A new year of cinema is upon us and already off to a good start with Gerard Johnstone’s M3GAN, produced by Blumhouse and Atomic Monster (James Wan’s studio) and distributed by Universal, which scored a terrific $45 million in global box office off a very modest $12 million horror-comedy budget. The coming months offer much more to look forward to as well, particularly the entries on today’s list of the 25 most anticipated new movies of 2023.
Official poster for “Cocaine Bear.” Universal
There will be hundreds upon hundreds of movies released in 2023. Trying to be aware of them all, form some sort of weighable opinion about as many as possible, and then cut and narrow them all down to the primary 25 or so that most demand my attention and which are worthy of mention, is all quite difficult. However, it’s also fun and worthwhile, because it looks like 2023 is going to once again be a pretty fun and impressive year for cinema.
My criteria for this one includes a few basic rules, plus a couple of significant assumptions, both of which I’ll explain.
The rules are that eligible films must be new films released in theaters in 2023 — otherwise, the Titanic (1997) 4K HDR 3D anniversary release would certainly be included. And we need enough details about their story, cast, filmmakers, or franchise/inspirations/whatever in order to allow at least some assessment of how much to look forward to them.
The assumptions behind my selections are my own expectations and hopes related to the films, based on what I’ve seen or heard about them, their origins or inspirations or franchises, their casts or crews, and anything else that has influenced my perception of the films and made them high on my must-see list as confirmed 2023 releases. So you could say my selections are also based on a sort of “anticipation plus hopes plus expectations” equation.
There are five additional films that probably would also be on the list, if they had officially confirmed release dates indicating a stronger certainty of releasing this year. But since I want to be sure to only include movies that are 2023 releases, I’m excluding these five movies that remain “TBA” as far as release scheduling. Here they are, in no particular order…
The first TBA film is director Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, adapting David Grann’s true story book about the murders of wealthy Osage family members in a conspiracy to take their land for its oil reserves.
The second TBA film is Spaceman from director Johan Renck, whose perfect direction made me an obsessive fan of the HBO & Sky UK series Chernobyl. I haven’t read the book, but Renck’s involvement makes this a must-see project for me.
The third TBA film, The Killer, is directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac, Gone Girl) and adapts a popular series of graphic novels in a cinematic thriller about a cold blooded assassin slowly going insane.
The fourth TBA film, El Conde, comes from director Pablo Larraín, who brought us No, Jackie, and last year’s Spencer. Imagining Chilean dictator Pinochet as a 250 year old vampire, it’s an intriguing premise and I’m dying to see Larraín’s spin on it.
The fifth TBA film is Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller’s Nightbitch, starring Amy Adams in what could be a purely fantasy tale, a body-horror story, or maybe a little bit of both when a new mother starts transforming into a dog.
While I am eager to see all five of the above releases, they lack confirmed 2023 release dates. Considering the fact so many release dates are getting shuffled and changed in this pandemic and uncertain theatrical/streaming landscape, I don’t feel I can place them on my list until we can be sure they’ll arrive this year as planned.
However, if you want to know my top 30 recommendations, then you can just imagine the TBAs are also part of my list, assuming of course they do release in 2023.
There are a lot of films that are flying under the radar right now, no doubt, and a long list of films supposedly releasing in 2023 but also TBA and without the same buzz and certainty as the films discussed above and below.
That said, any shortcomings of this list are my own fault, first and foremost, because of my biases for certain genres and certain performers or filmmakers, and my inadequate awareness right now of this year’s foreign releases. There are also certain inherent limitations due to certain limitations of marketing and release information to generate more attention and anticipation for a lot of projects this early in the year (meaning no doubt my anticipation and interest for several other films will grow and probably would evolve this list to include several such releases).
Regardless, if you think you see a flaw or limitation in this list, you probably do, regardless of how much I also think all of the films here are also worthy of anticipation and attention.
And now, without further ado, here is my list of the top 25 most anticipated movies of 2023, in order of release dates …
- Knock at the Cabin — Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, releases Feb. 3.
- Full River Red — Directed by Zhang Yimou, releases January 22nd (the release is in China and Canada, U.S. release dates to come, but it has North American release dates so that’s enough to qualify for this list).
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — Directed by Peyton Reed, releases Feb. 17.
- Cocaine Bear — Directed by Elizabeth Banks, releases Feb. 24.
- Creed III — Directed by Michael B. Jordan, releases March 3.
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods — Directed by David F. Sandberg, releases March 17.
- 65 — Directed by Scott Beck and Brian Woods, releases March 17.
- A Thousand and One — Directed by A.V. Rockwell, releases March 31.
- Chevalier — Directed by Stephen Williams, releases April 7.
- Beau Is Afraid — Directed by Ari Aster, releases April 23.
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret — Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, releases April 28.
- Polite Society — Directed by Nida Manzoor, releases April 28.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — Directed by James Gunn, releases May 5.
- The Little Mermaid — Directed by Rob Marshall, releases May 26.
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse — Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, releases June 2.
- Flamin’ Hot — Directed by Eva Longoria, releases June 9.
- The Flash — Directed by Andrés Muschietti, releases June 16.
- Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — Directed by James Mangold, releases June 30.
- MI: Dead Reckoning Part One — Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, releases July 14.
- Oppenheimer — Directed by Christopher Nolan, releases July 21.
- Barbie — Directed by Greta Gerwig, releases July 21.
- The Marvels — Directed by Nia DaCosta, releases July 28.
- Blue Beetle — Directed by Angel Manuel Soto, releases Aug. 18.
- Exorcist — Directed by David Gordon Green, releases Oct. 13.
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — Directed by James Wan, releases Christmas Day.
And there you have it, dear readers, my list of the top 25 most anticipated movies of 2023! I realize there are a lot of franchises and branded IP represented here, but that’s the way the scheduled releases shake out in terms of hot properties to keep an eye out for and which we already have enough information and peaks at to stir our interest. That said, I think there’s also a lot of great original content as well, and the franchise and IP-based releases still look like they’ll be worth watching when they arrive.
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