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23 films to look out for in 2023, from Barbie and Wonka to Dune and M3GAN

Yes, there’s a new Indiana Jones. But, more importantly, 2023 promises brand new work by Greta Gerwig, Martin Scorsese and Ari Aster, plus killer dolls, wedding heists, fake girlfriends and the grand return of Michael Fassbender. Jacob Stolworthy and Adam White have surveyed next year’s line-up

Thursday 29 December 2022 06:30 GMT
Your new favourite movies: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’, ‘M3GAN’, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ and ‘Barbie’
Your new favourite movies: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’, ‘M3GAN’, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ and ‘Barbie’ (Sony/Paramount/Apple/Warner Bros/iStock)

It might be easy to moan about Hollywood’s lack of originality, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of praising the hard work and creativity that does exist.

As 2023 arrives, many will be looking ahead to the follow-ups and standard blockbuster fare set to be dropped throughout the year. There’s a new Ant-Man film, another Transformers adventure and, should you be interested, a Shazam! sequel.

But there are other films that will undoubtedly come along to take you (and us) by surprise – inventive horrors, like Smile, that will battle with the big hitters at the box office, absurdist adventures, like Everything Everywhere All at Once, that become word-of-mouth sensations, and festival breakouts, like Aftersun, that make audiences everywhere collectively sob their hearts out.

Below are our 23 picks for 2023, a list that offers a variety of choice among the many new outings coming our way in the new year – which excitingly includes new films from Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan.


The most exciting plastic movie star of 2023 who isn’t Barbie, M3GAN – a murderous cyborg companion to a little girl – has already become a gay icon based on little but a trailer for her self-titled movie. Watch it and it all makes sense. In just under three minutes, M3GAN rips off a pair of designer sunglasses like she’s Naomi Campbell, takes out her enemies with a nail gun, serves intricate dance choreography down a corridor, and terrorises Marnie from Girls (government name: Allison Williams). This has future camp classic written all over it. (13 January)


With Whiplash, La La Land and First Man under his belt, Damien Chazelle has fast become a filmmaker to be excited about. The youngest Best Director winner in Oscar history is releasing his next film early in 2023 and, according to the reviews, it’s a wildly divisive Hollywood epic. Sign us up. Margot Robbie, Diego Calva and Brad Pitt lead the cast. (20 January)

Blue Jean

An evocative indie about sexuality and secrecy in Thatcher-era Newcastle, Blue Jean anoints two powerful new voices in film: writer-director Georgia Oakley and sensational newcomer Rosy McEwen. McEwen plays a PE teacher whose closed-up private life is threatened by the arrival of a student making her own hesitant steps out of the closet. (10 February)

Women Talking

Sarah Polley’s moving adaptation of Miriam Toews’s novel is centred on female members of an isolated religious community who are undecided over whether they should break free from the constraints of the brutal, restricted world they’re stuck in. The nuances surrounding each character’s motivation are brilliantly scripted by Polley and Towes, whose words are delivered by Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley and Claire Foy, to name but a few, all of whom are on astonishing form. (10 February)

Luther: The Fallen Sun

Luther creator Neil Cross promised fans he was working on a film based on the Idris Elba-starring series, which earned a cult fanbase after premiering on BBC One in 2010. Fair play, then, because he’s gone ahead and written one, with Elba returning as the grizzled detective. It would have been fun to see the character taking on a sadistic killer on the big screen – especially considering the case he’s working on will transport him from the streets of London to a snowy mountain range – but the film will be released on Netflix, alas. (March)

Idris Elba in ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ (Netflix)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

For yet another piece of Hollywood intellectual property mining, the Dungeons & Dragons movie – blissfully unrelated to the one from 2000 with Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch and rivers of palpable regret – actually looks quite fun. This is primarily down to its cast, with the eternally dependable Chris Pine on hero duties, Hugh Grant hamming it up as a villain, and Michelle Rodriguez punching things elsewhere. (3 April)

Polite Society

One of the more intriguing comedies in 2023 is this British action movie from Nida Manzoor, the creator of the gloriously anarchic Channel 4 series We Are Lady Parts. Polite Society revolves around Priya Kansara’s Ria, a martial arts expert and aspiring stuntwoman who plots to kidnap her older sister from her own wedding. The film is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January and could be the sleeper hit of the spring. (7 April)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

This Judy Blume novel is something of a sacred text for preteens in the United States, revolving around a young girl struggling through puberty and asking the big questions about life and faith for the very first time. Excitingly, the film adaptation is director Kelly Fremon Craig’s follow-up to her wonderfully compassionate 2016 coming-of-age comedy TheEdge of Seventeen, so will inevitably be just as touching. Rachel McAdams and Uncut Gems co-director turned actual movie star Benny Safdie are the parents of the film. (April)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

While there was a fair bit of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, nobody could have anticipated it being quite as good as it was. A load of glowing reviews and one Oscar later, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) will return for another universe-hopping adventure. This time, Oscar Isaac is along for the ride, although in what capacity we don’t know. Sorry to Tom Holland, but this is the coolest Spider-Man franchise currently in existence. (2 June)

No Hard Feelings

Comedy heads will be aware that Bad Teacher and Good Boys were among the best studio comedies of the 2010s, brimming with warmth, silliness and d*** jokes. Gene Stupnitsky, the writer of both movies, is back next year with this high-concept laugher that feels ripped from the same playbook. Jennifer Lawrence plays a directionless slacker hired by a wealthy couple to pretend to be their nerdy son’s girlfriend just as he starts college. Warmth, silliness and d*** jokes will inevitably ensue. And JLaw’s in a comedy! Finally! (23 June)

