For every year that passes, the gravitational pull generated by The Walt Disney Company becomes that much more inescapable. Once simply a film studio associated with hand-drawn animated features and creepy amusement parks, Disney has steadily transformed itself into an entertainment juggernaut that has swallowed up other studios such as Fox like they were mere road apples on the path to conquest. Disney now owns so many other properties, in fact, that simply keeping up with all the films they’re releasing throughout 2023 is a surprisingly difficult endeavor—first you need to know all the subsidiary companies Disney owns, and all the venues they have to release films, including the Disney+ streaming platform and Hulu.
Luckily, we’ve assembled the impressive, full tally in a single place. What follows is every single film that Disney and its subdivisions have on the docket for 2023. They run a wide gamut of different styles and genres, and will be released in a wide variety of ways; some in theaters and some via streaming platforms. The one thing they share in common is that all are currently scheduled to be released before 2023 draws to a close.
Here’s a brief capsule on each, presented in roughly chronological release order.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuantumaniaRelease date: Feb. 17, 2023
The first MCU feature film of 2023 is bringing us back down to the teenyverse that is the Quantum Realm, while also having major implications for the next era of Avengers films—if a few years from now we’ll be watching an Avengers film with Kang the Conqueror in the title, then it stands to reason that all of his appearances leading up to that movie will likely be pivotal, and he looks to be a major player here, returning after his introduction in the first season of Loki. Jonathan Majors again plays the timeless Kang, alongside all the Ant-Man regulars—Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, etc. One swap: Scott’s daughter Cassie is played by the third different actress for this series, now being portrayed by Freaky’s Kathryn Newton.
The plot of Quantumania, meanwhile, seems to hinge around the decades that Janet van Dyne spent lost in the Quantum Realm, and a secret about that place she never revealed to Hank Pym and co.—the fact that it has its own civilization, for one. It remains to be seen how the Quantum Realm will be able to interact with the wider MCU, but it will no doubt be established here. As the official synopsis puts it:
Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, along with Hope’s parents Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne and Lang’s daughter Cassie, go on a new adventure exploring the Quantum Realm that pushes their limits and pits them against Kang the Conqueror.
Quantumania looks to kick off Phase 5 with a bang on Feb. 17, 2023.
Chang Can DunkRelease date: March 10, 2023
A paint-by-numbers family sports film, with only the Asian-American protagonist to make it stand out in any real way, Chang Can Dunk absolutely sounds like archetypal Disney Channel fodder, something one might catch as part of a marathon with all of the Air Bud sequels. The film is written and directed by Chinese-American director Jingyi Shao, and filmed in the fall of 2021, with eyes toward what will likely be a mid-2023 release. Synopsis is as follows, but it’s safe to say that this should seem very familiar.
16-year-old Asian-American, Chang, is an unpopular high schooler who loves basketball, but is always underestimated. Though his peers treat him as though he is insignificant, he becomes obsessed with learning how to slam dunk hoops with the ball. In doing so, Chang is determined to best the high school’s all-star named Matt, all while hopefully winning the adoration of his romantic interest, Kristy.
Peter Pan & WendyRelease date: April 28, 2023
Another entry in Disney’s quest to remake every one of their classic animated properties as a live-action film seems to be a fairly straightforward take on Peter Pan, albeit directed by an unlikely source in the form of Green Knight helmer David Lowery. Don’t expect this version to be swirling in portents of doom, however—Lowery also directed 2016’s Pete’s Dragon, and it’s safe to say that this is the tone he’ll likely be recreating here.
The film, with a title that is clearly being careful to emphasize not only one but two lead characters, stars Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and Ever Anderson as Wendy Darling. They’re joined by Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Jude Law as Captain Hook (that should be fun), and an excellent casting decision in the form of Jim Gaffigan as Mr. Smee.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3Release date: May 5, 2023
Presumably the last hurrah for director James Gunn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following the drawn-out drama over his Twitter dust-up, firing and subsequent rehiring before he was hired as an architect of the competing DCEU, it seems safe to say the director will be ready to go out in style. The recently released Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+ begins laying the groundwork here—Peter finds out that Mantis is his half-sister, and we get a look at how the Guardians have been retrofitting and renovating Knowhere to make it into a sort of celestial alien commune. As the official synopsis puts it:
After purchasing Knowhere from the Collector, the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to make it a safe haven for alien refugees. But after a brutal attack, Peter Quill must lead the Guardians on a dangerous mission to protect one of their members that could lead to the team dissolving.
The recently released first trailer, meanwhile, suggests that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is really Rocket’s movie, as it seems to promise we’ll finally be getting more of a firm backstory and plot built around everyone’s favorite gun-obsessed, genetically modified racoon. This could be the last go-round for many of these characters before others rise to prominence in Phase 5, so you should likely be ready for some teary-eyed goodbyes this time around. That, and another great soundtrack.
