Your Guide to the Biggest 2023 Movie Releases, Part 1

By Melody McCune

New year, new movies to add to our watch roster. This year is easily one of the biggest years yet for Hollywood, boasting everything from supernatural indies and stylized horror to comic book tentpoles and summer blockbusters. If you’re like me and you need a comprehensive guide to the big flicks of 2023, you’re in luck. That’s exactly what this article is!

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the major cinematic players of 2023 from January to May. Because there are tons of films hitting theaters, I’ve split this piece into two parts. Be sure to stick around for Part 2.


January

Distant (Jan. 27)

Remember when this one was supposed to release last year? In the Land of Movie Delays and Schedule Reshuffles, anything can happen. Distant tells the story of Andy Ramirez (Anthony Ramos), an asteroid miner whose spaceship crash lands on an alien planet. Despite losing oxygen, Andy treks across uncharted terrain to rescue fellow crewmember Naomi Calloway (Naomi Scott), who’s trapped inside her escape pod. Zachary Quinto also stars as the voice of Andy’s AI suit.

Brace yourself for a tale of survival in a strange land when Distant, billed as a sci-fi comedy, crashes into theaters on January 27.


February

Knock at the Cabin (Feb. 3)

Get ready for that Shyamalan twist! The storied master of psychological thrillers is back with Knock at the Cabin. Based on the 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay, the film follows a vacationing family at a remote cabin. Unfortunately, a time of peaceful relaxation screeches to a halt when four strangers hold them hostage. They demand the family sacrifices one of their own to avert the apocalypse.

The apocalyptic psychological horror stars Dave Bautista as Leonard, Jonathan Groff as Andrew, Ben Aldridge as Eric, Nikki Amuka-Bird as Adriene, Kristen Cui as Wen, Abby Quinn as Sabrina, and Rupert Grint as Redmond.

Who will fall on the chopping block to save the world? Find out when Knock at the Cabin hits theaters on February 3.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (Feb. 17)

We’re officially entering a new era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only does Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania serve as the entry point for Phase 5, but it marks the big-screen debut of Kang the Conqueror. When Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) offers Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) the chance to retrieve the time he lost with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), our Avenger is tempted to accept said offer despite the hefty risks involved. After all, Kang can destroy and rewrite timelines.

Scott, Cassie, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) travel to the Quantum Realm, where they encounter strange creatures and are pushed to their limits as Kang stops at nothing to achieve his objective.

Can you guess which legendary villain also makes an appearance in this flick? A live-action M.O.D.O.K.! But that’s not all — none other than Bill Murray will make his Marvel debut as Lord Krylar, the governor of the Axia community in the Quantum Realm who’s connected to Janet. And here I was hoping he would play himself in the MCU.

Witness the beginning of a new (Kang) dynasty when Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania takes us on an adventure in theaters on February 17.

Cocaine Bear (Feb. 24)

A film of this nature doesn’t really fit the genre bill, but the true story it’s based on is so outlandish that you might question your own grasp on reality. In 1985, an American black bear overdosed on cocaine after ingesting a duffel bag full of it. He goes on a coke-fueled rampage in a small town in Georgia. It’s a bloodbath. The Elizabeth Banks-helmed black comedy thriller adapts that tale for the silver screen.

Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell as Colette Matthews, O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Howard, Alden Ehrenreich as Marty, Christian Convery-Jennings as Henry, and the late Ray Liotta as Dentwood. Admittedly, this movie is easily one of my most anticipated of the year.

Get ready to watch an unhinged, murderous bear high on cocaine wreak havoc when Cocaine Bear barrels into theaters on February 24.


March

Scream 6 (March 10)

Ghost Face® lives on forever. In the sixth installment of the sprawling, legendary horror franchise, the survivors of Ghost Face’s string of killings — Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) plus Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) Meeks-Martin — depart Woodsboro, California, to start anew in the Big Apple. Unfortunately, a new Ghost Face killer surfaces and racks up quite the body count.

We’ve got a few returning survivors entering the fray: Courteney Cox as Gail Weathers and Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed, who survived the 2011 Ghost Face murders. It’s also the first film without Neve Campbell as the Scream queen Sidney Prescott. Here’s hoping it holds up.

Brace yourself for murderous mayhem in NYC when Scream 6 scares its way into theaters on March 10.

 

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 17)

Hallelujah! We’ve waited four long years for the highly anticipated sequel to 2019’s DC hit Shazam! We’re a little over two months away now. Shazam! Fury of the Gods finds Billy Batson and his foster siblings embracing their new super hero roles. Now, they’re tasked with battling the Daughters of Atlas, who plan to wipe out the planet with a destructive device.

The flick stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam, Adam Brody and Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Rachel Zegler as Anthea, Meagan Good and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, Ross Butler and Ian Chen as Eugene Choi, Djimon Hounsou as Shazam, Lucy Liu as Kalypso, and Helen Mirren as Hespera.

Get ready to say the word when Shazam! Fury of the Gods soars into theaters on March 17.

