Movie theaters are already heating up this summer with blockbusters like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse earning rave reviews — but this is only the beginning. The summer movies for 2023 promise to give us everything from game-changing superhero movies to quirky comedies to a Sundance Film Festival winner that’ll forever change how you look at the kids in your drama club.
Want to start planning which movies need to be on your much-watch list? Here’s a selection of some of the hottest flicks to light up your summer nights.
22 Summer Films to Heat Up Your Movie Nights
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2)
Loved seeing all the Spider-Men (and women, and pigs, and Japanese anime girls) from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)? Then you’ll have a blast watching Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) meet an entire “Spider-Society” of spider-punks, horses, cars, and vampire-ninjas in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Miles even goes up against a “Spider-Cat” who shoots web hairballs from its mouth. And you thought that online video of a cat playing Chopsticks with chopsticks was weird.
2. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 9)
But we’re more blown away by the fact that SNL alum Pete Davidson got cast as the voice of hip Autobot Mirage. Clearly, there’s more to this King of Staten Island than his BDE.
3. The Blackening (June 16)
By this point, the horror movie trope of killing off the African-American member of a group first has been done so many times, it’s become as cliché as it is offensive. So, director Tim Story took that idea and made a whole movie about it with the tagline “We can’t all die first.”
In it a group of Black friends gets trapped in a cabin in the woods by a masked killer who demands they rank each other by degree of “blackness” to decide the correct order to kill them. Yep.
Expect plenty of eye-raising off-color jokes in this horror-movie comedy that’s a bit like Cabin in the Woods-meets-Scary Movie. And a number of reasons why staying at home is a perfectly good alternative to camping.
4. Elemental (June 16)
While different elementals tend to keep to their own kind, that all changes when fire element Ember (Leah Lewis) discovers she’s perfect for water element Wade (Mamoudou Athie)… aside from the fact that they can’t touch without destroying each other. Kind of like us and houseplants.
5. The Flash (June 16)
The DCEU has been struggling to find its footing over the last decade, with somber films like Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013) giving way to comedic takes on DC like James Wan’s Aquaman (2018) and David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! (2019). However, things are really going to get nuts this summer when Ezra Miller’s Flash completely breaks the DC Universe by going back in time to save his mother.
His actions rewrite a lot of past movie history by erasing heroes like Superman while also bringing back classic heroes like Michael Keaton’s Batman. It may have taken over thirty years, but Keaton fans are finally getting the closest thing to his Batman 3 — and we’re here for it! With extra popcorn, obviously.
6. No Hard Feelings (June 17)
People do weird things to get a date these days, but we’re betting your parents never posted an ad on Craigslist offering their car in exchange for dating you. Sounds crazy, but the Uber driver who answers the ad looks just like Jennifer Lawrence. Yet another reason not to use Tinder.
7. Asteroid City (June 23)
Well, that might be the case in Asteroid City, which follows a group of students and parents who attend a 1955 Junior Stargazer convention in a desert town that may be getting some out-of-this-world visitors.
After seeing Anderson’s other movies, we wouldn’t have been surprised if these ETs were stop-motion puppets who came to Earth to get away from their dysfunctional families and track down the evil Jaguar whale that killed their friend. But can it be a TikTok trend?
8. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30)
Look, we really want to pretend there are only three Indiana Jones movies. And, yet, they keep making them.
Because apparently, when destiny calls, adventurer/archeology professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) answers — even when his college is forcing him to retire after he voices his opposition to having former Nazis in the U.S. Space Program. Does tenure mean nothing?!
Still, not having to grade papers does free up some time to help his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) search for the Antikythera, and ancient Greek mechanism which may hold the key to helping NASA win the Space Race.
Naturally the evil Nazis want it, too. Here’s hoping she’s bringing along the hot priest for the adventure.
9. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (June 30)
The Little Mermaid meets The Princess Diaries when shy teenager Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) learns she’s descended from a long line of warrior Kraken queens and is set to inherit the throne from her grandmother.
While all Ruby wants to do is fit in with the other kids at Oceanside High, she must get in touch with her kraken powers and face-off against snobby mermaid-turned-human Chelsea Van Der Zee (Annie Murphy). We’ll say it. Release the kraken, Ruby!
10. Insidious: The Red Door (July 7)
The fifth entry in the Insidious franchise, Insidious: The Red Door follows the Lambert family as they continue warding off evil spirits who want to possess their bodies and return to the land of the living.
Maybe they should try turning their bodies into timeshares. Those annual maintenance fees would make any demon think twice before diving in.
11. Joy Ride (July 7)
Four Asian-American friends go on a journey of discovery as they travel across China looking for one of their birth mothers. Sounds like a heartwarming episode of Finding Your Roots — until you realize this road trip movie was made by the producers of Neighbors (2014) and the co-screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians (2018). If you liked Bridesmaids or The Hangover, Joy Ride is a must watch.
Then you’ll understand why this group, which includes straightlaced Audrey (Ashley Park), soap star Kat (Stephanie Hsu), “hot mess” Lolo (Sherry Cola), and Lolo’s eccentric cousin “Deadeye” (Sabrina Wu), decide to find themselves by posing as K-Pop stars and smuggling coke in hard-to-reach places.