The Little MermaidRelease date: May 26, 2023
The latest animated Disney classic to get the big-budget live action treatment is The Little Mermaid, starring an ascendant Halle Bailey in the iconic role of Ariel. Directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay by David Magee and Jane Goldman, this new version of The Little Mermaid can also boast Lin-Manuel Miranda as a producer and songwriter, with new songs added to the guaranteed retreads of all the classics. Alan Menken returns as composer.
In terms of vocal cast, this is a real who’s who, with some choices that really seem excellent—Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle and Javier Bardem as King Triton seem especially fun. Melissa McCarthy, meanwhile, holds down the antagonist angle as Ursula, while the film also stars Jonah Hauer-King, Art Malik, Noma Dumezweni, Jacob Tremblay and others. Expect to see the marketing machine for this one roar to life very soon.
ElementalRelease date: June 16, 2023
The animators at Pixar at back in the saddle with Elemental, a charming-looking little metaphor of a film, which takes place in a city entirely populated by residents assembled from the four classical elements: Fire, Water, Wind and Earth. The story involves a fire elemental named Ember (Leah Lewis) who strikes up an unlikely relationship with a water elemental named Wade (Mamoudou Athie). Are these friends, or doomed lovers? The materials we’ve seen so far, such as the teaser below, don’t exactly make it clear, but the film certainly looks cute and engaging enough, even with a design aesthetic that feels quite indebted to Inside Out in particular.
Elemental is directed by Peter Sohn of The Good Dinosaur, who also voiced Emile in Ratatouille, from a script by Brenda Hsueh. Reportedly, the film draws upon Sohn’s own youth, growing up as the child of immigrants in New York City in the 1970s. As the official synopsis puts it: “In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.”
Indiana Jones and the Dial of DestinyRelease date: June 30, 2023
What to even say about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at this point? We all thought Jones was over the hill already in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and that was somehow almost 15 years ago at this point. Suffice to say, Harrison Ford will probably be dragging himself to make it to the finish line on this one, so one can only hope that the fifth installment in the Indiana Jones series somehow manages to play to the actor’s strengths rather than just CGI’ing him into increasingly more absurd scenarios. The presence of director James Mangold is reassuring, given his tackling of thematically similar material in Logan, though it will be strange to see an Indiana Jones film not personally directed by Steven Spielberg—George Lucas and Spielberg are present as executive producers instead.
In terms of plot, the action has now advanced to the end of the 1960s and centers around the U.S./Soviet space race, with the following official synopsis:
In 1969, American archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones lives against the backdrop of the Space Race. Jones is uneasy over the fact that the U.S. government has recruited former Nazis to help beat the Soviet Union in the competition to make it to space. His goddaughter, Helena, accompanies him on his journey. Meanwhile, Jürgen Voller, a NASA member and ex-Nazi involved with the moon-landing program, wishes to make the world into a better place as he sees fit.
Ford at least has a fun supporting cast around him this time, with John Rys-Davies reprising the role of Sallah for the first time since Last Crusade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge joining as Indy’s goddaughter Helena. Other performers of note include both Mads Mikkelsen and Boyd Holbrook as antagonists, along with Antonio Banderas, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann and Toby Jones. You can see the film’s first big trailer below.
The MarvelsRelease date: July 28, 2023
2023 may not have an incoming Avengers movie, but it does have a new form of superhero team-up, in The Marvels. Essentially, what we have here is a group of heroes all connected in some unknown way by their “cosmic” powers: Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani’s recently introduced Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. Some force is clearly binding these three together, as the official synopsis would no doubt imply:
Following the events of Ms. Marvel (2022), Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan, and Monica Rambeau begin swapping places with each other every time they use their powers and must team-up to figure out why.
What “swapping places” means is not entirely clear. Teleportation? Body swapping, ‘ala Freaky Friday? Regardless, the film is directed by Candyman’s Nia DaCosta in a high-profile MCU debut, from a screenplay by Megan McDonnell. One can expect some connections to Secret Wars, given that the Skrulls originally debuted in Captain Marvel, and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is also appearing in The Marvels. This will also be the first time we’ve spent much time with Monica Rambeau in a feature film, as most of her screen time was within the first season of WandaVision.
Haunted MansionRelease date: Aug. 11, 2023
You have to give it to Disney—sometimes they turn one of their amusement park rides into a movie, and then a few decades later they simply say “why not make the same movie again?” In this case, it’s another film adaptation of the classic Haunted Mansion ride from Disneyland, previously adapted as The Haunted Mansion with Eddie Murphy back in 2003. Oh, and there was Muppets Haunted Mansion in 2021 as well.
Anyway, this time around it’s Rosario Dawson and her 9-year-old son who are going to get spooked, per the official synopsis:
A single mom named Gabbie and her 9-year-old son, who are looking to start a new life, move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for. Desperate for help, they contact a priest, who, in turn, enlists the aid of a widowed scientist-turned-failed-paranormal expert, a French Quarter psychic, and a crotchety historian to help exorcise the mansion.
