In 2022, we were treated to a lot of cinema as we returned to near-normality in the film industry post-pandemic, with the releases of Marvel epics like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, critics’ darling The Banshees of Inisherin and James Cameron finally unleashing his long-gestating sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, on the world.
Next year though, we’ve got plenty waiting for us in genres from horror to musical to Barbie and everything in between.
There’s yet more Tom Cruise promised too as he dusts off the massive success of Top Gun: Maverick to pop back to Mission: Impossible and deliver us the delayed seventh instalment.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest films set to grace the cinema in 2023 that have really taken our fancy.
Let’s take a look…
Babylon is set to make its dramatic debut in the UK in January 2023, after one of the most divisive receptions from critics in a fair old while.
Reactions have run the gamut from rave reviews to accusations of the movie being ‘uninsightful’, ‘truly monstrous’ and ‘borrowing everything’.
In the US director Damien Chazelle’s latest hasn’t fared well, bombing at the domestic box office after grossing less than $6,000,000 (£4,968,720) in its opening four-day weekend on a budget of around $80,000,000 (£66,249,600).
However, it’s a heady and sleazy tale of Hollywood glamour in the 1920s and ’30s, as Tinseltown was grappling with the switch from silent movies to sound, stuffed full of real-life figures, thinly-veiled inspirations and gossip that’s lasted almost 100 years.
It also nabbed five Golden Globe nominations and boasts an impressive ensemble cast including stars Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Golden Globe nominee Diego Calva, Li Jun Li, Max Minghella and a terrifying Tobey Maguire.
Babylon hits cinemas on January 20.
The hype has been major for this film ever since its first (of several) standing ovations back in September, at its Venice Film Festival world premiere.
Although star Brendan Fraser and director Darren Aronofsky have attracted criticism for their decision to use a fat suit to depict Fraser’s character Charlie’s 600lb frame, fans have also been thrilled to see the Mummy star’s Hollywood comeback earn such high praise.
Fraser has been busy on the publicity circuit, seemingly slightly bewildered at the outpouring of love for the Fraserenaissance/Brenaissance (take your pick), having already picked up an influential pre-Oscars award and a best actor nod from the Golden Globes – although he won’t be attending.
The Whale is based on Samuel D Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name and sees reclusive English teacher Charlie (Fraser) attempting to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (Sadie Sink).
The Whale is in cinemas from February 3.
If the title alone of Cocaine Bear doesn’t intrigue you, we’re not sure what else will.
Believe it or not, the film is actually based on a real-life incident from 1985 when a bear devoured more than 70lbs of cocaine that it found in the woods.
However, the film takes it a step further with said grizzly bear embarking on a mad drug-fuelled rampage in what must be the most bonkers film premise for 2023.
Cocaine Bear is directed by Pitch Perfect’s Elizabeth Banks, who previously rebooted Charlie’s Angels, and stars the late Ray Liotta in one of his final roles alongside O’Shea Jackson Jr, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Brooklynn Prince and Christian Convery.
The official synopsis for Cocaine Bear reads: ‘Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fuelled rampage for more blow… and blood.’
Cocaine Bear releases in cinemas on Fenruary 24.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
It’s the final outing for Peter Quill and co this year, as Chris Pratt steps away from the role that made him a major star, alongside the rest of his beloved motley crew including Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Bradley Cooper.
With writer-director James Gunn having been tapped to co-run the new DC Studios, this will also act as his last Marvel hurrah.
The first trailer for Vol. 3 dropped earlier this month, treating fans to their first glimpse of Will Poulter making his MCU debut as golden superhero/villain Adam Warlock.
Poulter’s character is an artificial being and the creation of Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) at the end of Vol. 2; he is intended to help her bring down the Guardians of the Galaxy.
There was also a brief glimpse of a young Rocket (Cooper), suggesting we will see the origin story of everyone’s favourite outerspace raccoon in what could be emotional scenes.
Strap in tight!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to launch in cinemas on May 5.
Bosses have previously confirmed that this tenth insalment of the Fast saga will be the first in a two-part finale for the whole series, starring Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Michelle Rodriguez.
So far, there’s been a fair bit of drama around the franchise, with former star Dwayne Johnson refusing to come back and slamming Diesel’s ‘manipulative’ public plea for his return.
Longstanding series director Justin Lin also quit just days into production, calling it a ‘difficult decision’ and sharing no reason behind his move.
He was replaced by Louis Leterrier.
However, there are set to be some epic set pieces as always after the movie was spotted filming around the Colosseum in Rome.
Diesel has also recruited the likes of Brie Larson, Jason Momoa to play the villain and West Side Story icon Rita Moreno as his character’s grandmother.
Fast X hits cinemas on May 19.
The Little Mermaid
In a big step for further diversity from Disney, fans have been thrilled to see Black singer and actress Halle Bailey step into Ariel’s fins to flip her way to stardom.
The Little Mermaid is a live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic and is retaining all of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s iconic songs, including Under the Sea and Part of Your World, which was teased in the first trailer release in September.
Bailey leads a cast including Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Awkwafina as Scuttle, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder.
A lot is being kept under wraps still, but from what we’ve seen so far we’re ready to dive right in.
The Little Mermaid is in cinemas from May 26.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford is picking up the whip and donning the brown trilby of adventuring archaeologist Indiana Jones one last time in 2023.
It’s been over 40 years since his first outing as Indy in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which kicked off the initial trilogy, and 15 since 2008’s not-so-well-received late follow-up, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
However, the team are taking one final crack at it, helmed by director James Mangold and co-starring Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, the return of John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Indy’s goddaughter, Helena.