Hey, you need to learn who you’re not before discovering who you are, right?
12. Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One (July 10)
At this point, is there any stunt Tom Cruise won’t do in a Mission Impossible movie? If the trailers are any indication — which show Cruise riding a motorcycle off a cliff right before performing a base jump — then the answer is a resounding, “No!”
While Cruise will probably survive the fall (this is only part one, after all), the same might not be true for the other members of his IMF team, including Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) who are all trying to stop a doomsday weapon that threatens the whole world.
Expect plenty of cool gadgets, tense stand-offs, and more face mask peels than your last spa visit.
13. Theater Camp (July 14)
So, this one time, at theater camp…founder Joan (Amy Sedaris) fell into a coma and her crypto-bro son Troy (Jimmy Tatro) had to rally the camp’s young performers into producing a stage masterpiece in three weeks. Too bad Troy doesn’t know the difference between a “straight play” and a musical.
This indie film won accolades at Sundance and promises to let us relive all our happy memories of belting out showtunes and dancing our hearts out on the stage. Or, you know, watching other people do that.
14. Barbie (July 21)
She’s a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…at least until she’s expelled from Barbieland for being less-than-perfect and goes off on a journey to find happiness. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the song, but it does sound like a great plot for a movie directed by Greta Gerwig.
While Margot Robbie headlines the film as the titular Barbie, the movie also features several other Barbie dolls. Not to be outdone, we’ll also see several versions of Ken dolls in the story played by Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Scott Evans, Ncuti Gatwa, and John Cena… who’s apparently been cast as “Mermaid Ken.”
Was Jason Momoa not available?
15. Oppenheimer (July 21)
Did you know tourists used to travel to Las Vegas to watch nuclear warheads being detonated in the desert during the 1950s? To be fair, they didn’t have Game of Thrones to keep them entertained.
These days, we get to watch our nuclear Armageddon in an air-conditioned IMAX theater when Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer — a biopic about the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weapons — hits theaters this summer.
16. Haunted Mansion (July 28)
Anyone remember the 2003 The Haunted Mansion movie starring Eddie Murphy? Yeah, neither do we.
Even so, Disney’s decided to resurrect some of those 999 spooks from the famous Disneyland ride for a reboot starring Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Jared Leto, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Lightning McQueen, the Penguin, Joker, and the original Final Girl all in one film? Sounds like a hair-raising experience to us. Or that’s just the humidity.
17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (August 2)
After hearing Johnny Knoxville voice Leonardo in Michael Bay’s 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, we didn’t think the Turtles could get any weirder. Thankfully, they decided to go with Jackie Chan and not Steve-O as the Turtles’ giant rat sensei Splinter for this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
Unfortunately, since this film’s animated, we probably won’t be seeing Splinter displaying Chan’s kung fu moves… but you never know. This is a movie that sees four mutant turtles take on a giant fly played by Ice Cube, after all.
18. Meg 2: The Trench (August 4)
Every generation seems to have a film that encourages people not to go to the beach. The 70s had Jaws. 2010 had Piranha 3D.
Now, Meg 2: The Trench brings a trio of prehistoric Megalodons — each large enough to swallow a T-Rex whole — to a beach party. Still sounds less painful than waiting in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
19. Gran Turismo (August 11)
People who claim you’ll never get anywhere by playing video games should meet Jann Mardenborough. This Gran Turismo racing gamer learned he could transfer his PS3 skills onto a real race track when he was discovered by the GT Academy and became a professional race car driver. This summer, you’ll get to see his story play out on the big screen as a once-ordinary gamer rides his path to fame and fortune.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we need to go practice our Mario Kart skills. Fame and fortune, you say?
20. The Last Voyage of the Demeter (August 11)
There are several things people must do when taking a long sea voyage. Take motion sickness pills. Tip your porter. And, make sure Dracula isn’t one of the passengers.
Sadly, for the crew of the merchant ship Demeter, this last tip must have slipped their minds since they end up being devoured one-by-one by the infamous vampire during the entire trip. No telling who lives and who dies, but seeing as the movie title is The Last Voyage of the Demeter, our bets are on the bat.
21. Blue Beetle (August 18)
Some superheroes build armored suits in a cave like Tony Stark. Not Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña). One of DC’s newest movie superheroes, he gets his powers when he bonds with the Scarab, an alien relic he finds in a Big Belly Burger box.
And here we thought McDonalds’ Happy Meals had all the best prizes.
22. Stray (August 18)
You know all those heartwarming movies like Lassie, Come Home (1943) or The Incredible Journey (1963) that follow lost pets who journey across the country to reunite with their beloved owners? Yeah, that’s not what Strays is about.
Instead, this movie follows Border Terrier Reggie (Will Ferrell) who gets abandoned by his selfish, drug-addict owner Doug (Will Forte), and subsequently teams up with other strays so he can track Doug down and bite his treasured jewels off. Along the way, they cuss, drink, and partake in the joys of magic mushrooms.
So, yeah — definitely not the movie to take your kid to (although it may provide some extra incentive to treat Fido better).
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