As we head into 2023, Walt Disney Studios has a wide selection of brand-new original films heading to the big screen throughout the year from its many different studios, including Marvel, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.
It’s also worth noting that Searchlight Pictures and National Geographic will likely add more theatrical releases to their schedule. And it’s also possible that these release dates are subject to change.
Here’s the rundown:
Empire Of Light
Set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, Empire of Light is a powerful and poignant story about human connection and the magic of cinema from Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes. Empire of Light features a stellar cast led by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Lost Daughter), BAFTA winner Micheal Ward (Blue Story, Top Boy) and Academy Award winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man). It also reunites Mendes with Academy Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (1917, Skyfall).
The film has been written and directed by Sam Mendes, “Empire of Light” stars Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, with Toby Jones and Colin Firth. The film is produced by Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Productions, in partnership with Searchlight Pictures.
“Empire Of Light” has already been released in cinemas in the US and Canada, while the film is being released in cinemas in the UK on 9th January 2023 and in Australia in February 2023. Expect “Empire Of Light” to be released on Disney+ worldwide once its 45-day theatrical release window is completed.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Ant-Man and the Wasp find themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that pushes them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.
Coming to cinemas on February 17th 2023, and it will come to Disney+ later in the year.
Based on the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a tour de force performance) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) herself and her court.
“Chevalier” arrives in cinemas on April 7th, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are back for this cosmic adventure. It’s currently unclear what this new film will be about, but we do know that the film will star Will Poulter (“Midsommar”) as Adam Warlock. And will also see Chukwudi Iwuji (“Peacemaker”) playing the High Evolutionary.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is coming to cinemas on May 5th 2023, and it will be coming to Disney+ later in the year.
The Little Mermaid
“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and, while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy.
“The Little Mermaid” will be coming to cinemas on May 26th 2023, and it will be available on Disney+ later in the year.
Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” is an all-new, original feature film set in Element City, where fire-,water-, land- and air-residents live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in. Directed by Peter Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Partly Cloudy” short), produced by Denise Ream (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Cars 2”), and featuring the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as Ember and Wade, respectively,
“Elemental” is coming to cinemas on June 16th 2023, and will be coming to Disney+ later in the year.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Legendary hero archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) returns to the big screen in Lucasfilm’s Starring along with Ford in the highly anticipated fifth instalment of the franchise are Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Oliver Richters, Ethann Isidore, and Mads Mikkelsen. The film is directed by James Mangold.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” arrives in cinemas on June 30th 2023
This brand new film brings together Captain Marvel with Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, who was introduced in “WandaVision”. We don’t know too much about this film yet, but the post-credit scene at the end of “Ms Marvel” teased Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel swapping places.
“The Marvels” is coming to cinemas on July 28th 2023, and will be coming to Disney+ later in the year.
The Haunted Mansion
Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, “Haunted Mansion” follows a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. Directed by Justin Simien, who used to work at Disneyland Park, the film’s star-studded cast includes Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Danny DeVito, and Jamie Lee Curtis, to name a few.
“The Haunted Mansion” arrives in theatres on August 11th, 2023, before coming to Disney+ later in the year.
A Haunting in Venice
Set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve, “A Haunting in Venice” is a terrifying mystery featuring the return of the celebrated sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Now retired and living in self-imposed exile in the world’s most glamorous city, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.
“A Haunting in Venice,” the studios’ third film based on a novel by Christie, reunites the team of filmmakers behind 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and 2022’s “Death on the Nile” and includes screenwriter Michael Green, producer Judy Hofflund, and executive producers Louise Killin and James Prichard, along with filmmakers Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, and Mark Gordon.
“A Haunting in Venice” is coming to cinemas on September 15th, 2023
Next Goal Wins
“Next Goal Wins” follows the infamously terrible American Samoa soccer team, known for a brutal 2001 FIFA match they lost 31-0. Michael Fassbender stars with Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett, and Rhys Darby. It’s been written and directed by Taika Waititi.
“Next Goal Wins” is coming to cinemas on September 22nd, 2023
“True Love” is being written, directed, and produced by Gareth Edwards, who has previously worked on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Godzilla”. This film will star John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney, Sturgill Simpson, Marc Menchaca, and Ken Watanabe. Unfortunately, no plot details have been announced for this film yet.
“True Love” is coming to cinemas on October 6th, 2023
The epic animated musical, directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, is inspired by the studios’ legacy of films. The film is set in Rosas, the kingdom of wishes where wishes can literally come true. Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose) is a 17-year-old optimist with a sharp wit who cares endlessly about her community. In a moment of desperation, Asha makes an impassioned plea to the stars, which is answered by a cosmic force, a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, they face the most formidable of foes to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen. “Wish” also includes Disney Animation’s good-luck-charm Alan Tudyk as the voice of a goat named Valentino, and showstopping original songs penned by Julia Michaels.
“Wish” will premiere on November 22nd 2023, exclusively in theaters.
Which film are you looking forward to watching in cinemas in 2023?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.