist what the actor has recently described as a “pop-art” approach to Dracula, one also inspired by Max Schreck’s work in Nosferatu?
In theaters April 14
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Cast: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu
Makoto Shinkai (Your Name, Weathering With You) is one of the most exciting names in anime today, and his newest has been getting rave reviews (and box-office numbers) in Japan and China. Suzume follows a high school girl who hopes to save Japan from a series of disasters. —PV
Evil Dead Rise
In theaters April 21
Director: Lee Cronin
Cast: Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Morgan Davies
It’s a big year for horror-movie location shake-ups: Just as the new Scream leaves Woodsboro, the new Evil Dead movie leaves the woods; deadites will apparently be unleashed in a Los Angeles high-rise where two sisters (Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan) have recently reunited. Evil Dead Rise also follows in the footsteps of Smile, in that it was once intended as a streaming movie but got bumped up to a theatrical release when execs saw indications that it could play well to horror fans.
In theaters April 28
Director: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan
John Wick distributor Lionsgate picked up this Finnish action movie about a gold prospector who is targeted by a group of Nazi soldiers who want his prized ore. That does not go well for the Nazi soldiers, who appear to die in large numbers and in brutal ways, at least per the trailer. —PV
In theaters April 28
Genre: Action comedy
Director: Nida Manzoor
Cast: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha
Already one of our best movies of 2023, Polite Society finally debuts in theaters in late April after winning over festival audiences at Sundance and South by Southwest. In it, a young woman training to be a stuntwoman must pull off a daring heist at her sister’s wedding to prevent disaster. —PV
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
In theaters May 5
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
James Gunn may have lit out for DC, but he’s still got some unfinished business left at Marvel: Polishing off a Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, as Vol. 3 is expected to wrap up the stories of Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax, Nebula, and Mantis, at least in this form. Going by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this should be a noticeably more colorful and emotional MCU outing; but if it’s anything like the Guardians’ holiday special, it might be kind of half-assed and disappointing.
In theaters May 12
Genre: Mystery thriller
Directors: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Ben Affleck, William Fichtner, Alice Braga
Robert Rodriguez is back and is directing this extremely trippy-looking mystery thriller with Ben Affleck as a very confused detective. It kind of feels like if a Christopher Nolan movie and a Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie had a movie baby, and we are so very in for that. —PV
In theaters May 19
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa
Things haven’t gotten any less complicated for the Fast Family after the slightly underwhelming F9. Veteran Fast director Justin Lin left Fast X a week into production; Dwayne Johnson has gone for good after feuding with series star Vin Diesel; the cast has swollen to accommodate Brie Larson and Jason Momoa; and the budget has grown to make this one of the most expensive movies ever made (and certainly the priciest-ever Part 10). Franchise newbie Louis Leterrier took over for Lin (who retains a writing and producing credit), and is now in charge of delivering the supposedly penultimate ride.
The Little Mermaid
In theaters May 26
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy
The last Second Disney Renaissance movie without a live-action-ish remake (sorry, The Rescuers Down Under!) finally succumbs, at the hands of Disney vet Rob Marshall, with some new songwriting contributions from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Hopefully, new Ariel Halle Bailey will brighten up what looks, from the trailer, like an inexplicably murky trip under the sea.
In theaters May 26
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal
Gerard Butler reunites with director Ric Roman Waugh after the underrated Greenland and Angel Has Fallen on this war story set in Iran and Afghanistan about a CIA agent (Butler) and his translator (Negahban) trying to make it back home safely after things go wrong. The setup is pretty standard as these things go, but Waugh and Butler have been strong collaborators before. —PV
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
In theaters June 2
Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac
No Way Home may have been one of the biggest hits ever, but isn’t everyone’s favorite post-Raimi Spider-Man movie Into the Spider-Verse? The long-awaited sequel throws a bunch of new Spider-people (and animation styles) into the multiverse mix, including Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), Spider-Woman (Issa Rae), and Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya), alongside returning faves Miles Morales, Peter B. Parker, and Spider-Gwen.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
In theaters June 9
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Pete Davidson, Peter Dinklage
Following the longest between-movie break since Transformers premiered in 2007, the robots in disguise are back with a new director (Steven Caple Jr. of Creed II), a new star (Anthony Ramos of In the Heights), and a new setting (1994). Though the movie will roll in characters from the ‘90s Beast Wars series, it supposedly also functions as a sequel to Bumblebee, itself a prequel to the main series. Apparently the movies themselves can transform, too!
In theaters June 16
Director: Peter Sohn
Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis
Elemental sounds like a parody of Pixar formulas: In a city where all of the citizens are composed of different elements (water, fire, air, and land), a mismatched pair — one water, one fire — is unexpectedly thrown together. What may set it apart from past mismatched-duo-in-metaphysical-world movies like Inside Out and Soul is that it’s a romance, rather than a buddy comedy. The fiery Ember (Leah Lewis) and watery Wade (Mamoudou Athie) fall in love, even though they can’t touch each other. The Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn gets another shot at Pixar glory with his second feature for the studio.