The film’s title was announced alongside its first trailer, which sees Indy globe-trotting, punching and handling Nazis with his usual panache, as well as a glimpse of a de-aged Ford for flashback scenes.
Don your hat and cross your fingers that this is a send-off worthy of everyone’s favourite movie professor.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny releases in cinemas on June 30.
What to say about Barbie, other than it represents our wildest hopes and dreams for 2023?
We’ve seen just a taste with its spoof 2001: A Space Odyssey teaser trailer (voiced by Dame Helen Mirren, no less) so far, but the fact it’s written and directed by Greta Gerwig and produced and starring Margot Robbie already had our ears pricked.
Add to that the stacked cast of Ryan Gosling as Ken, Will Ferrell as a rumoured toy company CEO and other stars including Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu, America Ferrera, Saturday Night Live alumna Kate McKinnon and new Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa, and we’re practically salivating.
It seems like the film take on the iconic Mattel doll will have just the right mix of irreverence and love for Barbie and her stereotypes, as already seen by the incredible outfits being recreated.
If you need us, we’ll be in our Dreamhouse.
Barbie is set to launch in cinemas on July 21.
Oppenheimer is writer-director Christopher Nolan’s next major movie, following 2020’s time-bending Tenet.
This time, we’re in the past for the story of real-life American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (played by Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy) and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.
Murphy is somewhat of a Nolan favourite, having previously appeared as villain Scarecrow in Batman Begins, Robert Fischer in Inception and a quick cameo as a shivering soldier in 2017’s Dunkirk.
Here, he’s taking centre stage in a, quite frankly, ridiculous supporting cast that also features Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Gary Oldman.
Yes, read that again.
Nolan always creates event cinema, and the first full trailer shows Murphy as Oppenheimer grappling with the enormity – and danger – of what he has invented.
Oppenheimer hits cinemas on July 21.
Timothée Chalamet will also be gracing our screens once more in the Dune sequel next year, but colour us slightly more intrigued by this origin tale.
In what might be a perfect bit of casting for the whimsical, haterneck-wearing star, Chalamet will be singing his way through this new musical, which focuses on a young Willy Wonka and how he met the Oompa-Loompas on one of his earliest adventures.
Again, he is ably supported by a fantastic ensemble cast including Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Matt Lucas and Paddington 2 writer Simon Farnaby, who has also penned this screenplay.
We’ve seen but one image so far and can’t wait to taste more of this creation.
Wonka is in cinemas from December 15.
Other films to look out for in 2023
M3GAN – We’re back in classic creepy doll territory for this film, which has social media in its creepy grip.
TÁR – Cate Blanchett stars as composer Lydia Tár, in what is being marketed as a biopic but is, in fact, not based on a real person. Todd Field directs his first movie in 16 years.
The Fabelmans – Legendary director Steven Spielberg has called this coming of age tale starring Paul Dano, Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams, the most personal film of his career.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance – We’re back for the latest and final spin of stipper Magic Mike (Channing Tatum), and this time he’s hitting London with a new dance crew and Salma Hayek in tow.
Women Talking – In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith. Stars Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy and Frances McDormand.
Creed III – Star Michael B Jordan has taken the director’s reigns for this one too, the ninth instalment in the Rocky franchise, which made Sylvester Stallone a star in the 1970s – although he won’t be appearing in a Rocky movie for the first time.
John Wick: Chapter 4 – Keanu Reeves is back for another film in this popular franchise, where he must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
Scream 6 – Yes, it’s already time for another trip to Woodsboro, although this time the survivors of the Ghostface killings are starting afresh in New York (or not).
Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves – Based on the fantasy tabetop RPG, this movie adaptation stars Chris Pine, Regé-Jean Page and Hugh Grant, and sees a charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embark on an epic quest to retrieve a lost relic.
Renfield – A film about Dracula’s henchman Renfield (Nicholas Hoult), all eyes are really going to be on Nicolas Cage in a role he was born to play – that of the lengendary vampire.
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse – A sequel to the stunning 2018 animated movie, centering on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), which won an Oscar.
Elemental – Giving vibes of both Inside Out and Soul, Disney and Pixar’s next offering, Elemental follows opposites Ember and Wade in a city where fire, water, land and air residents all live together.
The Flash – A highly controversial film, given the cancellation of Batgirl, DC Studios’ new direction and the legal troubles of its star Ezra Miller, will The Flash actually be any good?
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – After lengthy delays, we will finally see Tom Cruise back in action as Ethan Hunt once more, alongside Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff and Simon Pegg.
Haunted Mansion – A reboot of the film based on the classic Disney Parks attraction, starring Jared Leto and Jamie Lee Curtis, this could be next Pirates of the Caribbean, or it could be the next, um, Haunted Mansion…
Dune: Part II – The second part of 2021’s Oscar-winning adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, co-written and directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.
The Colour Purple – A film adaptation of the stage musical based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, with Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, Halle Bailey and H.E.R.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – The delayed Aquaman sequel starring Jason Moma and Amber Heard could be these actors’ swansong after recent decisions at DC Studios (although nothing has been confirmed wither way).
Napoleon (TBC) – Joaquin Phoenix stars in this Apple Original film about the French leader, directed by Sir Ridley Scott.
Killers of the Flower Moon (TBC) – Another Apple Original, this time it’s Martin Scorsese teaming up once more with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, as well as Brendan Fraser and Lily Gladstone, for this adaptation of the novel about the serial murder of members of the Osage Nation.
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