On the plus side, there’s a lot of comedy firepower in this team, including Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Jared Leto, Jamie Lee Curtis, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, Hasan Minhaj and even Danny DeVito. Here’s hoping they get put to good use!
Next Goal WinsRelease date: Sept. 22, 2023
Taika Waititi continues his lucrative directorial run within the Disney company, transitioning from humor-infused MCU spectacle into feel-good sports dramedy with Next Goal Wins. Based on the 2014 documentary of the same name by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, the film tells the true story of Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen as he attempts to revamp the American Samoa national football team—considered the weakest football squad in the world—into an effective team that can qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. An obvious comparison might be something like Cool Runnings, and we’d expect the same kind of revisionist history in the name of entertainment.
Michael Fassbender makes a welcome return to starring roles as coach Rogen, alongside performers Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, Kaimana, Rhys Darby, Will Arnett, and Elisabeth Moss. Next Goal Wins filmed in Hawaii, and will be seen in theaters in the fall of 2023.
True LoveRelease date: Oct. 6, 2023
True Love is without a doubt one of the most mysterious films on the wider Disney (via 20th Century Studios) schedule for 2023—it’s rather odd that we have a release date for the film while having almost zero other information about it so far. So why are folks excited anyway? Well, this is the next feature from director Gareth Edwards, following 2016’s Rogue One, 2014’s Godzilla and 2010’s Monsters. That’s only the fourth feature from the promising director, and we have to imagine it’s going to be a pretty big and splashy one.
With that said, beyond the fact that it’s apparently a “near future sci-fi film,” basically nothing else at all is known about True Love, outside of some casting information. Gemma Chan reportedly stars, alongside Allison Janney, Ken Watanabe, Ralph Ineson, John David Washington, and Sturgill Simpson among others. That would be a reunion of Edwards and Watanabe, given that he memorably appeared in Godzilla. We can’t wait to learn more on this one, and get a better idea of what Gareth Edwards has in store for us.
WishRelease date: Nov. 22, 2023
If you were hoping for a thoroughly conventional, old-school sort of Disney animated feature in 2023, it certainly looks like the company will have you covered via Wish. This feels very much like a film that could have come out in the 1980s or 1990s, following a teenage girl who wishes upon a star, only to have that star turn into an anthropomorphized character who helps her save her community. Or as the official synopsis puts it:
Wish follows 17-year-old Asha—an 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.
Asha is voiced by Hamilton vet and West Side Story Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, joined by goat sidekick Valentino voiced by … who else? … Alan Tudyk, continuing the long Disney running gag of Tudyk voicing beloved, unintelligible animals in pretty much every movie. Wish is directed by the team of Karen Disher, Steve Martino and Carlos López Estrada, from a screenplay by Tim Federle and Jennifer Lee. There hasn’t been any real footage of this one yet, but it’s not hard to imagine how it will look.
Aladdin: Live From the West EndRelease date: TBD
The filmed version of Hamilton was unsurprisingly a massive hit and major seller for Disney+ when it dropped, so it should surprise nobody that Disney wants to get some more big-budget Broadway spectacle on its service. And what could be better for the company than a production already focused around Disney IP? The Aladdin musical was filmed in the U.K. and will no doubt get a big push for families when Disney chooses to roll it out. Unfortunately, it’s still unclear when this will be—outlets have been reporting since 2020 that this musical was going to debut on Disney+, but it’s still never had a concrete release date.
CraterRelease date: TBD
A tear-jerking family sci-fi adventure film, Crater is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, from a screenplay by John Griffin, and is a Disney+ exclusive. The film stars Isaiah Russell-Bailey as a boy who has grown up on Earth’s moon in a mining colony, going on a journey of self-discovery with his friends that may relate to the death of his father. Or as the official synopsis puts it: “After his father’s death, a boy raised on a lunar mining colony goes on a journey exploring a mysterious crater with his four best friends before he is permanently relocated to another planet.”
Sounds to us like another Amblin-style, heart-tugging adventure in the vein of The Goonies or E.T.. Co-stars of Russell-Bailey include Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Mckenna Grace, along with Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce and Kid Cudi.
Three Men and a BabyRelease date: TBD
Disney+ is soon to be crawling with random, nostalgic reboots, and Three Men and a Baby is a perfect example. The original 1987 film starred Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, deriving most of its humor from misogynist tropes that men are incapable of caring for an infant. The new version, meanwhile, is directed by Mo Marable and reportedly stars Zac Efron, though the rest of the “men” haven’t yet been revealed. One wonders if the concept of men raising a child is really still considered fertile ground for much comedy, or whether the core concept will be evolving in a more significant way. Here’s hoping that at least one cast member will be capable of growing an appropriately Selleckian mustache. There hasn’t been much news on this project since the start of 2022, so its current status is unknown.
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident genre geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more film writing.