Compared to its 2022 counterpart, the list of new movies grabbing headlines in 2023 is almost lame – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t full-length adventures to get excited about in the months ahead.
In fact, the last years of post-pandemic cinema have been so good that we probably need a break from the big screen. 2021 took off with hysteria-inducing releases like No Time To Die, Dune and Spider-Man: No Way Home, before 2022 brought its own roster of equally raucous hits (which so far included The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, Nope, Don’t Worry Darling, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever).
Avatar: The Way of Water and Babylon are yet to come this year – and we’ve included both movies below as a reminder of their imminent release – but this page is mostly dedicated to the upcoming movies hitting theaters in 2023.
Avatar: The Way of Water
Release date: December 16, 2022
James Cameron isn’t prolific at the moment – Avatar: The Way of Water (aka Avatar 2) will be only his third film in 25 years – but when he’s behind the camera, you know you’re about to see something groundbreaking. He tends to spend long breaks between premieres waiting for film technology to catch up with his vision, so his return to Pandora’s spectacular alien ecosystem will feature the world’s first underwater performance recording sequences.
Kate Winslet (who held her breath for an incredible seven minutes during filming), Jermaine Clement and Cliff Curtis join the cast along with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang also return, even though their characters have been presumed dead. While this sequel has been delayed a year as part of Disney’s massive pandemic-induced release date shift, you won’t have to wait another decade for more Avatar – part 3 is set for December 2024, as well as a fourth and fifth movies in the works. Check out our analysis of the long-awaited first trailer for Avatar 2, as well as the second trailer for Avatar 2 for more.
Release date: December 25, 2022
Set in the 1920s, in a transitional era of Hollywood where silent movies gave way to “talkies”, Babylon seems poised to deliver more awards to director Damien Chazelle, whose previous credits include Oscar-winning Whiplash, La La Land and First Man. A tale of “extraordinary ambition and outrageous excess,” the film follows the rise and fall of many characters in an era of unbridled decadence and depravity, according to Paramount.
Babylon – which includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Tobey Maguire – will air on a limited basis on December 25, 2022, before opening in the US on January 6, 2023 and the UK on January 20, 2023. Paramount movies, likely it will also debut in Paramount Plus in the future.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Release date: February 17, 2023
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will kick off Marvel Phase 5 (and by extension, extend the task of watching the Marvel movies in order), and will also be the first Marvel-based project coming in 2023, period.
The official synopsis for the film reads: “Superhero partners Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, the family explores the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond what they thought was possible.
Admittedly, that’s not much to do in an official capacity – but Marvel never intended to give too far, especially since this superhero movie is set to kick off the complex Multiverse saga appropriately.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Release date: March 17, 2023
Zachary Levi’s super-powered jerk Shazam is forced back into action in Shazam! Fury of the Gods as the villainous sisters Hesper (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu) – who are also daughters of the mighty Greek titan Atlas – emerge as a menace armed with potentially world-destroying weapons.
Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel and Grace Caroline Currey reprise their roles from the first Shazam! alongside Levi, while Rachel Zegler, who left West Side Story, joins the cast as Atlas’s third (but overall less violent) daughter, Anthea. To the surprise of many, Shazam! was a critical and commercial hit upon its release in 2019, so DC executives will be hoping its sequel can repeat the trick. And if you missed the first one, find out how to watch DC’s Expanded Universe movies before you try it.
John Wick: Chapter 4
Release date: March 24, 2023
Everyone’s favorite puppy-loving killer returns in 2023 for gun-toting action. According to Lionsgate’s official synopsis, John Wick: Chapter 4, the titular killer “will face his deadliest foes. With the price on his head still rising, Wick takes the fight to the global High Table, seeking out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Osaka to Berlin.
In other words, the movie directed by Chad Stahelski will dance to the same tune as its predecessors – which in our book is not bad at all. The show’s main characters Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Reddick will reprise their roles as Winston, The Bowery King and Charon respectively, while newcomers to John Wick 4 include martial arts legends Donnie Yen (Ip Man) and Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat ).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release date: May 5, 2023
Marvel’s second Phase 5 project, scheduled for release in 2023 (following Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), is the third and final installment in James Gunn’s beloved Guardians of the Galaxy series.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will pick up directly after the events of the eponymous group’s Holiday Special, which launched on Disney Plus as part of Phase 4 of the MCU in November 2022, with the franchise’s biggest stars – including Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel – returning for it , prove your last outing in the MCU. Gunn also doubles as a writer and director for the last time as an employee of Marvel, and the Suicide Squad director was recently named co-head of DC Studios. In other words, get ready for an emotional roller coaster.
Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse
Release date: June 2, 2023
The first part of the 2018 two-part sequel Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse follows Miles and Gwen as they encounter different worlds (and characters) on their journeys across the multiverse. The producers of the film have already revealed that each dimension in the second Spidey film, hosted by Miles Morales, will “have its own art style” and “seem to have been drawn by the hand of a different artist”, so there’s a good chance this one will look like even better than the perfect original. Moreover, the same duo also revealed that Across the Spider-Verse may be tied to the MCU after all, meaning this is the first time we’ve seen Tom Holland’s Spidey in animated form. As with the Aquaman sequel (below), this one was originally scheduled for release in 2022, but is now scheduled for 2023.
Indiana Jones and the Shield of Destiny
Release date: June 30, 2023
Turn on the theme music: Indiana Jones is back. Coming 12 years after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – which itself was the first Indiana Jones film in 19 years – Harrison Ford makes his final return as Hollywood’s most famous adventurer in Shield of Destiny.
Plot details are scarce for now, but they do relate to the movie great first teaser (opens in a new tab) teased the involvement of Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange), Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Boyd Holbrook (The Sandman), as well as a wonderfully rejuvenated Harrison Ford. We can not wait.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One
Release date: July 14, 2023
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One (or Mission: Impossible 7 if you’re in a hurry) has endured so many schedule delays that it previously made our list of the biggest upcoming movies of 2022, but the movie finally looks set to arrive in July next year.
Tom Cruise, the protagonist of Top Gun: Maverick, will be 60 years old before the seventh installment of the iconic franchise hits theaters, and it will also mark the penultimate appearance of Ethan Hunt, the actor’s famous action hero. After delivering the best parts of the long-running series like Rogue Nation and Fallout, Christopher McQuarrie also returned behind the camera for issue 7 and its sequel. Plot details are currently locked away more than a government vault, although Mission Impossible 7’s bombastic first trailer has given us our first look at Hunt and company’s return to action. To prepare yourself for the chaos ahead, check out our ranking of the Mission: Impossible movies released so far.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Release date: December 25, 2023
Despite Aquaman 2 originally slated to hit theaters on December 16, 2022, it’s now set for a December 2023 release. Following the less internet-friendly title Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, this superhero sequel will continue the underwater adventures of Jason Momoa’s DC Superhero. .
The long-awaited sequel reunites the Game of Thrones actor with Amber Heard’s original co-stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman and Patrick Wilson – although Heard’s involvement remains up in the air – and we’ll see the titular character forced to “forge an uneasy alliance with an unlikely ally to protect Atlantis and the world from irreversible devastation.” Expect even more comic carnage then.