CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Is 2023 the year we all go back to movie theaters?
For nearly three years, people have gotten used to watching movies from the comfort of their own couches. In response, Hollywood scaled back, cutting the number of theatrical releases by nearly half. Box office receipts were down more than 30 percent in 2022. Northeast Ohio has seen 10 movie theaters close since the start of the pandemic.
But with domestic earnings of nearly $650 million and counting, “Avatar: The Way of Water” proved there still is an appetite for the theatrical experience. That’s a good thing for distributors, exhibitors and the audience, too, as the 2023 movie calendar is full of big-budget spectacles, sequels and, yes, even some original fare, too.
Here are 50 of the most anticipated releases -- mostly theatrical but some streaming -- for the coming year. Premiere dates are subject to change.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Feb. 17)
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and their blended family are inadvertently sent to the quantum realm. It’s a strange subatomic world inhabited by interesting characters, weird creatures and Kang (Jonathan Majors), perhaps the greatest evil the multiverse has ever known but who may hold the key to bringing them home.
“Cocaine Bear” (Feb. 24)
The plot of this man v. beast movie is so crazy, it has to be true... and it is! The beast in this case is a 500-pound bear who goes on a rampage in a Georgia forest after ingesting a large amount of cocaine.
“Creed 3″ (Mar. 3)
Michael B. Jordan directs and stars in the latest chapter in the “Rocky” universe, the first without Sylvester Stallone. This time, Creed’s idyllic life is threatened by the return of an old rival (Jonathan Majors) looking for payback.
“Scream VI” (March 10)
The survivors of the latest Ghostface killings, including Melissa Barrera’s Sam and Jenna Ortega’s Tara, leave Woodsboro looking for a new start in New York City. But there’s no escaping their persistent tormentor.
“Champions” (March 10)
Woody Harrelson stars as a down-on-his-luck former minor league basketball coach ordered by a judge to lead a team of players with intellectual disabilities with hopes of reaching the Special Olympics.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (March 17)
The self-doubting Shazam (Zachary Levi) leads a rag-tag group of young superheroes against a dangerous new threat. Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren join the fun.
“65″ (March 17)
Adam Driver plays a pilot whose spaceship is hit by an asteroid, leaving him and another survivor (Ariana Greenblatt) on an uncharted planet inhabited by dinosaurs. Spoiler alert: it’s Earth!
“John Wick: Chapter 4″ (March 24)
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds a path to defeating the High Table and gaining his freedom, but must first face a new enemy and a few old friends.
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Mar. 31)
The classic roleplaying game comes to life as Chris Pine, Regé-Jean Page and Michelle Rodriguez play thieves who inadvertently steal an ancient relic for the wrong person, unleashing the greatest evil the world has ever known.
“AIR” (Apr. 5)
Ben Affleck directs and stars as Nike co-president Phil Knight in this historical sports drama about the company’s game-changing partnership with a Chicago Bulls rookie named Michael Jordan. Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman and Marlon Wayans also star.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Apr. 7)
The studio behind “Minions” brings your favorite Nintendo characters to the big screen as Mario (Chris Pratt), Luigi (Charlie Day) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach) team up to stop Bowser’s (Jack Black) evil plan.
“Renfield” (April 14)
Nicholas Hoult stars as Renfield, the loyal servant of Dracula (Nicolas Cage), who longs to leave his toxic working environment and embark on a life of his own.
“Evil Dead Rise” (Apr. 21)
Sam Raimi’s horror franchise is resurrected again with Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland as estranged sisters whose reunion is interrupted by flesh-possessing demons.
“The Covenant” (Apr. 21)
Guy Ritchie writes and directs Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim in a war drama-thriller about an Army sergeant who defies authorities to go back behind enemy lines and rescue the interpreter who saved his life.
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (Apr. 28)
Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates and Abby Ryder Fortson star in this adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic coming-of-age story about an 11-year-old girl who moves from the big city to the suburbs amid the challenges of puberty.
“Big George Foreman” (Apr. 28)
Khris Davis and Forest Whitaker star in the inspiring and true comeback story of George Foreman’s journey to becoming the oldest World Heavyweight Boxing Champion ever at age 45.
“Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3″ (May 5)
In their first standalone film since 2017, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) leads the Guardians on their most dangerous mission yet. Will Poulter joins the cast as the villainous Adam Warlock.
“The Mother” (May 12 on Netflix)
Jennifer Lopez plays a deadly assassin who comes out of hiding to protect her estranged daughter on the run from dangerous men.
“Fast X” (May 19)
The ride-or-die franchise’s 10th and penultimate episode introduces an unseen antagonist from “Fast Five” as Jason Momoa’s Dante Reyes seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his chosen family. Brie Larson and Rita Moreno join the cast while just about everybody from the previous installment return, too.
“White Men Can’t Jump” (May 19 on Hulu)
Hip-hop star Jack Harlow makes his feature film starring debut opposite Sinqua Walls as a pair of hardcourt hustlers in this remake of the Woody Harrelson-Wesley Snipes sports comedy classic.
“The Little Mermaid” (May 26)
Halle Bailey is Ariel in the live-action version of the Disney animated classic about a mermaid under the sea who longs to be part of our world. Daveed Diggs provides the voice of Sebastian while Jonah Hauer-King plays Prince Eric.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” (Tentative May release on Apple TV+)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro team up again with writer-director Martin Scorsese for this story about a serial killer targeting members of the oil-rich Osage Nation.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Jun. 2)
Miles Morales is thrown into an exciting and treacherous adventure with other Spidey people fighting a new threat across the multiverse. But what happens when the superheroes can’t agree on how to handle the situation?
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” (Jun. 9)
Cleveland native Steven Caple Jr. directs the seventh film in the “Transformer” series. Set in the 1990s, this chapter finds Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback caught in the middle of a battle between the Maximals and the Predacons, robots that take the form of animals instead of cars and trucks.
“Strays” (Jun. 9)
Will Ferell provides the voice of Reggie, a cuddly, trusting Border Terrier who suddenly realizes his person is a big jerk. So, he teams up with a new pack of furry friends (voices of Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher and Randall Park) to exact revenge on the worst dog owner in the world in this R-rated comedy.
“The Flash” (Jun. 16)
This oft-delayed and controversy-filled DC project finally hits theaters this summer. The “Back to the Future Part II”-type plot has Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen (aka The Flash) traveling to the past to save his Mom only to end up in an alternate timeline. Can he convince Michael Keaton’s Batman to help him return the universe back to normal and save the world from Michael Shannon’s General Zod from “Man of Steel”?
“Elemental” (June 16)
Pixar’s 27th feature film is set in Element City, where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. This story focuses on a fiery woman and a go-with-the-flow guy who discover they have more in common than meets the eye.
“Extraction 2″ (Jun. 16 on Netflix)
Cleveland natives Joe and Anthony Russo reunite with star Chris Hemsworth in this sequel, which the brothers produced and Joe wrote. Hemsworth once again plays a black ops mercenary, this time tasked with rescuing the battered family of a ruthless Georgian gangster being held as hostages. Expect more non-stop, over-the-top action.
“Joy Ride” (Jun. 23)
“Crazy Rich Asians” screenwriter Adele Lim makes her directorial debut in this comedy about four unlikely friends who embark on an international adventure of self-discovery, friendship and wild debauchery.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Jun. 30)
Harrison Ford returns for a fifth time as the fedora-wearing, whip-cracking, snake-fearing archaeologist sent on an all-new adventure in 1969. Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Antonio Banderas join the cast while director James Mangold takes over for Steven Spielberg.
“Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One” (July 14)
Get ready for some more crazy stunts as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team of IMF agents return for another globe-trotting, death-defying mission.
“Oppenheimer” (Jul. 21)
Director Christopher Nolan directs this biographical drama about Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the brilliant physicist who developed the atomic bomb. The all-star cast includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh and Ramy Malek.
“Barbie” (Jul. 21)
Writer-director Greta Gerwig brings Barbie (Margot Robbie) to life in all her technicolor glory in this highly anticipated film that also stars Ryan Gosling as Ken. Co-written by Noah Baumbach, the story focuses on a misfit Barbie exiled from Barbieland for being different.
