2023 Holiday Movie Preview

A breakdown of the best holiday movies 2023 has to offer, from The Marvels and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes to Maestro, Napoleon, Wonka, and more.

by | November 2, 2023 | Comments



Directed by: Reginald Hudlin
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jillian Bell, Tracee Ellis Ross
Release Date: December 1, 2023

Eddie Murphy headlines this holiday comedy about a family man who, in a desperate bid to win his neighborhood’s Christmas decoration contest, ends up making a deal he regrets with a magical elf.

Directed by:
William Oldroyd
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Thomasin McKenzie
Release Date: December 1, 2023 (limited)

Lady Macbeth director William Oldroyd’s sophomore feature stars Thomasin McKenzie as a 1960s woman working at a prison who begins to discover new things about herself when a glamorous new counselor (Anne Hathaway) arrives.

Directed by:
Takashi Yamazaki
Starring: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Takashi Yamazaki
Release Date: December 1, 2023 (limited)

The latest chapter in the decades-old Japanese Godzilla saga — completely separate from the ongoing Monsterverse, we might add — is a standalone film set in post-WWII Japan, where the titular kaiju emerges and wreaks havoc across the country.

Directed by:
 Nadia Lee Cohen
Starring: Beyoncé
Release Date: December 1, 2023

Not content to sit back and let Taylor Swift take all the shine this year, Beyoncé releases her own live concert film to offer fans a front-row seat experience. Similar to Swift, Beyoncé is bypassing the typical studio distribution system and working directly with theaters to release the film.

Directed by:
John Woo
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Scott Mescudi, Catalina Sandino Moreno
Release Date: December 1, 2023

Last year we had Violent Night, and this year we’ve got Silent Night. Legendary action director John Woo helms his first American film since 2003’s Paycheck, this time enlisting Joel Kinnaman to play a grieving father who seeks revenge on the men whose gang shootout cost him his young son… and his voice.

Directed by:
Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Christian Bale, Luca Padovan, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe
Release Date: December 8, 2023

Purportedly Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki’s final film (but we’ve heard that before, right?), this fantasy adventure follows a young boy who moves to a small town and discovers an abandoned tower nearby that serves as a gateway to a magical world.

Directed by:
Mahalia Belo
Starring: Jodie Comer, Joel Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Katherine Waterston
Release Date: December 8, 2023 (limited)

Based on the novel of the same name, this survival drama set in an alternate London where and ecological catastrophe has resulted in mass flooding stars Jodie Comer as a new mother trying to escape the city with her infant.

Directed by:
Cord Jefferson
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody
Release Date: December 15, 2023 (limited)

Writer-director Cord Jefferson makes his feature debut with this satire based on the 2001 novel Erasure. Jeffrey Wright stars as a struggling author frustrated with the way Black entertainment is exploited who writes an over-the-top “Black” book under a pen name and suffers unexpected consequences. This film won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered in September.

Directed by:
Simon Cellan Jones
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Zoe Colletti, Van Crosby, Saïd Taghmaoui, Maggie Q, Ciarán Hinds
Release Date: December 15, 2023 (Apple TV+)

Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan star in this family action comedy about a car salesman (Wahlberg) who takes his family on an impromptu road trip to Las Vegas when his past life as an elite assassin catches up with him.

Directed by:
Paul King
Starring: Timothée Chalamet
Release Date: December 15, 2023

If you ever wondered what Willy Wonka was like when he was young, wonder no more, because Warner Bros., Paddington director Paul King, and star Timothée Chalamet are about to show you. If that doesn’t already whet your appetite for sweet treats, then this movie probably isn’t for you.

Directed by:
Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Christian Friedel, Sandra Hüller
Release Date: December 15, 2023 (limited)

Jonathan Glazer isn’t one to crank out a run-of-the-mill popcorn flick, and this one is sure to ruffle some feathers. Christian Friedel (The White RibbonAmour Fou) and Sandra Hüller (Toni ErdmannAnatomy of a Fall) star as a Nazi commandant in charge of Auschwitz and his wife, who attempt to “build a dream life” in a house right next to the camp.

Directed by:
James Wan
Starring: James Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, Temuera Morrison, Ben Affleck
Release Date: December 20, 2023

Despite the fact James Gunn has already announced his plans for the new DC Universe, we still have one more remnant of the Snyderverse to look forward to. Jason Momoa returns in this sequel that finds Aquaman squaring off once again with Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) with the help of his bro-nemy Orm (Patrick Wilson).

Directed by:
Andrew Haigh
Starring: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, Jamie Bell
Release Date: December 22, 2023

Andrew Haigh’s adaptation of the 1987 novel Strangers stars Andrew Scott as a London man who begins a relationship with a neighbor (Paul Mescal) and is drawn back to his hometown, where he discovers what appear to be his dead parents still living in his childhood home.

Directed by:
Will Gluck
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell
Release Date: December 22, 2023

The teaser alone was enough to set the internet on fire when it debuted, and for good reason. You’ve got Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell looking fantastic in a goofy romantic comedy about a mismatched pair who pretend to be a couple at a destination wedding. What more do you need?

Directed by:
Sean Durkin
Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickenson, Stanley Simons, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James
Release Date: December 22, 2023

Sean Durkin follows up a pair of acclaimed films (Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Nest) with this based-on-true-events story about the Von Erich family, who found success in the professional wrestling world in the 1960s. It also doesn’t hurt that it stars people like Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Lily James, and more.

Directed by:
George Clooney
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Callum Turner, Chris Diamantopoulos, Sam Strike, Luke Slattery, Jack Mulhern
Release Date: December 25, 2023

George Clooney’s latest directorial effort comes in the form of an inspirational sports movie adapted from a non-fiction book about the University of Washington rowing team that competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Directed by:
Blitz Bazawule
Starring: Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Ciara, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Batiste
Release Date: December 23, 2022 (limited)

How’s this for layers? Blitz Bazawule’s (Black Is King) coming-of-age musical is based on the stage production of the same name, which itself is based on the classic 1982 Alice Walker novel. But who’s doing the “musical” part of it? Oh, just people like Fantasia, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., Jon Batiste, and Ciara, among others.

Directed by:
Michael Mann
Starring: Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley
Release Date: December 25, 2023

After serving as executive producer on 2019’s Ford v Ferrari, Michael Mann now offers up his own take on at least one half of that story. Adam Driver stars in the film as autosports legend Enzo Ferrari, specifically in 1957, as he deals with both personal and professional challenges and enters his racing team into the iconic Italian race known as the Mille Miglia.

See November

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