2023 Movies We Can’t Wait To See

2022 was the year Tom Cruise saved the movies. I kid, though the huge box-office returns for “Top Gun: Maverick” signaled that audiences had been craving a return to the movies, after the pandemic-related uncertainty of the past few years. This was especially true of blockbusters: Throughout 2022, moviegoers showed up in huge numbers for popcorn movies like “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” But movies that weren’t new installments of major franchises did not fare as well — with some exceptions, such as the breakout hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Increasingly, movies perceived as “smaller” (read: not based on existing IP and/or full of spectacle) are more likely to be made solely for streaming platforms.

2023 looks to be another year of Hollywood figuring out what’s next, particularly amid a looming economic recession. Despite this transitional state, there’s plenty of exciting fare coming soon, in whatever way audiences end up watching it. Here are 19 of the movies we on the HuffPost culture desk can’t wait to dive into.

Yes, it is yet another live action remake. And yes, there have been way too many racist reactions to a Black Ariel. But the much-anticipated “The Little Mermaid” will arrive in theaters in May and will set so many children’s hearts aflutter anew with Halle Bailey “under the sea” as Ariel. Also starring Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian and Awkwafina as Scuttle, the fantasy film has been in development for years and will feature new music. “The Little Mermaid” has long been one of my favorite Disney movies, and I hope this adaptation gives me all the good feels of the original. — Erin E. Evans

The ridiculous single-word title with a number lodged in the center of it should give you some clue that this movie will not be much interested in what makes literal sense. The titular doll, clearly inspired by an artificial intelligence nightmare, is not exactly like the horrifying Annabelle from “The Conjuring” movies, but it does come from the same studio: Blumhouse. A roboticist (Allison Williams) designs M3GAN to be a companion to humans and, just maybe, a comforting babysitter for her niece. But it looks like that backfires. Horrifically. — Candice Frederick

Margot Robbie as Barbie.

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It’s somewhat unusual to be getting so much intel about a movie that has yet to come out, so it’s inevitable we’re at least mildly curious about it. A live-action Barbie movie with such a stacked cast — Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken, and a slew of big names (Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, Issa Rae and Hari Nef) in supporting roles? Intriguing! As a Greta Gerwig enthusiast (“Frances Ha” remains, to me, one of the best movies about being in your 20s, and her 2019 adaptation of “Little Women” is an exquisite cozy winter tale), I’m cautiously optimistic this will match her previous films, despite its more, uh, potentially weird premise. At the very least, it will give us plenty to talk about. — Marina Fang

Keanu Reeves in "John Wick: Chapter 4."
Keanu Reeves in “John Wick: Chapter 4.”

“John Wick: Chapter 4”

It’s safe to say that as long as they keep making “John Wick” movies, folks will watch them. Not just because they’re there, but because they’re also really damn good. Morpheus, er, Laurence Fishburne will reprise his role as Bowery King, teaming up again with his “Matrix” co-star Keanu Reeves as the titular hit man, alongside Bill Skarsgård in a mysterious new role. In this fourth installment in the franchise, John Wick is back fighting the bad guys, fighting for his freedom and, apparently, fighting off some of those he thought were his friends. Can’t wait. — Frederick

Storm Reid in "Missing."

My immediate reaction to the trailer of “Missing” was a loud “hell, nah!” which actually means I need to see it right now. Starring Storm Reid, Nia Long and Ken Leung, the thriller is a stand-alone sequel to 2018’s “Searching” and follows Reid as she searches for her mother who goes missing on a trip to Colombia. I’m hoping the film is as engaging as its trailer, and, at the very least, I know these three actors will all turn in memorable performances. Can’t wait. — Evans

It’s always intriguing when a great actor decides to take the leap into directing. In this case, Randall Park is making his directorial debut with an adaptation of cartoonist Adrian Tomine’s graphic novel of the same name. I wasn’t previously familiar with the graphic novel, which Tomine adapted himself. But its premise sounds like the kind of movie I typically really enjoy: a contemporary slice-of-life comedy about someone figuring out what the hell is going on in their life. Justin H. Min (“After Yang”) stars as protagonist Ben, a struggling Bay Area filmmaker whose life is thrown into uncertainty when his girlfriend, Miko (Ally Maki), moves to New York for an internship. — Fang

Justin H. Min and Sherry Cola in "Shortcomings," the directorial debut of Randall Park.
Justin H. Min and Sherry Cola in “Shortcomings,” the directorial debut of Randall Park.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

“Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One”

There is very little plot information available for this seventh entry in the widely popular “Mission Impossible” spy thriller franchise. But you can probably bet there will be an extended running scene with Tom Cruise, lots of explosions, truly outrageous stunts and amazing use of the OG theme song. — Frederick

There’s no specific release date for “They Cloned Tyrone,” but ever since I saw this clip of the film’s stars (Teyonah Parris, John Boyega and Jamie Foxx), I’ve been ready to press play. Heading to Netflix at some point in 2023, the movie follows a trio looking into a government conspiracy. I’m ready. — Evans

Untitled Sandra Oh/Awkwafina road trip comedy

Not much is known about this movie, from veteran TV director Jessica Yu, whose name you’ve probably seen in the credits of many prestige shows of the last 20 years. But I mean, a road trip comedy starring Sandra Oh and Awkwafina as sisters cooking up some shenanigans? (Per Hulu, the plot of the movie, shot in New Orleans this summer, involves the pair trying to get money to cover their mom’s gambling debts by embarking on “a wild, cross-country trek” and Awkwafina’s character becoming “a bona-fide gameshow champion.”) Say no more. I will follow them to the ends of the earth. Whatever the movie ends up being, I will instantly click play when it hits Hulu sometime in 2023. — Fang

