From a quirky new Wes Anderson release to big-budget blockbusters like Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Hollywood is teeing up a slew of new excuses for us all to venture out to our local multiplex this summer. These summer movies are the kind that deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and IMDb has just released its own slate of the most anticipated movies heading to your local cinema this summer (based on page views that all of these titles have racked up on the movie database).
IMDbPro’s MOVIEmeter rankings are updated weekly throughout the year, and we’ll take a closer look now at what the ranking shows for the most anticipated summer blockbusters — which includes the new movie from director Christopher Nolan that I’m so excited to go see in July.
IMDb’s Most Anticipated Summer Movies of 2023
A note about these summer movies below: All of them are set to be released between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend (May 26-September 3). Also, IMDb looked at the page views each of these titles received on IMDb between January 1 and May 15 to assemble the final list that you see below.
The Little Mermaid (May 26)
I have a theory about Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid that hits theaters this weekend and stars Halle Bailey in the title role.
Bailey’s casting, of course, sparked a racist backlash, but I actually think she’ll end up being the best thing about the remake. These live-action remakes often lose the magic and innocence of the original, and from the footage I’ve seen of the live-action characters like Sebastian and Flounder, there’s something that just feels… off about them.
Don’t get me wrong; this will absolutely be one of the biggest summer movies of the year. But for whatever fault people might find with the updated music and the way the live characters look, I just think that Halle — who’s beautiful and has a great singing voice and very much embodies the character — will perhaps be the one thing people won’t be able to knock about the movie.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2)
Moving right alone, the team behind the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel apparently has quite a long story to tell. According to AMC Theatres’ website, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has a runtime of two hours and 16 minutes, which would make this sequel one of the longest animated movies of all time.
“Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” reads the movie’s synopsis. “After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 9)
From the official synopsis of this next big summer movie, directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback: “Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new faction of Transformers — the Maximals — to join them as allies in the existing battle for earth.”
Asteroid City (June 23)
I doubt Wes Anderson’s new Asteroid City will supplant the affection I have for his prior film, The French Dispatch, considering it was about journalism. But I’m certainly going to check out this new one, regardless.
It will tell the story of a group of people who experience “world-changing events” in a fictional desert town in the 1950s. From the official synopsis:
The movie takes place in a fictional American desert town circa 1955. The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention (organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition) is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
The Flash (June 23)
According to TheWrap, the latest box office projections put DC’s upcoming The Flash at an opening tally of at least $75 million, which would be lower than the $134 million opening of The Batman in March 2022 but better than the $67 million opening of Black Adam as well as the $30.1 million opening of Shazam!: Fury of the Gods.
From the synopsis: “Worlds collide in The Flash when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for.”
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30)
Among the other big summer movies to be on the lookout for is the latest Indiana Jones sequel, with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny representing a milestone for the franchise for a number of reasons.
This latest sequel represents, among other things, not only Harrison Ford’s final performance in the title role; it’s also the first of the movies directed by someone other than Steven Spielberg. Moreover, the franchise remains key enough for Disney that it intends to make an Indiana Jones TV show for Disney+. Unfortunately, following its screening at Cannes this year, Indiana Jones 5 is now stuck with an early crop of bad reviews for more than a month — having earned itself a “Rotten” status so far on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 51% critics’ score so far based on 41 reviews.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (July 12)
Of all the summer movies on this list that deserve to be seen on a huge cinema screen, perhaps none deserve that as much as the upcoming installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
The spectacle and jaw-dropping set pieces are always massive and get your pulse racing, and involve star Tom Cruise generally putting himself into all sorts of extremely risky and wild scenarios (like hanging off the back of a plane that’s just taken off or riding a motorbike off the side of a cliff).
As for the story itself here, it’s not anything we haven’t seen before, really. Track down a deadly weapon. Keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Save the world. Rinse, repeat. That’s absolutely not meant as a criticism, though. On the contrary: It’s just that you already know what you’re getting with a film like the new Mission: Impossible: A rollicking good time at the movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.
Oppenheimer (July 21)
This, friends, is the summer movie that I’ve been counting down the days to.
Also, a quick note about this highly anticipated new release from director Christopher Nolan, which will tell the story of the father of the atomic bomb. As soon as I heard this was going to be Nolan’s next project, my mind immediately returned to his prior movie, Tenet. If you loved it as much as I did, perhaps you, too, will remember the way the scientist in the future who devised the reverse entropy technology at the heart of Tenet was described as “her generation’s Oppenheimer.”
To go from such a hyper-specific reference like that, to Oppenheimer now being the subject of his next project — maybe I’m reaching, but it sort of felt like maybe humanity grappling with weapons of existential terror and destruction has been on Nolan’s mind long before simply “oh, let’s make this the focus of my next picture.”
Either way, this summer movie — starring Cillian Murphy as the titular physicist who led the Manhattan Project — is the one I can’t wait for the most, and which I know we’ll all still be thinking about long after the credits roll.
Barbie (July 21)
What a contrast, meanwhile, to have this next one hit theaters on the same day as Nolan’s latest opus. Director Greta Gerwig’s movie starring Margot Robbie as the titular doll is awash in pink and vibrant pastels, with Barbie venturing out of her fantasy land and into the real world.
“To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place,” reads the movie’s official synopsis. “Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.”
Blue Beetle (August 18)
Blue Beetle is the end of an era for DC. It will be the last origin story set in this universe before DC Studios wipes the slate clean and starts fresh with Superman: Legacy in 2025.
The story follows recent college graduate Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) as he comes to terms with his new powers after acquiring an ancient alien relic known as the Scarab. After the Scarab chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is encased in a powerful suit of armor which puts him on a path to becoming the Blue Beetle.