Summer 2023 Movie Preview: The Most Anticipated Films of the Summer

From 'Barbie' to 'Fast X,' 'Oppenheimer' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' to 'Mission: Impossible,' here are Complex's most anticipated movies of summer 2023.

Mission Impossible

Image via Paramount

Mission Impossible

May is the unofficial start to the summer blockbuster movie season. This year, the first week of the warmer months is kicking things off strong with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3—which marks the end of Marvel’s Guardians films.

This month also ushers in Fast X, leading us into a season of action-packed films you have to see on the big screen (or streaming, too, if that’s more your thing.) The months ahead look promising at the box office, which has found some major success so far in 2023 with hits like Creed III and Super Mario Bros. Movie. So far, the year is already panning out to perform better than we’ve seen in recent years post-pandemic.   

Diehard movie lovers are eagerly awaiting films like Barbie and Oppenheimer, while thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies will get their fill through Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One. The Flash is also bound to rush to the top spot in June, so there’s plenty in store for the most exciting time of the year for action and movie-loving fans. Check out this month's new drops, as well as summer 2023’s most anticipated movies

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

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Director:  James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Will Poulter, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista

Release Date: May 5

May is starting off strong with a new Marvel flick—unfortunately, it’s the last one for one of the Avengers’ most beloved of them all to say goodbye. All good things must come to an end, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the end of the road for Peter Quill and his crew. They are reuniting for one last time to defend the universe and protect one of their own but the fate of the Guardians is in danger if they don’t complete the mission successfully. It’s been a long road with this group and the Guardians films have been a highlight of the MCU but if this chapter is to come to a close, this is how you do it. 

'White Men Can't Jump'

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Director: Calmatic

Starring: Sinqua Walls, Jack Harlow, Lance Reddick, Laura Harrier, Teyana Taylor

Distributor: 20th Century Studios/Hulu

Release date: May 19

Remakes, remakes, remakes. While we might all be suffering from reboot fatigue, Hollywood is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon and this list is proof. Up next is the 2023 version of the 1992 classic White Men Can’t Jump. The film focuses on two basketball hustlers, who are the complete opposite of each other, but realize that they might have more in common than they imagined possible and be stronger together when they team up to double their chances at winning money on the street courts and in a basketball tournament. The original featured performances from Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, but this one will feature Jack Harlow and Sinqua Walls. The American sports comedy film was directed by Charles “Calmatic” Kidd II and was written by Kenya Barris and Doug Hall. It will be available to stream on Hulu on May 19.

'Fast X'

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Director: Louis Leterrier

Starring:  Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Brie Larson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Cardi B, Rita Moreno, and Charlize Theron.

Release Date: May 19

It’s almost time to say goodbye to the Fast & Furious family. Fast X will be the second-to-last film in the blockbuster franchise, and it’s promising to be even more explosive than its predecessors. Dom (Vin Diesel) and his team will rely on new allies like Tess (Brie Larson) to fight against threats like Cipher (Charlize Theron) and Dante (Jason Momoa). Fan favorites Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, and Cardi B will return, and Rita Moreno is also set to make an appearance. 

'About My Father'

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Directed by: Laura Terruso

Cast: Sebastian Maniscalco, Robert De Niro, Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, David Rasche, Brett Dier, and Kim Cattrall

Release Date: May 26

Sebastian Maniscalco is joining forces with the legendary Robert De Niro for a new comedy, About My Father. The film centers around Sebastian (Maniscalco) who is encouraged by his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) to bring his immigrant, hairdresser father, Salvo (De Niro), to a weekend get-together with her super-rich and exceedingly eccentric family (Kim Cattrall, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche). As expected, the weekend turns into a culture clash between the two families. I’ll watch anything with De Niro in it, and if you add Cattrall to the list, I’m all the way in. 

‘You Hurt My Feelings’

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Directed by: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Arian Moayed, Owen Teague, and Jeannie Berlin

Release Date: May 26

You Hurt My Feelings comes from acclaimed filmmaker Nicole Holofcener and is a story about a novelist whose long-standing marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book. The comedy is about trust, lies, and the things we say to the people we love most and it stars none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'

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Director: Steven Caple Jr.

Cast: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Tobe Nwigwe, Peter Cullen, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh, Liza Koshy, John DiMaggio, David Sobolov, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Pete Davidson, Cristo Fernández

Release Date: June 9

Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, set in the ‘90s, is taking fans on a globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and is also introducing a whole new breed of Transformer—the Maximals—to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in theatres in June and features an all-star cast that will bring the robots to life including Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh. 

'The Flash'

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Director: Andy Muschietti

Starring: Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Kiersey Clemons

Release date: June 16

Film critics got a glimpse into The Flash already and word on the street is the movie is so good that it should be enough to absolve Ezra Miller of all his sins. As always, all it takes is one strong movie or project for Hollywood to be forgiving. But that isn’t what this list is about. This film is bound to be one of the hottest of the summer, with the return of both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton (!). In the film, we’ll be doing some sort of time jumping that will cause worlds to collide when the Flash uses his superpowers to travel back in time to change the events of the past. But his attempt to save his family alters the future, and he becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod is again a threat—and that’s where the return of Keaton’s Batman comes in. 

