13 most anticipated movies of 2023: Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Barbie and more

(L to R) Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie
(Image credit: Marvel Studios / Warner Bros.)

If 2022 was the year Nicole Kidman welcomed us back to the movies (opens in new tab), the most anticipated movies of 2023 suggest this is the year where the biggest (and goofiest) movies finally hit the big screen. 

Yes, after Tom Cruise wowed the world in Top Gun: Maverick (a big dose of "he's still got it"), Mission Impossible 7 gives the star the opportunity to do all the death-defying stunts he wants — for our entertainment. Also this year, Indiana Jones is back, and he's bringing a great cast with him.

Our personal potential highlights of the year include some of the weirdest things we've ever seen. Cocaine Bear is about a bear with a bag of blow, while the Barbie and Mario movies look as fun as anything else on the calendar.

Yes, we know DC has Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom coming out, but those films have been made to look completely irrelevant in the James Gunn era of the DCU. So, they didn't make this list. But there's plenty here to keep you entertained, including two big Marvel movies.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania 

One of the most potentially important upcoming Marvel movies of 2023, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania feels like the end of the line for ol' Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Finally a celebrity, finally in the spotlight and beloved (all it took was becoming an Avenger and helping un-blip half of existence back), Scott's loving life. Would be a shame if a massively impactful Marvel villain happened to show up to ruin that good time, right? Well, enter Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a variant of the He Who Remains character introduced in the Loki finale. Kang looks at Ant-Man and his family like a bug to be squished, and we're worried about what Scott will do to save his family, who are stuck in the Quantum Realm with him. Bill Murray will be in the film, as a figure from Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer)'s past. — Henry T. Casey

In theaters on February 17, 2023

Cocaine Bear 

Yes, we really can't wait for the silliest movie of 2023. In a year filled with Malibu dream houses, seemingly unbeatable hitmen and Chris Pratt's Mario, the simple premise of "what happens if we give a bear a duffel bag full of cocaine" lights up the brain's receptors. Featuring a surprisingly-stacked cast for a movie like this, Cocaine Bear is led by Ray Liotta in his final film role. Supporting him are Alden Ehrenreich (the young Solo), Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell (The Americans), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire's Clay Davis). Oh, and Elizabeth Banks is directing. Cocaine Bear might be the weirdest 91 minutes we spend in a theater this year. — HTC

In theaters on February 24, 2023

Creed III

What's that, I hear? Ant-Man 3 has you asking for more Jonathan Majors? Well, Creed III sees the actor completely ripped and shredded as Damian Anderson, one of the childhood acquaintances of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Finally done serving time in prison from an incident Creed was involved with, Damian's out and looking to make an impact. Well, make that many impacts, as Damian's built up punishing punching power when he was in the clink. A showdown in the ring is practically a given. Tessa Thompson reprises her role as Bianca, Adonis' wife and the mother of his child Amara. — HTC

In theaters on March 3, 2023

Scream VI

After Scream (2022) revived the franchise for the new generation, the hype was already there for the sequel. Then, its star Jenna Ortega became even more famous and successful as Netflix's Wednesday Addams. So, for everyone who isn't eager for this movie (but is waiting for Wednesday season 2), go back and watch Tara Carpenter (Ortega) become a new fan favorite in the Scream series. And Scream VI is a heavily anticipated chapter because it shakes up the locale amazingly, bringing the slasher survivors (and a new Ghostface) to New York City. On Halloween. We cannot wait. — HTC

In theaters on March 10, 2023

John Wick 4 

Work yourself into a lather over John Wick (Keanu Reeves) on the big screen, watch him rinse the bad guys, repeat as necessary. That’s been the formula for the first three John Wick movies, and John Wick 4 looks like it’s not trying to fix what isn’t broken. This time we get some new friends like Caine (Donnie Yen) and new foes like The Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), but old friends like Laurence Fishburne’s The Bowery King and Ian McShane’s Winston Scott ensure this movie never feels like unfamiliar territory — at least, not in the trailer. And that’s okay, because all we really want is John Wick artfully killing folks for a couple hours. Lather, rinse, repeat. — Malcolm McMillan

In theaters on March 24, 2023

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Originally, the conversation surrounding the The Super Mario Bros. Movie was solely focused on the divisive casting decision to make Chris Pratt the voice of the iconic plumber. Once we actually saw the film's trailer, though, we instantly forgot about Pratt's decision to hype his voice as something new and novel, and to focus on the fact that this movie looks like a sheer blast of nostalgia. Not only does the movie feature some inspired casting for Bowser (Jack Black) and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen), but everything from Mario's earliest games to Mario Kart is teased in the above trailer. Also: Keegan Michael-Key as Toad already sounds perfect. — HTC

In theaters April 7, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Heartbreak is looming for the Guardians of the Galaxy, both on screen and off. Not only does the first trailer give off some ominous vibes, this is also the last time we’ll see the current iteration of the team. The Guardians have a lot on their plate in the wake of Thanos’s snap, and after missing five years it’s their responsibility to help put things right. Unfortunately things aren’t always so simple, and the team is going to have to face the vengeful Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) and the spectacularly-mad High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) — who is tied to Rocket’s past. But, when James Gunn isn’t pulling your heartstrings, there is a talking dog, Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) to help lighten the mood in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. — Tom Pritchard

