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Top Five Most Promising Films of the Year

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Upcoming releases in 2023

2023 has been a year with an interesting crop of films to choose from so far; from Evil Dead Rise to John Wick: Chapter 4, many movies that have come out this year have dominated their first couple of weeks at the box office and shown that the movie theater is very much still an institution that people love and respect when there’s something worth seeing.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie made $1.279 billion dollars and John Wick: Chapter 4 made $429.5 million, all while earning positive reviews by both critics and fans alike. So, in keeping with the spirit of having new IPs do well upon release, here is a top 5 list of the most promising films releasing later this year that have the potential to do just as well as the most successful films released this year.

5. Elemental

A brand-new release from Pixar Studios, Elemental is an animated film that tells the tale of Ember Lumen and Wade Ripple, two fire and water entities that live in Element City, a place in which fire, air, earth and water beings all live together in harmony. Starring Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as the fire and water characters respectively, Elemental has the potential to revitalize Pixar after a bit of a slump in their recent filmography; 2020’s Soul, while well-received, did not break even at the box office and last year’s Lightyear was similarly disappointing in barely being able to make a profit. With Elemental, Pixar may just be able to break out of their box office slump and land back in the good graces of America’s audiences.

4. Wonka

Starring box-office draw Timothée Chamelet, Wonka is an upcoming feature from Warner Bros. Pictures that has Chamelet acting out the titular protagonist’s early exploits before acquiring his famous Chocolate Factory. Not much is known about the film other than that, but if the legacy of Willy Wonka and his previous box-office successes are anything to go by, this film will surely be a contender for one of the most lucrative releases of the year.

3. Dune: Part Two

Also starring Timothée Chamelet in the lead role, Dune: Part Two is the next entry in the Dune film series that follows the adventures of Paul Atreides after the events of the first film. Having joined the ranks of the Fremen on the planet Arrakis, Dune: Part Two will deal with Atreides’ plot for revenge against the conspirators who murdered his family in the first film, as well as his efforts to prevent a disaster that only he can see.

Based on the wildly popular book series, the rebooted Dune film series follows on the heels of the original 1984 film by David Lynch. While Lynch’s adaptation was ambitious in scope, it failed to capture audiences’ attention and the film series was left on the backburner until 2021’s Dune. With that film making $402 million on a budget of $165 million, the second film has everything going for it to be even more successful than the first, along with a story that fans of the series will undoubtedly want to see adapted onto the big screen carefully and faithfully.

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2. Oppenheimer

Directed by critical-darling Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is an upcoming biopic that deals with the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who is credited with being the “father” of the atomic bomb. With Cillian Murphy starring in the lead role, Oppenheimer is expected to follow in the footsteps of Nolan’s previous box-office successes Interstellar (2014) and Dunkirk (2017) and deliver a dramatic story that deals with the realities of the man it’s based on and the life he led as a conflicted contributor to what is certainly one of mankind’s most monstrous designs.

1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

At the number one spot is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the hotly anticipated sequel to 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse and the second entry in what will be a trilogy of Spider-Verse films. With the first film breaking records at the box office and pioneering an animation style that proved to be highly influential in the years since its release, Across the Spider-Verse will almost certainly continue Marvel’s hot-streak of box-office successes and bring about a revitalization of moviegoers similar to what The Super Mario Bros. Movie did earlier this year. With the film releasing on June 2, it won’t take long for it to prove why it is undoubtedly the most promising film of 2023.

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CUNY-graduate with a BA in Journalism. Dedicated to taking complex ideas and turning them into engaging and easy-to-understand stories.