Asteroid City

At this stage, you know what you’re going to get with a Wes Anderson film. However, Asteroid City, a 1950s-set spectacle centred on a Junior Stargazer convention in a desert American town, is said to be the director’s most ambitious yet. One look at the cast, and it certainly seems so: Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Steve Carell, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Maya Hawke, Jarvis Cocker, Jeffrey Wright. And breathe. (June)


If you go by the internet, Barbie is the most hyped film of 2023. Initially, the sheer randomness of the attached names piqued the interest of practically anyone who saw it was being made. Greta Gerwig directs from a script she co-wrote with husband Noah Baumbach. Then the clips of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, in character as Barbie and Ken, began doing the rounds. Whether the film can live up to the hype, which Robbie herself has expressed surprise over, remains to be seen. (21 July)

Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt in ‘Oppenheimer’ (Universal Pictures)


In the biggest box office war of 2023, Christopher Nolan’s new wartime drama will take on Barbie. To combat the internet hype surrounding the latter, Universal Pictures kicked off the promotional campaign for Oppenheimer this summer, with countdown clocks popping up in cities around the world. Cillian Murphy plays the atomic bomb creator in what looks to be a high-brow addition to Nolan’s scintillating filmography and, at the very least, more straightforward than the underrated Tenet. (21 July)

Next Goal Wins

Taika Waititi has become something of a marmite figure in recent years, with Jojo Rabbit and his Thor sequels delighting and frustrating audiences in equal measure. But there’s no denying that his next film has a lot going for it. First, it’s an adaptation of one of the most heartwarming documentaries of the century. Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s film of the same name charts the national football team of American Samoa, considered one of the world’s weakest teams, as they attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup under the guidance of coach Thomas Rongen. He’ll be played in the film by Michael Fassbender. (September)

Dune: Part 2

Next year will, obviously, bring a deluge of sequels to everything from Magic Mike and Creed to Guardians of the Galaxy and Indiana Jones. But sitting at the top of the heap is surely Dune: Part 2, which will arrive just two years after the first. Denis Villeneuve has wrapped production on the follow-up, which will see Florence Pugh and Elvis’s Austin Butler join returning star Timothée Chalamet. And, this time around, Zendaya will actually have something to do. (3 November)


No one was exactly asking for a Willy Wonka origin movie, but Warner Bros just couldn’t help but wear us down. First it was announced as a musical. Then Timothée Chalamet jumped on board to star. Then Paul King signed up to direct, making Wonka his follow-up to the back-to-back classics that were Paddington and Paddington 2. Inexplicably, Wonka is now one of the most exciting movies of 2023. Who would have thought? (15 December)

Beau Is Afraid

The intriguing teaser poster for ‘Beau Is Afraid’ (A24)

The new title of Ari Aster’s third film was recently unveiled by A24. But why the change? Perhaps because its original name – Disappointment Boulevard – was too ironic. After all, the 36-year-old’s career has been anything but disappointing. Not only did he burst onto the scene with Hereditary, one of the most striking debuts in recent years, he followed it up with sunlight-strewn festival horror Midsommar. Not much is known about this new one, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, save for the fact it’s a comedy horror focused on “one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time”. Oh, and the fact it might be four hours long. (TBC)

Civil War

Yes, the squeamish Jessie Buckley/Rory Kinnear thriller Men had about four fans this year, but its director Alex Garland remains one of our greatest talents – someone whose work (Ex Machina, Annihilation) will always start a conversation regardless of where you stand on it. Next year he’s back with Civil War, an apocalyptic action film headlined by the always brilliant Kirsten Dunst. The logline remains under wraps, but who cares? We’re there. (TBC)

Killers of the Flower Moon

Four years after The Irishman (four!), Martin Scorsese will return with his adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon. It follows a 1920s FBI investigation into a string of murders that plagued the Osage Indian tribe in Oklahoma after oil was found on their land, and will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Scorsese newbies Lily Gladstone and Jesse Plemons. It’ll be released on Apple TV Plus following what looks to be a premiere at Cannes Film Festival. (TBC)

The Kitchen

Set in a dystopian London, The Kitchen explores “a future where the gap between rich and poor has been stretched to its limits”. Written by Daniel Kaluuya and Joe Murtagh, the film follows Izi (Kaine Robinson aka rapper Kano), a resident of the self-titled village that’s filled with working class residents who refused to move into temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city. Newcomer Jedaiah Bannerman will play Izi’s 12-year-old son in the Netflix drama from director Kibwe Tavares. (TBC)

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding marks Rose Glass’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to her gritty chiller Saint Maud from 2020. Here the horror sounds more earthbound, with Katy O’Brian and Kristen Stewart playing a body-building couple whose relationship – according to the press notes – is “fuelled by ego, desire and the American dream”! Expect steroid addiction, physical transformation and psychological thrills along the way. And us, with popcorn, watching intently. (TBC)


Production wrapped on Ridley Scott’s Napoleon in May, and early word is that it’s a “masterpiece”. Joaquin Phoenix plays the French Emperor in a historical epic that will chart his rise to power, while also documenting the tumultuous relationship with his wife Empress Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby). (TBC)

Poor Things

Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos reunites with Emma Stone four years after The Favourite for this similarly genre-bending historical tale. Based on a novel by Scottish author Alasdair Gray, it stars Stone as a woman whose brain is replaced by that of her unborn child. Presumably a dark, dark comedy, Poor Things also surrounds Stone with an eclectic cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef and Margaret Qualley. (TBC)

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