“The Marvels” (Jul. 28)
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) returns to the big screen, this time joined by two stars of the Marvel Television Universe: Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) from “WandaVision” and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) from “Ms. Marvel.”
“The Meg 2″ (Aug. 4)
Jason Statham is back in this long-awaited sequel as a former naval captain who battles a ginormous Megalodon shark.
“Blue Beetle” (Aug. 18)
This DCEU film tells the origin story of how recent college grad Jaime Reyes (”Cobra Kai” star Xolo Mariduena) comes to possess body armor that transforms him into the Blue Beetle, a new crime-fighting hero with supernatural powers.
“The Nun 2″ (Sept. 8)
The ninth film in “The Conjuring” universe follows Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to France where a priest is murdered and she comes face-to-face again with the demon nun Valak (Bonnie Aarons). Storm Reid joins the cast.
“Next Goal Wins” (Sept. 22)
Taiki Waititi directs this underdog comedy based on the true story of a down-on-his-luck coach (Michael Fassbender) hired to get the American Samoa soccer team, best remembered for a 31-0 loss in 2001, ready for the World Cup Qualifiers.
“Kraven the Hunter” (Oct. 6)
Sony continues to build out its Spider-Man Universe by introducing another one of Spidey’s foes from the comics. This time, Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Kraven the Hunter, the best big-game hunter in the world.
“Pain Hustlers” (Oct. 27 on Netflix)
Emily Blunt and Chris Evans star in this drama about a blue-collar woman hired by a failing pharmaceutical start-up, where she gets involved in a dangerous racketeering scheme.
“Dune: Part Two” (Nov. 3)
This sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic continues the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chamalet) as he unites with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen, seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family and trying to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.
“The Killer” (Nov. 10 on Netflix)
The latest from director David Fincher is described as a brutal, bloody and stylish noir story of a professional assassin slowly losing his mind who goes on an international manhunt he insists isn’t personal, but probably is.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Nov. 17)
It’s back to Panem in this prequel set decades before Katniss Everdeen. This time, the focus is on future president Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as a teenager when he’s paired with a tribute from the impoverished District 12 named Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) for the 10th annual Hunger Games. But will the odds be ever in their favor?
“Wish” (Nov. 22)
The latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios focuses on Asha (Ariana DeBose), who makes a wish upon a star in a desperate act to save her community. Together, they face incredible odds against formidable foes, discovering the power of courage and cosmic magic along the way.
“Leave the World Behind” (Dec. 8 on Netflix)
Julia Roberts, Mahershela Ali, Ethan Hawke and Myha’la Herrold star in this psychological thriller about a pair of families who must band together after a blackout disrupts their Long Island vacations.
“Wonka” (Dec. 15)
Timothée Chalamet becomes the third actor to play Roald Dahl’s eccentric chocolate maker. This version is a prequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” focusing on Willy Wonka’s younger years before he opened the world’s most famous chocolate factory.
“The Color Purple” (Dec. 20)
This adaptation of Alice Walker’s classic novel is based on the Tony-winning musical, not Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1985 film. The story follows a young Black woman (Fantasia Barrino) as she attempts to overcome adversity in the American South. The cast includes H.E.R., Ciara, Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins and Halle Bailey.
Untitled “Ghostbusters” sequel (Dec. 20)
The fifth film in the “Ghostbusters” franchise is said to pick up after the events depicted in 2021′s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” with the Ecto-1 back at the original Ghostbusters firehouse in New York City.
“Rebel Moon” (Dec. 22 on Netflix)
Inspired by his love for Akira Kurosawa and “Star Wars” films, Zack Snyder’s sci-fi epic focuses on a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy facing a dangerous new threat. Their only hope is a young woman with a mysterious past sent on a mission to find warriors on neighboring planets to help them fight back.
“Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom” (Dec. 25)
Jason Momoa returns to the big screen in his second solo outing, reluctantly forming an alliance with an unlikely ally in the name of protecting Atlantis and the rest of the world from irreversible devastation.
If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.