In theaters on May 5, 2023

Barbie

We've had so many toy-to-movie adaptations that it was (originally) hard to be enthused about a Barbie movie. Arriving in the ashes of Battleship, the G.I. Joe movies, that Bratz movie and a pair of Ouija horror flicks, Barbie is going to buck the trend. Directed by auteur/indie fave Greta Gerwig, Barbie looks like a neon-soaked dream come true. Then, the first photo of Ryan Gosling as Ken practically broke the internet. The latest major moment in the hype train for the Barbie movie came as its teaser trailer played in front of Avatar: The Way of Water — a much different movie. This clip — which is a riff on the opening to 2001: A Space Odyssey — has Helen Mirren proudly talking about how Barbie changed the world of girls' toys. It also delivered a rapid-fire look-book of all the fashion and style we can expect, and a reminder that Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) is in it. The only real let down? Aqua's "Barbie Girl" won't make it in, due to subject matter that Mattel disagrees with. — HTC

In theaters on July 21, 2023

Fast X

Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 9

(Image credit: Universal)

We're only going to be able to say "it's about family," two more times, and this is one of them. Yes, the Fast saga's penultimate chapter (we wish it was called Fast 10 Your Seatbelt) is coming this year, and (nearly) the whole crew is back. And that will include new additions John Cena (as Dom's brother Jakob), Helen Mirren (as Deckard Shaw's mother) and Cardi B. As for the big new roles: Fast X adds a DCU hero (Jason Momoa) and an MCU hero too (Brie Larson). Momoa plays new villain Dante (who's allying with Charlize Theron's Cipher), and nothing is known about Larson's Tess. We can't wait to learn more. — HTC

In theaters on May 19, 2023

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

One of the best surprises of the last years of comic book movies was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the self-aware animated adventure that also made the multiverse really fun. Because throughout the multiverse, there are a ton of Spider-Men. For example, there's the glum Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Ham aka Peter Porker (John Mulaney) and our film's hero: Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). That was Miles' (very touching) origin story, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse  is his sequel. Back and going deeper into the Spider-Verse with Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Miles will encounter many new Spider-Men, including Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac) and Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew (Issa Rae). The former is a new foe, the latter, we're not sure about. Either way, it looks to take Spider-Verse's bonkers animation style to the next level, and we needed it yesterday. — HTC

In theaters June 2, 2023

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 

Indiana Jones 5, aka Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, is (somehow) the title on this list with the most peculiar name (take that, Cocaine Bear!). We're not sure if Indy (Harrison Ford) is back to solve a puzzle with a mysterious sundial, or to fix an old TV, but we sure are ready for this round. Part of our excitement comes from the fact that this is a break from the mess that Indy just got away from (so long, Shia), and that both Mads Mikkelsen and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are in the cast. Even Toby Jones, who played the Hydra scientist in the Marvel movies, is here. — HTC

In theaters June 30, 2023

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One

Remember when Mission: Impossible sequels weren't anticipated? Back when Ethan Hunt's romances got in the way of the action? Well, Mission: Impossible 7 looks to keep the hot streak going, and it's the first half of what appears to be Tom Cruise's swan song as IMF agent Hunt. Little glimpses from its trailer, and leaks from the set, suggest the stunts are getting wilder, and some have even enraged the locals where the film was under production. New additions to the series include Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham and Esai Morales, while Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby are back. Oh, and Henry Czerny's returning as well, giving us reasons to believe this film ties back to Cruise's first impossible mission. — HTC

In theaters July 14, 2023

The Marvels

The Marvels logo

(Image credit: Marvel Studios via YouTube)

What happens when fan meets fave? That's what we find out in The Marvels, which looks to serve as both Captain Marvel 2 and Ms. Marvel season 2. Last we saw Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), the two switched places for no good reason. Now, we know that incident was caused by one of them using their powers, causing their corporeal forms to switch places. Teyonah Parris is back as Monica Rambeau, as is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Oh, and Kamala's parents are also coming back! — HTC

In theaters July 28, 2023

Dune Part Two artwork

(Image credit: Legendary Films via Twitter)

Dune Part One currently stands as my favorite movie of the past five years so it’s no surprise that I’m eagerly anticipating its sequel, Dune Part Two. I read Frank Herbert’s original Dune novel prior to seeing the 2020 film and I’m stoked to see how the upcoming movie handles the latter half of the narrative. No spoilers, but expect to see the kind of wild action folks wanted from the first film. I’m also looking forward to seeing Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) fulfill the destiny hinted at in the first film and how director Denis Villeneuve will portray that journey. Dune Part Two is going to be the movie to beat in 2023 as far as I’m concerned. I can’t wait for this one. — Tony Polanco

In theaters November 3, 2023

Bonus: The Iron Claw

Zac Efron as Kevin von Erich, throws a dropkick in The Iron Claw

(Image credit: A24)

Yet to get a release date, but still anticipated for the new year, The Iron Claw is distributor A24's entry into pro wrestling (and it's doing so with the perfect story). Texas' legendary Von Erich family is one of the most-unlucky group of people that the industry has ever seen, and their tragic stories will be told by some big names. Jeremy Allen White (The Bear), Harris Dickinson (The King's Man) and Zac Efron (Neighbors) are playing the famed Von Erich brothers Kerry, David and Kevin, while Lily James and Maura Tierny are also on board. The film even has cast the popular rising star Maxwell Friedman (better known as Maxwell Jacob Friedman) in the role of the fraudulent Von Erich. A tragedy told in backbreakers, twists and moonsaults, the Von Erich story is perfect for the big screen. — HTC

Tentatively set for a 2023 release

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

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