As happens every year, the movie calendar for 2022 saw plenty of shifting and sliding, meaning that for reasons both cynical and unavoidable, some of the movies we looked forward to most were pushed back another year. As theaters began bouncing back (even if indies and arthouse fare still seems to be gearing back up), any doubts as to our cultural capacity for a slew of Avatar movies vanished quicker than James Cameron’s actors holding their breath underwater. As we move into 2023, big media properties are rolling out more confidently than they have in years, while some festival favorites from 2022 are finally getting wide releases.
Martin Scorsese’s big new movie is on the horizon, eyeing a festival debut to make the right kind of splash. The sequel to the best Spider-Man film is finally going to see the light of day. Two of our favorite movie men—Indiana Jones and Magic Mike—are unexpectedly back in action. Kelly Reichardt, Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, and Paul Schrader are all coming out with new films, and that’s not even mentioning a few sleepers that’ll surely make a splash alongside surefire hits like the punctuation nightmare that is Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
This list is of course not set in stone, as release dates shift in accordance with the pandemic, the release cycle, and the continued fluctuations in the theatrical landscape.
But for now, here are Paste’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2023, listed by release date:
Release Date: February 10
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Soderbergh is back in the saddle of that beautiful pony we call Magic Mike. Magic Mike’s Last Dance looks to wrap up Channing Tatum’s stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold saga with a London-set spectacular featuring Salma Hayek in a mysterious and powerful role. With the previous film in the trilogy being such a good time, it’s easy to imagine that this film goes out with a sweaty, sultry bang—drenched in the class commentary that made the movies so delightfully prickly in the first place. Plus, abs!
Our Luke Hicks saw the latest entry in Paul Schrader’s unofficial thematic series of quiet, sad, burdened men (First Reformed, The Card Counter) at New York Film Festival last year, and he was impressed with its thoughtfulness and subtext. Joel Edgerton was a neo-Nazi. Now he’s a horticulturist working for Sigourney Weaver. Perhaps not as masterful as the previous two entries into this period of his work, Master Gardener is “tender, tense, contemplative and somehow still in your face.”
Release Date: June 2
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
The best superhero movie of the modern era is getting a sequel, and that’s exciting enough. But taken as a response to the MCU’s No Way Home, which does similar multiverse antics to more limited success, it’s a chance for the innovative animated franchise to continue proving the potential of its medium. Into the Spider-Verse already found a uniquely comicky aesthetic, both in style and animation technique, while bringing in a bunch of goofball characters that didn’t require any outside knowledge of the superhero world. Now that a foundation has been laid, the sky’s the limit—and when Spider-Folk see open skies, they’re in their acrobatic element.
Release Date: June 30
Director: James Mangold
Ring, ring—hello? Destiny’s been dialed, and Indiana Jones is answering the call! I don’t really care what an 80-year-old Harrison Ford is up to in this movie, just that we’re getting him and John Williams giving one last hurrah before hanging up the hat and whip. But when you add in Nazis, the Space Race, Mads Mikkelsen, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge…well, even us skeptics can feel the ol’ pulp magic calling us back into the fold. It helps that James Mangold, he of Logan and Ford v Ferrari, is taking over directorial duties—that guy can really make a sharp and respectable piece of period-specific fiction.
Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible run has been impossibly good, so when he and Tom Cruise decided to split their latest film into a couple of parts, I had to begrudgingly accept that both parts would still probably rule. Cruise is getting up there, so a big, brash farewell to his run as Ethan Hunt will be fitting, even as his antics atop trains and piloting planes cause us to question whether he really cares to grow old at all.
Greta Gerwig. Noah Baumbach. Mattel. Three flavors that…I guess are together for some reason, and we should just embrace it. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are perfectly cast stars who’ve demonstrated an ability not only to play against type but to poke self-aware fun at their own beauty. That’s the kind of talent this movie will need to lean in the direction of The LEGO Movie—one of the only hyper-branded films to actually pull off its central premise—and its creative team, with Gerwig as both writer/director, seems primed to attempt something at least admirably weird. Here’s hoping it’s a strange, radical, reference-filled romp that sparks plenty of new ideas in its target demographic. But I also can’t help but remember that Baumbach wrote Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Ah, well. Three tickets please.
Release Date: July 21
Director: Christopher Nolan
Make that Barbie screening into a double feature, because Cillian Murphy’s J. Robert Oppenheimer is coming the same weekend. Nolan’s latest looks to be a bit more straightforward than Tenet, using a biography from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin to set up the stakes, personalities, political climate, and existential impact of the Manhattan Project. A massive cast and a subject perfect for Nolan’s blend metaphysical and highly-engineered filmmaking. Get ready for some heavy, awardsy stuff.
Release Date: August 11
Director: André Øvredal
One of a couple Dracula movies on the way, Last Voyage of the Demeter stands apart by adapting a single Bram Stoker chapter. A vampire on a merchant ship, told by a filmmaker whose best movie (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) is similarly sequestered to a single location? I’m all in. Add in a cast more suited for a season of The Terror—Liam Cunningham, Aisling Franciosi, Corey Hawkins—and the spindly monster actor that played The Slender Man and The Crooked Man (Javier Botet) as Dracula, and I’m ready for a nautical bad time.
Release Date: TBD
Director: Martin Scorsese
I’m so, so curious to see how Martin Scorsese pulls off this story of murder, racism, governmental oppression, the FBI, Indigenous mistreatment and land rights. Marty’s back with his regulars, bringing Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro into the fold, but it’s Lily Gladstone I’m most intrigued by in this movie. There’s plenty of potential for this David Grann adaptation to come off as a little thematically messy—especially considering how nuance can be constrained in a film’s narrative compared to the more expansive medium of prose—but it’s a fool’s errand to underestimate what Scorsese is capable of. We can only wait on the edge of our seats for his complex Western follow-up to The Irishman.
Reviewed by our Brianna Zigler out of New York Film Festival, the latest collaboration between Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams looks to be another low-key, droll tale of getting by in the Pacific Northwest. There’s a day job, an art show, a dysfunctional family. It’s bread-and-butter stuff for one of the best American filmmakers working today, and by all accounts, Reichardt knocks it out of the park. I’m personally excited not just for this proven actor-director relationship to flourish once again, but to see how Hong Chau fits into the mix, as a performer that’s going to get her due any moment now.
Jacob Oller is Movies Editor at Paste Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @jacoboller.
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