Untitled Adele Lim/Lionsgate comedy project

The directorial debut of “Crazy Rich Asians” co-screenwriter Adele Lim, this is another one of those movies that has been kept very under wraps. However, with its intriguing logline, stacked cast, and summer release date, all signs point to a potential hit. So far, all we know is that it follows four Asian American women on a trip to Asia, as one of them searches for their birth mother. Among the long list of notable names in the cast are “Everything Everywhere All at Once” breakout star Stephanie Hsu, “Emily in Paris” star Ashley Park, Desmond Chiam (“With Love,” “Partner Track”) and Alexander Hodge (aka the Asian bae of “Insecure”). So yeah, lots to look forward to. — Fang

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "You Hurt My Feelings," directed by Nicole Holofcener.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “You Hurt My Feelings,” directed by Nicole Holofcener.

Jeong Park/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

“You Hurt My Feelings”

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener rarely misses, so I’m excited about her new movie, “You Hurt My Feelings,” making its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Known for great, deeply observed dramedies, Holofcener is once again collaborating with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with whom she previously worked on the wonderful “Enough Said.” Alongside Louis-Dreyfus, playing a writer working on her next book, are Tobias Menzies (“The Crown,” “Outlander,” “This Way Up”) as her husband, Michaela Watkins as her sister and the always scene-stealing Arian Moayed (“Succession,” “Inventing Anna”) as her brother-in-law. — Fang

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow in "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes."
Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes”

It seems Hollywood has learned one of the more interesting ways to get folks interested in a franchise that has most certainly overstayed its welcome is to go back to before it all began with a prequel. Oh, and center the story on its chief villain — in this case, President Snow. This latest installment in the massively successful “Hunger Games” franchise promises to take us back to when he (now played by Tom Blyth) had actual human empathy, and a heart for an impoverished tribute (Rachel Zegler). Truthfully, the whole male capitalist and poverty-stricken girl romance trope should have properly faded out in the ’80s, but Hollywood seems stuck on this. What is most intriguing about “Ballad of Songbird and Snakes,” though, is that it could answer some lingering questions about the community of Panem and its identity before it all went left. — Frederick

I can’t get enough of “The Color Purple.” The original Steven Spielberg adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 novel is cinematic gold, with stellar performances across the board and quotable scenes that sit in the hearts of many. Its Broadway production, in its many iterations, is also iconic. (I saw it in 2015 with Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Danielle Brooks as Sofia and Jennifer Hudson as Shug, and it was incredible.) At the end of 2023, we can expect to see a whole new version of the film, with Fantasia returning as Celie, Colman Domingo as Mister, Taraji P. Henson as Shug, Corey Hawkins as Harpo and Brooks reprising her role as Sofia. It’s a star-studded cast, with many more big names attached, and will definitely draw crowds back to the theater for the 2023 holiday season. — Evans

“There’s Something Wrong With the Children”

This one sounds eerily similar to the great 2012 Mexican horror film “Here Comes the Devil.” But, this American version where a couple goes on a getaway with friends and their kids, who disappear for a bit only to return horrifyingly changed, is the premise that keeps on giving. — Frederick

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Killers of the FIower Moon," directed by Martin Scorsese.
Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Killers of the FIower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese.

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

This is director Martin Scorsese’s next Oscar bait epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which revisits the real-life murders of approximately 24 members of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma in the early 1920s. The crime drama has, unsurprisingly, attracted a lot of attention, particularly because this is a story that is centered on Native victims and is directed by a white man. Scorsese rarely disappoints, though, and far beyond DiCaprio’s reliable talent, I am most excited to see actual Native actors like Lily Gladstone and Tantoo Cardinal playing Native people. Fingers crossed this is good. — Frederick

Gael García Bernal in "Cassandro."
Gael García Bernal in “Cassandro.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Anything starring Gael García Bernal should spark immediate interest, to be honest. And him portraying Saúl Armendáriz, the real-life gay amateur wrestler from Texas who achieves fame and the moniker “The Liberace of Lucha Libre”? Sign me up. This is sure to be a fascinating story. — Frederick

Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun in "Cat Person."
Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun in “Cat Person.”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

It was only a matter of time before the screen rights for Kristen Roupenian’s viral New Yorker short story got snatched up. Directed by Susanna Fogel, this adaptation is another one of those movies where the cast automatically makes me take note: “CODA” star Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun (aka Cousin Greg from “Succession”) lead, along with Geraldine Viswanathan (“Blockers,” “Bad Education”), Fred Melamed, Hope Davis and the legendary Isabella Rossellini in supporting roles. — Fang

The Atlantic reporter Yasmin Tayag recently wrote about this film with the headline “Why?” and, yeah, why is this movie happening? Because it is. Who knows. Elizabeth Banks is in the director’s chair here with a ripped-from-the-headlines story about a giant bear that consumes a bunch of cocaine and starts attacking people. The chaotic trailer seems both hysterical and horrifying at the same time, but, judging by the backstory, there’s a lot more to it. Plus, it has an all-star cast including Keri Russell, Ray Liotta, Margo Martindale and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. So, it can’t be that bad, right? RIGHT?! — Frederick

I don’t have much to say about the third installment of “Creed” other than … did you see these images of Jonathan Majors on set? Who do I need to pay to be the person who oils this man up? Sign me up NOW. — Evans