With a heady mix of prestige awards bait and crowd-pleasing blockbusters on the horizon,
here’s a quick snapshot of the most in-demand movies coming to cinemas between 1 January and 30 June 2023.
Steven Spielberg, the dream-maker behind such silver screen classics as ET, Jaws and Jurassic Park might not be helming the return to one of his most beloved franchises this year (read on), but he is treating us to this intimate, lightly fictionalised look at his boyhood years, with Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as his parental stand-ins.
Releases Jan 5
Margot Robbie goes back to Tinsel Town’s debauched foundations in La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s hooray for Hollywood’s darker side. While it kinda bombed in the US, her presence plus Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-star Brad Pitt might help it soar here.
Releases Jan 19
Aussie film lovers have been beating down the door to see Cate Blanchett as a supremely successful but ever so supercilious classical music conductor whose venerable career begins to unravel in Todd Field’s epic. Again, box office was underwhelming, but the awards buzz is deafening.
Releases Jan 26
The Whale, Darren Aronofsky
The Mummy star Brendan Fraser resuscitated the Saturday afternoon adventure movie during the 90s, then he disappeared. He’s back in hot pursuit of an Oscar via the prosthetic-donning route in Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s stagey, kinda leery film about an overweight professor who has shut himself off from the world.
Releases Feb 2
Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Channing Tatum is back (without his top) as smooth-moved southern stripper Mike Lane in returning director Steven Soderbergh’s sultry, sweaty, London-set swansong for the character. Alas, it looks like most of the original cast are gone, but Salma Hayek is along for the snappily choreographed ride.
Releases Feb 9
Actor turned director Sarah Polley has assembled an incredible cast in this dramatic heavyweight about women standing up for their rights in an isolated religious cult. That includes Oscar-winner Frances McDormand alongside nominees Rooney Mara and Jessie Buckley, plus The Crown’s Claire Foy.
Releases Feb 16
Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells’ debut feature has won a bunch of awards since berthing at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Starring BATFA-winning Normal People lead Paul Mescal as a dad losing his way but holding fast to his daughter on holiday (outstanding newcomer Frankie Corio) it’s must-see stuff.
Releases Feb 23
Empire of Light
The world’s loveliest Oscar-winning speech giver Olivia Colman leads a cast of British acting royalty including Colin Firth and Toby Jones, alongside rising star Micheal Ward, in Bond director Sam Mendes’ love letter to cinema set in a washed-up English seaside town during the 80s.
Releases March 2
The last time the Scream franchise tried to leave Woodsboro behind it didn’t go so well, New York is a better fit for a Ghostface killing spree than LA anyway. Franchise rebooting directors’ Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett return to the sixth slasher.
Releases March 9
Of an Age/Sweet As
OK we’re cheating a bit here, but wanted to squish in a couple of Australian coming-of-agers. First up is director-to watch Goran Stolevski’s swoonsome, Melbourne-set romance Of an Age, then it’s down to First Nations director Jub Clerc’s joyous WA road trip movie Sweet As. Both were big hits at MIFF.
Releases March 23/April 13
Parasite star Song Kang-ho teams up with Shoplifters director Kore-eda Hirokazu in this heart-smashing look at found family in a trippy tale about a world not unlike ours, but where you can drop off unwanted babies in a mailbox. It’s much bigger in heart than the sum of its parts.
Releases March 30
Evil Dead Rise
Horror lovers will be champing at the bit for the cinematic return of this brain-munching zombie franchise after a small screen segue. Sadly it doesn’t look like Bruce Campbell will star, though he is producing and may yet pop up. The Hole in the Ground director Lee Cronin penned the screenplay with original director Sam Raimi, so we’re quietly optimistic.
Releases April 20
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
It’s a big year for comic book movies (isn’t every year now?) but James Gunn’s weep-seeking finale for the universe’s goofiest heroes is definitely the buzziest. The Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt-led bonanza is the director’s last hurrah with Marvel, having defected to DC where he’s wiping their slate clean to start again.
Releases May 4
The Little Mermaid
Speaking of Disney, they’ve had a tough time getting young folks in front of their animated movies of late, but Mary Poppins Returns helmer Rob Marshall will be hoping to right the ship with this live action re-do led by luminous singer Halle Bailey.
Releases May 25
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Hailing from Sony’s animated slate and making the multiverse cool before the MCU, this sure-to-be gem picks up on the 2018 adventures of African American-Puerto Rican teen hero Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) and his otherworld analogues, including crush Spider-Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld).
Releases June 1
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford returns to his second most famous role of all time, although this time without Spielberg. Logan director James Mangold steps into this space race era fifth instalment that also brings back John Rhys-Davies and adds Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas and a villainous Mads Mikkelsen.
Releases June 29