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’

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Director: James Mangold

Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Release date: June 30

Harrison Ford has made it clear that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the last time he will play his iconic character, the daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones, so this one might be a must-see in case he is, in fact. keeping his word. This time around, Indiana Jones is racing against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history. He is accompanied by his goddaughter on the adventure, and he soon finds himself squaring off against Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi who works for NASA. All signs point to this being a time travel story, with reports that a 35-year-old AI version of the actor will be featured in the film. 

'Insidious: The Red Door'

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Director: Patrick Wilson

Cast: Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Hiam Abbass, Sinclair Daniel, Andrew Astor, and Rose Byrne

Release Date: July 7

The horror genre wave continues to wash over us with Insidious: The Red Door hitting theaters this July, proving once more that Spooky SZN isn’t limited to just October. The horror franchise’s original cast—Patrick Wilson (also making his directorial debut), Ty Simpkins, Rose Byrne, and Andrew Astor—is set to return for the final chapter of the Lambert family’s terrifying saga, which is based on a story by Leigh Whannell. Josh (Patrick Wilson) and a college-aged Dalton (Ty Simpkins) must face their family’s dark past and a host of new and more horrifying terrors that lurk behind the red door in order to put their demons to rest once and for all. The film also stars Sinclair Daniel and Hiam Abbass and is produced by Jason Blum, Oren Peli, James Wan, and Leigh Whannell. 

'Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One'

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Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, Shea Whigham, Pom Klementieff, Esai Morales, Henry Czerny, Rob Delaney, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Frederick Schmidt

Release Date: July 12

It doesn’t matter what’s going on on July 12, just know I’ll be the first person lined up at the local movie theater to watch Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. If you’ve watched the clips of Tom Cruise performing his own stunts, like riding a motorcycle off of a cliff with a parachute, then that’s all the convincing you need to head to a theater to watch this on the biggest screen you can find. Cruise is at the stage of his career where he continues challenging himself with every new project he takes on and action movies fans are the ones who reap the benefits of a man who is constantly seeking new thrills.   


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Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh

Release date: July 21

Fans are eagerly waiting for a new Christopher Nolan film to drop and he’s ready to deliver with Oppenheimer. The is a biographical film about Robert Oppenheimer, whose work on the World War II–era Manhattan Project led him to be recognized as the “father of the atomic bomb.” As celebrated as he was at the time, Oppenheimer was known to be conflicted about his involvement in the invention and later became open about his opposition to nuclear weapons. Not only is it directed by the beloved director but it also features a hell of an all-star cast, including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh. 


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Director: Greta Gerwig 

Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, America Ferrera, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Rhea Perlman, and Kate McKinnon

Release Date: July 21 

While Oppenheimer might be for the boys, Barbie is for the rest of us. (Just kidding, anyone could and should see both films!) The Greta Gerwig Mattel-inspired film is going up against Christopher Nolan at the box office in July, and it tells a new story about Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, and her bright neon world. Ryan Gosling is playing Ken, and the rest of the cast also includes Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Issa Rae, Helen Mirren, Rhea Perlman, John Cena, and Kate McKinnon. The film has already caused a stir on social media months ahead of its release, so let’s see if the online hype translates to ticket sales. All I know is I’ll be there wearing the brightest hot pink attire I can find. 

'Talk to Me'

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Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou

Cast: Sophie Wilde, Miranda Otto, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio

Release Date: July 28

I watched this trailer ahead of a screening for Beau Is Afraid, and I was forced to close my eyes a few times. A24 is back with another thrilling movie, adding another horror title to the summer’s movie list. Who wants to be spooked when it’s sunny outside? Not me, but if that’s your sort of thing, Talk to Me is perfect for you. It is bound to be scary. The film follows a group of friends who discovers how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, and they become hooked on the new thrill until one of them goes too far and unleashes supernatural forces that make this one absolutely terrifying.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem'

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Release date: Aug. 4

Directors: Jeff Rowe, Kyler Spears

Cast: Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Maya Rudolph

Talk about nostalgia! Mutant Mayhem is expected to bring fans of the Ninja Turtles out of their shell and into a theater. After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers will set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers. Their new friend, April O’Neil, helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them. The best part? The film also includes performances from some fan-favorite names like John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Maya Rudolph. Those names alone are enough to guarantee a good time.


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Director: Roger Ross Williams

Cast: Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla de la Rosa, Joaquín Cosío, Raúl Castillo and Benito Antonio “Bad Bunny” Martínez Ocasio

Release Date: September 15

When Saúl Armendáriz (Gael García Bernal) starts competing in the macho world of Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling, he’s always cast as the runt. After he meets Sabrina (Roberta Colindrez), Saúl gains not only a professional trainer but also a friend who helps him create a new character in the ring. The gay amateur wrestler from El Paso rises rose to international stardom when they debut Cassandro, a Lucha Libre’s stereotypical role known as the Exótico that is flamboyant and powerful. Cassandro finds success in the ring but at the expense of his personal relationships. The film, which also stars Bad Bunny,  made its debut at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and is directed by Academy Award–winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams. The film will debut in select theaters on September 15 and on Prime Video on September 22.

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