The best upcoming movies of 2023 (according to Stuff)
Includes Spider-people, ageing adventures and killer bears - of both the grizzly and Winnie variety
Last year may have brought us Elvis, multiverse madness in Everything Everywhere All at Once, a truly wild friendship in The Banshees of Inisherin and the phenomenon of ‘it’s Morbin’ time’. That’s not a patch on what we have to look forward to this year, though. So you need our guide to the best upcoming movies coming to movie theaters and streaming services near you.
From killer bears (both of the grizzly and Winnie variety) and a plastic doll to a chocolatier origin story, here are the biggest movies of 2023 (according to us, at least).
Additional copy by Esat Dedezade
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey
One of the most…let’s say, creative repercussions of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh entering the public domain in 2022 comes in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, a gruesome slasher flick that will likely alter the perception of this silly old bear.
In Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, Christopher Robin returns to the 100 Acre Wood after leaving Pooh, Piglet and the gang for University five years prior. In that time, without a young Robin there to quell their inherent primal rage, the bear and his animal friends succumbed to their murderous urges and plotted revenge against the boy who left them. Yes, it’s likely going to be a bonkers, low budget affair, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit to being incredibly intrigued to see how this alternate history of Winnie the Pooh plays out.
Release date: 15 February (US), 10 March (UK)
Winnie the Pooh isn’t the only bear going wild in 2023, but on this occasion, Cocaine Bear is, inexplicably, inspired by a true story. In 1985, an American black bear ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine. The results were, as you’d expect, not ideal. The bear died pretty quickly after, and its stuffed body is now a tourist attraction in Lexington, Kentucky (honestly, it really is).
Inspired by this event, the aptly-named Cocaine Bear looks to re-tell this rather odd tale with all the flamboyance and artistic liberty you’d expect from a Hollywood blockbuster budget. Expect action, jump scares, and one very, very energetic bear.
Release date: 24 Feb
John Wick: Chapter 4
John Wick really can’t catch a break. He’s had dog troubles, has been excommunicated by his mates and generally doesn’t seem to be able to catch five minutes before trouble catches up with him. If you’ve seen any of the previous instalments you probably know what to expect with John Wick: Chapter 4. Wick is a wanted man, and must fight for his freedom. So goes the formula. But some absolutely killer fight scenes and performances that hit a sweet spot between serious and cheesy make John Wick: Chapter 4 a must-see.
Release date: 24 March
2023 may be the year of the actually good video game adaptation. We’ve had The Last of Us, will soon get The Super Mario Bros., and now we have a sneak peek at the forthcoming Tetris. We didn’t quite know what to expect from a big screen Tetris tale. Would the blocks actually be aliens, a la the Rihanna starring Battleship (based on the board game, but still)? Will it ultimately be as bad as Pixel? We hoped not, but we certainly didn’t expect Tetris to be a Cold War era story of espionage, greed and spies.
Starring Taron Egerton, Tetris tells the based on true (but stranger than fiction) events of how the game of falling blocks took over the world, via the birth of the Nintendo Game Boy, the KGB and a legal battle against the Soviet Union.
Release date: 31st March
Can you believe it’s been 22 years since Vin Diesel and co. first graced our screens with their testosterone-fuelled, high-speed shenanigans? Did you ever think we’d reach 10 instalments? We certainly didn’t. And yet, here we are, in 2023, with Fast X (aka, Fast & Furious 10), about to blast our senses with more… car stuff.
Oscar-worthy? Probably not. But there’s nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned, high-octane action to help forget about the stress of the real world, if only for a short time.
Release date: 19 May
Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse
‘Do we really need another Spider-man?’ many groaned when it was announced that the webslinger would be getting an animated outing in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. When we entered the Spider-Verse, though, we were given a dazzling, kaleidoscopic marvel of an animated film that breathed new life into a sometimes tiring genre.
Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse once again follows the exploits of a young Miles Morales and his travels to defeat a multiverses worth of villainous being. Expect jaw-dropping animation and the voice acting talents of Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae and many more grade A talents.
Release date: 2 June
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford returns for the *checks notes* fifth instalment in the Indiana Jones franchise, complete with AI-powered, face-youthening magic so that he precisely resembles his 80s self.
Taking place in 1969, the film is set against the space race, while Jones tries to battle the re-emergence of Nazism. The opening sequence takes place in 1944, hence that de-ageing tech. We’ve got high hopes for realistic results too, given the decades of footage available to help train the AI system to do its thing.
Release date: 30 June
Cinema can truly change the world, and few times has that statement been truer than with the news that Barbie will be getting her big screen outing in 2023. The world was momentarily unified in joy at the sight of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerskating in Barbie attire down Venice Beach. When the first trailer dropped, pretty much a shot-for-shot recreation of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s famous ‘Dawn of Man’ scene, we collectively cried tears of joy. Will Barbie prove to be everything we’ve ever wanted?
Probably not, but it’ll likely be a whole lot of fun. Directed by Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird), written by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) and starring Robbie, Gosling, the new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa and Will Ferrell as the Mattel CEO, Barbie looks set to be a gloriously self-aware romp and everything we’ve always wanted.
Release date: 21 July
Christopher Nolan is renowned for shunning CGI in favour of practical effects. He crashed a real Boeing 747 in Tenet, flipped a real truck in The Dark Knight and created a revolving hallway for Inception. Such is Nolan’s dedication to his craft, fans joked that Nolan would film a real life atomic blast for the forthcoming biopic Oppenheimer. Turns out, that’s what the Dunkirk director sorta did, somehow recreating a nuclear explosion without the use of CGI.
We’ll have to wait until July to see what that looks like on the big screen. But health and safety flaunting stunts aside, Oppenheimer follows the life of physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb and destroyer of worlds. With a stellar cast, including Cillian Murphy portraying the director of the Manhattan Project, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon, and the best visual effects in the business, Oppenheimer is already set to be one of the biggest spectacles of the summer.
Release date: 21 July
Dune: Part Two
The sequel to the critically-acclaimed fantasy blockbuster Dune continues the story of one of the most iconic Sci-Fi novels of all time, driven by a star-studded cast including the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, and more. Expect more zany fashion, plenty of sand, giant worms, and, of course, an attempt to save the fate of the known universe itself. No pressure.
Release date: 3 November
The gritty origin story trope hit new levels of absurd when it was announced that Wonka would be hitting cinemas in 2023. Will Wonka turn out to be a ridiculed comedian, a la Joker? Or is he more of a Batman-like figure, a tortured soul who forges a chocolate empire after [insert harrowing adolescent experience here]? But after the original announcement came intrigue. Who is the real Willy Wonka? How did he build his fortune? And how many people did he dispose of by cramming them into chocolate tubes or feeding them poisoned blueberries?
We’ll have to wait to hear the answers to those questions. But given how this big budget musical includes a cast of Timothée Chalamet as the young chocolatier, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman and Sally Hawkins, Wonka is primed to be an origin story of grand proportions.
We don’t have a trailer for Wonka just yet, but we’ll be sure to update this article when that changes. For now, enjoy a Gene Wilder sing-along.
Release date: 15 December
When Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix last joined forces on the big screen, we got the Roman epic that was Gladiator. This time around, Scott and Phoenix are telling an arguably even grander story. That of the French war commander and incorrectly labelled ‘short man’, Napoleon.
Napoleon will focus on the political leader’s early years to his rise to power as one of history’s most prominent figures. Few specific details are known about Napoleon at this moment, but the film is set to be released on Apple TV+ some time in 2023. Once again, there isn’t a trailer or poster for Napoleon just yet, so we hope the above iconic scene will suffice for now.
Release date: 2023