 

John Wick Chapter 4 (March 24)

I don’t believe there’s an official title for the John Wick franchise, but I’m hereby coining “Wick-iverse” here and now. Feel free to use it, Lionsgate (or don’t). Anyway, the popular neo-noir action saga continues with its latest installment, John Wick Chapter 4. The premise is simple: John Wick learns how to defeat the nefarious High Table. However, an obstacle in the form of a new enemy impedes Wick from obtaining his freedom.

Keanu Reeves headlines JW4 as the titular John Wick, Donnie Yen plays Caine, Bill Skarsgård is The Marquis de Gramont, Laurence Fishburne portrays The Bowery King, Hiroyuki Sanada is Shimazu, Lance Reddick plays Charon, and Ian McShane is Winston Scott.

The fourth chapter of the Wick-iverse saga smashes its way into theaters on March 24.

 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March 31)

It’s been over two decades since the last Dungeons & Dragons film. Thankfully, that’s about to change with Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The flick focuses on a charming thief and his merry band of adventurer pals who, as expected, embark on a quest to find an artifact. As with any good action-adventure, the quest goes awry when our heroes encounter some villains.

This cast is stacked, folks. We’ve got Chris Pine as Edgin the Bard, Michelle Rodriguez as Holga the Barbarian, Regé-Jean Page as Xenk the Paladin, and Hugh Grant as Forge Fitzwilliam the Rogue.
Nerds, our time is now. Well, in two months’ time. Get ready to unleash the geek when Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves takes us on an adventure on March 31.


April

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (April 7)

*Cue the Mario Bros. theme song* It’s-a him, Mario! Are you ready for Chris Pratt’s Mario accent? I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie tells the tale of the Mario brothers as they make their way through the Mushroom Kingdom. Simple enough, right? Besides Pratt, Charlie Day voices Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy voices Princess Peach, Jack Black is Bowser, Keegan Michael-Key is Toad, Seth Rogen is Donkey Kong, and Fred Armisen voices Cranky Kong.

Personally, I’ll watch anything with Charlie Day. His voice for Luigi makes sense to me. I’m ready for a lighthearted, cotton-candy-fluffy animated flick that doesn’t require much brain power.

Whip out your best plumber’s overalls for April 7 — that’s when The Super Mario Bros. Movie hops its way into theaters.

 

Renfield (April 14)

You can only consume insects at your boss’ behest for so long until you break. And R.M. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has reached his breaking point. Count Dracula’s (Nicolas Cage) long-suffering, beleaguered lackey has had it up to here with the famous vampire’s antics. Thus, he ventures to modern-day New Orleans to start the next chapter of his life. He falls in love with Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), a traffic cop, and attends group therapy. Of course, it’s not easy severing ties with Dracula.

The trailer for this movie cleared my skin, put money in my bank account, and watered my crops (metaphorically — I’m not a farmer). I love Nicholas Hoult and Nic Cage, and kooky dark comedies. This combination will undoubtedly spell “magic.”

Get ready to resist The (bloodsucking) Man when Renfield flies into theaters on April 14.

 

Evil Dead Rise (April 21)

Mommy loves you to … death. Evil Dead Rise marks the fifth film in the Evil Dead franchise. Bruce Campbell executive produces a story written and directed by Lee Cronin. The film sees sisters Beth and Ellie reunite. However, their reunion is cut short when flesh-possessing demons enter the picture. Beth finds herself chest-deep in a battle for survival as she faces a grotesque, chilling display of twisted motherhood.

The film stars Lily Sullivan as Beth, Alyssa Sutherland as Ellie, Morgan Davies as Danny, Gabrielle Echols as Bridget, and Nell Fisher as Kassie. While this isn’t an Ash-centric story, I’m game for a bloody and stylized horror flick. Here’s hoping it maintains the integrity of Sam Raimi’s vision.

Watch the dead rise when Evil Dead Rise creeps into theaters on April 21.


May

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5)

We’re getting hooked on a feeling one last time. After watching the teaser, I know Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will break me emotionally. The last installment of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy finds our Guardians making Knowhere (which they purchased from the Collector) a haven for alien refugees. Peter Quill leads his team on a perilous mission that could spell the end of the Guardians.

The cast includes Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, Zoe Saldaña as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket.
Follow our Guardians on one final, Marvel-ous adventure when the film boogies into theaters on May 5.

 

The Little Mermaid (May 26)

Live-action remakes have become par for the course in the world of Disney, as the entertainment juggernaut seems hellbent on giving each of their animated projects the live-action treatment. The Little Mermaid was my favorite animated Disney film as a kid. I’m not a fan of this remake/reboot era we’re steeped in, but I am a fan of getting Ariel back on the silver screen.

You know the story (at least the Disney-fied version): Ariel, a teenage mermaid, falls head over heels for a dashing young prince after saving his life during a shipwreck. Thus, Ariel strikes a deal with a sea witch so that she can reunite with her love on land. Cue singing crabs, seagulls, and whosits and whatsits galore.

Halle Bailey stars as Ariel, with Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, with voice actors including Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle.

Dust off those singing voices and bust out your thingamabobs when The Little Mermaid splashes into theaters on May 26.


That’s a wrap on Part 1 of our 2023 movies list. Part 2 is right here! Which films are you looking forward to the most? Share your thoughts with other fans at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!