In theaters June 16
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton
For a time, it seemed like Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) would be charged with tweaking the DCEU with whatever half-measure reboots it needed to recast some parts (like Ben Affleck’s Batman) and retain others (like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman). Now with DC undergoing a broader reboot (and Miller’s personal troubles making them unlikely to return to the role in any context), The Flash might play more like a series finale. It certainly sounds a bit like DC’s answer to No Way Home (the movies were in the works more or less simultaneously), in that it will supposedly feature both the Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton iterations of Batman, alongside variations on other DC characters.
On Netflix June 16
Director: Sam Hargrave
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Daniel Bernhardt
Former stuntman Sam Hargrave helms the newly minted Extraction franchise after the super-successful first entry, and Chris Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake returns for what’s gearing up to be an action-packed sequel. I mean, the guy literally punches some fools while his fist is on fire! It does not get much better than that, folks. —PV
In theaters June 16
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Edward Norton
In 1955, a group of students and adults converge upon a Junior Stargazer convention in a made-up desert town. Have you guessed yet that this is the new film from Wes Anderson? If not, you’d probably be tipped off by a cast list that includes Anderson regulars like Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, and Tony Revolori; former Anderson voice actors like Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, and Jarvis Cocker; and some Anderson newbies like Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Hong Chau, and Steve Carell.
No Hard Feelings
In theaters June 23
Director: Gene Stupnitsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Natalie Morales
It seems like Jennifer Lawrence has been threatening to make a go-for-broke comedy — at one point with Amy Schumer, at another with Adam McKay — for years now. She finally follows through in this R-rated movie about a woman hired to date a recent high school graduate by his worried mother. Co-writer and director Gene Stupintsky has experience with both boys and grown women behaving badly; he co-wrote Bad Teacher and directed Good Boys.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
In theaters June 30
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen
In its lead character’s old age, the Indiana Jones series has become the Before Sunrise of rip-roaring adventures, only moreso: The fifth and purportedly last Indy movie comes 15 years after the fourth, which arrived 19 years after the third. Harrison Ford is still looking pretty spry in the lead role, and there’s new blood behind the camera: Steven Spielberg has handed the reins to Logan director James Mangold. Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-stars in a movie that will feature some manner of de-aged Indy flashback, a ticker-tape parade, and a horse in subway tunnels.
Insidious: Fear the Dark
In theaters July 7
Director: Patrick Wilson
Cast: Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson
Scream King Patrick Wilson goes further into the horror lifestyle, stepping into the director’s chair for the fifth Insidious movie after starring in the first two. Wilson and Rose Byrne also reprise their roles as the parents of haunted Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins), who’s all grown up, headed to college, and still bedeviled by freaky demons.
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One
In theaters July 14
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby
Fresh off starring in the biggest movie of 2022, Tom Cruise refuses to slow down: He’s busy motorcycling off a cliff, among other stunts, in the seventh installment of the nearly three-decade film series. What was once the coolest rotating-director franchise this side of Alien is now a Tom Cruise/Christopher McQuarrie production through and through, with a Fast & Furious-style all-star ensemble. The core of Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson is joined by Vanessa Kirby (from Fallout), Henry Czerny (from the very first film), and newcomer Hayley Atwell.
In theaters July 21
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon
Superheroes may trump most auteurs these days, but there’s some kind of superpower in Christopher Nolan commanding a big budget, prime summer release date, and IMAX screens worldwide for his grown-up drama (apparently shot, at least partially, in black-and-white?) about the father of the atomic bomb, played by Nolan mainstay Cillian Murphy. The gold-plated ensemble includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, and Rami Malek.
In theaters July 21
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Margot Robbie, Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren
Everyone who wasn’t hired for Oppenheimer seems to have signed up for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie: The comedy stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and America Ferrera. Gerwig co-wrote it with her partner Noah Baumbach, so presumably it skews more The Lego Movie than Transformers; the strange and clever teaser certainly implies as much.
Meg 2: The Trench
In theaters Aug. 4
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Jason Statham, Cliff Curtis, Wu Jing
Sadly, it’s not the canceled Aquaman spinoff, back from its watery grave; happily, it is another movie with Jason Statham fighting large aquatic monsters; confusingly, it’s directed by Ben Wheatley, of culty movies like High-Rise, A Field in England, and Free Fire.
Heart of Stone
On Netflix Aug. 4
Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Gal Gadot, Matthias Schweighöfer, Jamie Dornan
Netflix loves its Red Notice gang, developing subsequent projects with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. Before those sequel(s) arrive, Gadot’s solo spy thriller sounds ready to go; she plays, yes, Rachel Stone, a deadly CIA agent tasked with saving the world and stuff. Hopefully this movie’s globetrotting is more convincing than the green-screen-heavy Red Notice.
In theaters Aug. 11
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet
Director Neill Blomkamp was once slated to work on a Halo movie; that project may have fallen apart, but he gets his shot at videogame cinema with Gran Turismo, an adaptation of the long-running driving game. This one has a meta element; apparently, it’s based on a true story of a teenage gamer (Archie Madekwe) who applies his Gran Turismo skills to real-life car-racing.
In theaters Aug. 18
Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Cast: Xolo Maridueña, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillén
Before the DC movie chaos of the past few months, things were looking up for Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), also known as the alien-armor-wearing Blue Beetle: His movie was upgraded from an HBO Max production to a full-scale theatrical release, bringing some additional diversity to the DCEU. Now, with DC plans up in the air, he looks a bit like an orphan, but maybe director Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) can deliver a satisfying stand-alone superhero adventure in the meantime.