The Most Anticipated Movies of 2023

Ben Friedman


For the first time since the pandemic, 2022 seemed like a normal year for seeing movies at the theater. Despite the dominance of streaming during the heights of the pandemic, as well as a streaming title winning the coveted Academy Award for Best Picture, 2022 showcased a gradual rejection of the streaming takeover narrative.


2022 marked a growing return of audiences to theaters. The financial success of films such as Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Avatar: The Way of Water are positive signs that theaters can continue to find success in the age of streaming. Whether this means theaters are in resurgence or merely a last hurrah before streaming fully consumes the film industry, we must wait and see.


If the release schedule for 2023 is any indication, this year will continue to see the theatrical experience battling it out with streaming services. These movies are not only representative of Hollywood’s current fascinations, but also offers insight into the talent film studios want to align with.


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Admittedly, I did everything in my power to keep the fifth installment within the Indiana Jones franchise off my list. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull left a sour taste in many people’s mouths and with the announcement of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas not returning, I struggled to feign excitement. Despite a talented cast including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas and helmed by Logan director James Mangold, the idea of Harrison Ford being Indiana Jones at the age of 80 seemed odd.


Yet, upon witnessing the first trailer, hearing John Williams’s iconic score while seeing Ford dawn the hat once more, the emotions began to swell up. No matter what the reception may be when all said and done, I will get to spend two more hours with Harrison Ford as one of his most iconic screen characters, and for that thought alone, I cannot hide my excitement despite some major trepidations.




In terms of Scream queens, no recent icon has captivated and scared audiences quite like Mia Goth. Going into last year, Goth’s only film scheduled for release was Ti West’s X, a slasher film released by A24. Yet, when the film ended, audiences were rewarded with a surprise trailer of a prequel entitled Pearl, which would also stars Goth and was scheduled to release six months later. Once again, Goth reunites with West in MaXXXine, a sequel to both Pearl and X.


In terms of breakout stars, Goth cemented her legacy amongst horror fans. Set in the 1980s Goth reprises her character Maxine from X as she makes her move to Hollywood in order to become an actress. If Goth and West’s previous collaborations are any indication, MaXXXine will be a bloody good time full of scares and a lot of laughs.


Creed III

Michael B. Jordan has a lot to prove with Creed III. After successfully rebooting the Rocky franchise in 2015 alongside Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan now finds himself in the director’s chair. Creed III will be the first film within the franchise to not include Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa.


Whereas Stallone once received the creative freedom to shape the franchise, now Michael B. Jordan receives that same opportunity. In directing Creed III, Jordan gets to prove his skills behind the camera. Co-starring alongside Jordan is Jonathan Majors who in the span of one month will star in Creed III, Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantomania and make his Sundance return with Magazine Dream. Paring these two actors together and the results may very well be charisma overload.




The idea of a movie based around the toy line sounded like the ultimate cash grab. Yet, upon announcing Ladybird director Greta Gerwig to direct and co-write the film with her partner Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), my intrigue grew. The announcement of Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, and Michael Cera as stars turned my cynicism into optimism.


The trailer set to Also Sprach Zarathustra pays direct homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, highlighting the tongue-in-cheek humor Gerwig brings to the property. Accompanied by lavish costuming, impressive set designs, and dance montages, Barbie looks to achieve something wholly unique.  Hopefully, the film shares more in common with The Lego: Movie rather than G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.



Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix once again reunite for a historical epic. Except, instead of gladiators they jump forward in time to the French Revolution. Napoleon examines Bonaparte’s rise to power through the lens of his tumultuous relationship with Empress Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). In describing the film to Deadline, director Ridley Scott said what interested him in Napoleon’s rise to power was his constant need to impress his adulterous wife. He states, “He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn’t, he conquered it to destroy her, and destroyed himself in the process.”


Apple acquired the film in 2021. Tatiana Siegel for The Ankler reported in September 2022 that Apple considered moving up the release of Napoleon, so as to compete at the 95th Academy Awards. While Apple ultimately decided to move forward with the Will Smith-led film, Emancipation, the company’s eagerness to release in time for Oscars voting season suggests they believe in Scott’s vision. Given the talent involved as well as Phoenix’s recent track record, it is easy to see where those beliefs stem from.



The Killer

The only reason David Fincher’s The Killer is not higher on this list is that at this moment no one knows anything about the project, except that it is being released by Netflix, stars Michael Fassbender, and reunites Fincher with his Se7en writer Andrew Kevin Walker. Yet, those three factoids alone should be enough to get any audience excited to see Fincher’s latest thriller.


Netflix’s domination in the streaming race began largely with House of Cards, which was produced by Fincher. Since then, Netflix has made Fincher a staple filmmaker for the company, financing and distributing both his latest projects, Mindhunter and Mank. Now, Fincher returns to his serial killer roots and brings alongside him Fassbender, an extremely talented actor who has struggled to get quality parts as of late. With any luck, The Killer will be a welcome return to the murder-mystery genre that garnered him such renown early in his career.


Dune: Part II

Upon first viewing Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, I found myself to be overwhelmed by the pure spectacle and scale, yet found the plot to be completely incomprehensible. However, upon rewatch, I find myself more and more taken by the universe Villeneuve creates. With every viewing, it grows in my estimation and has quickly become one of my favorite science-fiction films of the 21st century.


Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Christopher Walken, and Lea Seydoux all join the already large ensemble. With every passing movie, Villeneuve’s technical craft widens. Dune: Part II will be the director’s 11th feature film. If this film can reach the same epic proportions as its Oscar-winning predecessor, audiences are in for an experience like no other.



Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The sequel to one of the most beloved superhero films releases in 2023. Originally slated for a 2022 release, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse experienced an eight-month delay. While unknown exactly what triggered the delay, reports suggest the complex production and animation have been no easy task. The sequel to the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man film is slated to utilize six different animation styles, as well as feature 240-plus spider-people appearing throughout.


The complexities of the production indicate a sequel that is truly expansive in every way possible. Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, and Jason Schwartzman join the already large ensemble cast with Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, and Jake Johnson all reprising their roles.


Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese is making a crime film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Dare I need to add anything else? Based on David Grann’s popular novel, the story follows the FBI investigating the suspicious murders of members of the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma. Rounding out the cast includes Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser.


Scorsese is 80 years old. We cannot take any of his releases for granted. Despite voicing reservations about the streaming model, Scorsese has found a great deal of creative freedom in streaming companies. The Irishman proved a huge success for Netflix, garnering numerous accolades. Apple is hoping to replicate that level of success with Killers of the Flower Moon. Given the pedigree in front and behind the camera, Apple will likely push this as a major award contender.




Any time Christopher Nolan makes a movie, it automatically becomes an event worthy of great anticipation. Oppenheimer follows physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.  In typical Nolan fashion, the scale of film promises something beyond imaginable.


Yet, despite the visual spectacle that Nolan is well-known for, Oppenheimer’s most intriguing element is its cast, which is a who’s who of famous and talented actors. Starring alongside Cillian Murphy includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck, Alex Wolff, Gary Oldman, and Alden Ehrenreich, just to name a few. 


Author Bio:

Ben Friedman is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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