2022 was an interesting year for Disney at the box office for The Walt Disney Company. Marvel Studios had the biggest success with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, all grossing over $750 million at the worldwide box office. 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: Way of Water has only been in theaters for a week now and has already crossed $1 billion. Their animated features from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar disappointed, but all found success on Disney+. To date, Disney has grossed over $2.4 billion at the box office in 2022.
Now, as we close out 2022, we look to 2023. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios are looking to build on the box office momentum as we still try to navigate the new age of moviegoing in a growing age of streaming. In the meantime, let’s take a look at Disney’s 2023 theatrical slate.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Marvel Studios)
Release: February 17
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfieffer, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Bill Murray
Marvel rings in 2023 with the third entry in the Ant-Man franchise. While the first two films did solid box office numbers, this one is expected to do massive numbers as the film will solidify Majors’ Kang the conqueror as the new “big bad guy” of the MCU. Superhero partners Scott Lang (Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Hank Pym (Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Pfeiffer), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible.
Chevalier (Searchlight Pictures)
Release: April 7
Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Marton Csokas, Alex Fitzalan, and Minnie Driver
Chevalier had its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2022 and won those in attendance over. In April, the world will finally get the chance to see the biographical drama film based on the life of the titular French-Caribbean musician Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The rise and resurgence of Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a French-Caribbean violinist and composer (sometimes referred to by the nickname “Black Mozart”) who rose to fame through his musical prodigy. But a complicated love life and the racism of the ancien regime leads to a falling out with Marie Antoinette and Saint-Georges realizes that things must change.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Marvel Studios)
Release: May 5
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Sean Gunn, Maria Bakalova, Chukwudi Iwuji
Director James Gunn directs his final Guardians project, as he now oversees DC Studios. Gunn is also saying this is the last of this team of Guardians. While speculation runs wild on who makes it out alive at the end of the movie, the trailer proved why the Guardians of the Galaxy is the most unique franchise in the MCU. Our beloved band of misfits are looking a bit different these days. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.
The Little Mermaid (Walt Disney Pictures)
Release: May 26
Starring: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina
In May, the wait is over, Disney’s newest live-action adaptation is finally here. The film is has been in development for years and has remained one of the studios’ most anticipated projects of all time. A recent test screening won audiences over with its stars Bailey and McCarthy, with new story points also being a major highlight. May has been a successful month at the box office for Disney, in 2019, Disney’s live-action Aladdin debuted and went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide, The Little Mermaid will look to continue the trend for Disney. The Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel (Bailey), the youngest daughter of King Triton (Bardem), the ruler of the underwater kingdom Atlantica. Ariel, already fascinated by the world of humans, falls deeply in love with the handsome Prince Eric (Hauer-King) after saving him during a shipwreck, and resolves to meet him in the world above water. Her quest brings her in conflict with her father and in the clutches of the scheming sea witch Ursula (McCarthy).
Release: June 16
Starring: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, more names to be announced at a later date
Pixar will look to reclaim its title as a box office juggernaut with Elemental. Footage and concept art was shown at Disney D23 Expo this past summer and wowed those in attendance. The film looks to explore elements, the same way it did with emotions Insider Out, which grossed over $850 million in 2015. In a city where fire, water, earth, 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 Destiny (Lucasfilm)
Release: June 30
Starring: Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Olivier Richters, Ethann Isidore, Mads Mikkelsen.
Harrison Ford bring out the whip one last time as the famed Indiana Jones. While the film is expected to close out Indy’s four-decade story, it is expected to start a new journey. The franchise has been a juggernaut at the box office and it is positioned to be one of 2023’s biggest. 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.
The Marvels (Marvel Studios)
Release: July 28
Starring: Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson
A sequel to Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel, The Marvels sees three female superhero leads, a first for the studio. Footage at Comic-Con and the D23 Expo was shown and was one of the biggest surprises for how fun and action-packed it looked. Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel and Carol’s estranged niece Captain Monica Rambeau. Together, this unlikely trio must team-up and learn to work in concert to save the universe as The Marvels.
Haunted Mansion (Walt Disney Picture)
Release: August 11
Starring: Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, Jared Leto, Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis
Haunted Mansion had a decent amount of footage at the D23 Expo and for me personally, this is my most anticipated movie of 2023. The footage showed a first look at the cast, as well as Madame Leota (Curtis), and the Hat Box Ghost (Leto), which had a pretty good jump scare, which made a lot in attendance jump out of their seats. The film follows Gabbie, a single mother, and her young son, who recently purchased a New Orleans estate at auction only to discover it isn’t quite as empty as they expected. Gabbie hires a grieving widower who works as a ghost tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a local historian to exorcise the vengeful spirit from the Haunted Mansion.
A Haunting in Venice (20th Century Studios)
Release: September 15
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Jude Hill, Kelly Reilly, Michelle Yeoh
A sequel to Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, Branagh is back as famed detective Hercule Poirot and as director. Hercule Poirot, now retired, must solve the murder of a guest at a séance he is in attendance for.
Next Goal Wins (Searchlight Pictures)
Release: September 22
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, Kaimana, Rhys Darby, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss
Director Taika Waititi is once again teaming with Searchlight Pictures, the pair found success with the critically acclaimed Jojo Rabbit. Say what you will about Thor: Love and Thunder, but when Waititi directs an original project he never misses. Dutch-American football coach Thomas Rongen (Fassbender) is tasked with turning the American Samoa national team, considered one of the weakest football teams in the world, into an elite squad.
True Love (20th Century Studios)
Release: October 6
Starring: John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ralph Ineson, Allison Janney, Ken Watanabe
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards is back working with The Walt Disney Company on a brand new science fiction pic. There are a good amount of people who believe Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, pair that with the fact it made over $1 billion at the box office, True Love with its stacked cast could see some solid numbers with proper marketing. Plot details are being kept under wraps.
Wish (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Release: November 22
Starring: Ariana DeBose, Alan Tudyk, with original music from Julia Michaels
One of the biggest surprises shown at the D23 Expo was Walt Disney Animation Studios’ next film Wish. Wish asks the question: “How did the wishing star, upon which so many Disney characters wished, come to be?” Set in the magical kingdom of Rosas, the story introduces Asha (voice of DeBose), an optimist with a sharp wit who deeply cares about her community. When Asha turns to the sky in a moment of need and makes a wish, her plea 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. While November in the past has been a successful month for Walt Disney Animation Studios, more recently it has been rougher waters. 2021’s Encanto, only found its success once it landed on Disney+, and this year’s pic Strange World was a box office bomb. With the footage we were shown for Wish, the studio could come back to its dominant roots in the genre.
Disney is expected to release a 2022 press kit soon, so we here at The DisInsider will update this story with all the updated information on all these projects if provided.
Have a safe and happy New Year and we will see you all in 2023!