The summer movie season is officially underway and over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a slew of blockbusters land in theaters, including Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Flash and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. And the heavy hitters don’t stop as we move into July as the next 30 days will see a string of highly-anticipated films hit cinemas nationwide.
July’s highlights include the latest flick from legendary filmmaker Christopher Nolan and a little movie featuring a real-life Barbie girl living in a Barbie world. There’s also a pair of sure-fire horror hits and Tom Cruise will be returning as Ethan Hunt in the latest entry in the beloved Mission Impossible franchise. There really is something for everyone in the weeks ahead, so here are the seven movies that you need to watch in July 2023.
Insidious: The Red Door
After a pair of so-so prequels, the enduring Insidious franchise is finally returning to its root as we catch up with the perennially-haunted Lambert family. The fifth film in the franchise overall, Insidious: The Red Door is a sequel to 2013’s Insidious Chapter 2 and is set 10 years after the events of its predecessor. Both Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne make their return to the franchise and Lin Shaye, ever-present in the Insidious movies, will also appear once again as paranormal expert and psychic Elise Rainier. Expect lots of jump scares, and to be honest, don't be shocked if there's an ambiguous ending that sets up the almost inevitable sixth Insidious flick.
Watch in theaters from July 7
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Tom Cruise is arguably Hollywood’s last remaining larger-than-life movie star and the Mission: Impossible franchise is a true rarity in that it’s actually gotten better with each new installment. Topping 2018’s Mission: Impossible - Fallout is a tall order, but we’d not bet against Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie. In rather predictable fashion for the long-running series, the plot in Dead Reckoning will see superspy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team attempt to track down a deadly weapon that could threaten all of humanity before it ends up in the wrong hands. Cue a globetrotting adventure packed full of espionage and breathtaking stuntwork from Cruise himself. As the name suggests this is the first chapter of a two-parter, so a cliffhanger ending seems almost guaranteed.
Watch in theaters from July 12
Bird Box Barcelona
The best movies to watch in July aren’t exclusively coming to theatres, Bird Box Barcelona will arrive on Netflix on July 14 and certainly looks worthy of a spot in your watchlist. A Spanish-language spin-off/sequel to 2018’s wildly-success Netflix movie Bird Box, the horror-thriller follows a father’s desperate attempts to ensure the safety of his daughter in a world that has been invaded by entities that cause people who look directly at them to commit suicide. The original Bird Box was a huge hit for Netflix, and this follow-up looks to pack all the same thrills as its predecessor. It could make a strong case for inclusion in our list of the best Netflix movies once its lands on the streaming service in just a couple of weeks.
Watch on Netflix from July 14
Barbie is probably the most anticipated movie on this list with social media already in a frenzy over the impending release of the Greta Gerwig-directed comedy. Margot Robbie will play the eponymous doll while Ryan Gosling plays Ken, in a movie that sees Barbie venture from her plastic playland and into the real world in search of true happiness. Expect original musical numbers (Plus, Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj have done a remix of Aqua’s classic earworm Barbie World), just about everything to be pink and some knowing winks to the ridiculousness of the entire premise. With so much buzz surrounding this one, don’t be surprised if Barbie ends up being the film that dominates the summer movie conversation.
Watch in theaters from July 21
Releasing the same day as Barbie is a very different kind of movie from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan. Oppenheimer is a biographical thriller about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man largely credited with the creation of the first nuclear weapon. This three-hour epic will explore the Manhattan Project and its impact on Oppenheimer as well as his legacy as “the father of the atomic bomb.” As usual with Nolan’s movie, the director has assembled an all-star cast that includes Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer alongside the likes of Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh.
Watch in theaters from July 21
Talk to Me
Distributed by cult favorite entertainment company A24, Talk to Me looks like another horror winner from the same distributor that brought us Hereditary, The Witch and Pearl. This Australian-made movie already premiered back in January at the Sundance Film Festival and earned rave reviews (it’s currently got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes). It sees a group of friends accidentally unleash sinister supernatural forces after using an embalmed hand to conjure spirits. The film has earned praise for its “gripping story” and use of practical effects, and if the trailer is any indication it’s pretty darn spooky to boot. This one finally lands in U.S. theaters on July 28, and we can’t wait to have nightmares for weeks afterward.
Watch in theaters from July 28
Disney’s first Haunted Mansion movie was released in 2003 and is a nostalgic favorite for many (including yours truly). Now the House of Mouse is taking a second stab at adapting the iconic theme park attraction of the same name into a feature film. This new spin on the Haunted Mansion sees a single mom (Rosario Dawson) and her son move into a massive mansion, only to discover it's infested with spooky spirits. To help combat these paranormal pests they recruit a paranormal investigator, a priest, a psychic and even a history professor played by Danny DeVito. This family-friendly horror-comedy should be the ideal crowd-pleaser to bring July to a close.
Watch in theatres from July 28