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Winter Movie Preview 2023

Get the ultimate guide to the best of what’s coming to screens this season

spinner image julia roberts and ethan hawke in a scene from the film leave the world behind, joaquin phoenix stars in napoleon and taraji p henson in the color purple
(Left to right) Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke in "Leave the World Behind," Joaquin Phoenix in "Napoleon" and Taraji P. Henson in "The Color Purple."
Jojo Whilden/Netflix; Apple TV+; Ser Baffo/Warner Bros. Pictures

The days grow cold and dark — but the winter movie outlook is getting brighter! Hollywood is coming back to life, and many of what are apt to be the best films of the year are coming to screens big and small. Check this page regularly, since some movies could get bumped to next year, and other good ones may be added to the schedule. Put these on your calendar, and don’t forget to pass the popcorn!

Coming in October

Killers of the Flower Moon (in theaters Oct. 20)

In the 1920s, the world’s wealthiest people per capita were Oklahoma’s oil-rich Osage — but cattle baron and philanthropist William “King” Hale (played by Robert De Niro, 80) had a plan to murder and rob the Native Americans, and perhaps his dimwit nephew (Leonardo DiCaprio, 48) was mixed up in it. It was the first big case for FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and now it’s a 3½-hour prestige movie by Martin Scorsese, 80.

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Sight (in theaters Oct. 27)

Ming Wang, M.D., 63, escaped from Mao’s China to America with $50 in his pocket, got degrees from Harvard and MIT, and as a laser eye surgeon helped improve vision for thousands, including Charlie Daniels, Naomi Judd and Nicole Kidman, 56. He’s played by Terry Chen, 48 (Almost Famous), with Little Miss Sunshine’s Greg Kinnear, 60, as his friend and mentor Misha Bartnovsky.

Pain Hustlers (on Netflix Oct. 27)

If you liked The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street, try this flick about high-stakes crime and ghastly greed. Oppenheimer star Emily Blunt, 40, plays a desperately unemployed single mom recruited by a pharmaceutical firm to hawk deadly drugs in a racketeering scheme. Costars include Catherine O’Hara, 69 (Schitt’s Creek), and Andy Garcia, 67. Though it’s directed by Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts auteur David Yates, 59, it’s not entirely fantasy: It’s loosely inspired by the 2019 Insys Therapeutics scandal.

Coming in November

Priscilla (in theaters Nov. 3)

Over-50 viewers made Elvis a $288 million hit. Now his widow, Priscilla Presley, 78, and cowriter-director Sofia Coppola, 52, tell her side of the legendary love story, with Cailee Spaeny and Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi as the Presleys.

Rustin (in theaters Nov. 3, on Netflix Nov. 17)

Producers Barack Obama, 62, and Michelle Obama, 59, present the story of civil rights giant Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo, 53), whose expert organizing made Rosa Parks famous. Remember Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech? Rustin was a driving force to make that historic demonstration a reality. But Rustin was gay, attacked by pro- and anti-segregationists alike, and died largely forgotten. The all-star cast includes Jeffrey Wright, 57, as Rustin’s nemesis Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Chris Rock, 58, as Roy Wilkins, Audra McDonald, 53, as Ella Baker and NCIS: New OrleansCCH Pounder, 70, as Anna Hedgeman.

The Holdovers (in theaters Nov. 3)

Director Alexander Payne, 62, made star Paul Giamatti, 56, famous in their 2005 wine-country comedy Sideways. They reunite in a record-setting Toronto Film Festival hit about a curmudgeon (Giamatti’s specialty) who teaches at a New England prep school and is stuck on campus to babysit a few students over Christmas break.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (in theaters Nov. 17)

The prequel to the 2012 film about youngsters forced to battle each other to the death in a totalitarian future will be a hit with kids, but it also boasts great grownup stars: Peter Dinklage, 54, as the Games’ inadvertent inventor Casca Highbottom and The Woman King’s Viola Davis, 58, as the cruel head Gamemaker Dr. Volumnia Gaul.

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Napoleon (in theaters Nov. 22, on Apple TV+ later)

Remember how good Joaquin Phoenix, 48, was in Ridley Scott’s 2000 Gladiator? They reunite in Scott’s passion project, a biopic about the pint-size French military giant. Besides epic battle scenes, it’s about his skirmishes with his big-spending, unfaithful wife Josephine (Mission: Impossible star Vanessa Kirby, 35).

Maestro (in theaters Nov. 22)

This biopic about conductor and West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper, 48) and his Costa Rica–born wife, Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), has a passel of maestros behind it: Cooper directs himself (as he did in 2018’s A Star Is Born); he produces the film along with Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, 76; and he cowrote it with Josh Singer, 51 (The West Wing; Spotlight). Sarah Silverman, 52, plays Lenny’s little sister, Shirley.

Leave the World Behind (in theaters Nov. 22, on Netflix Dec. 8)

Producers Barack and Michelle Obama present a thriller about a couple (Julia Roberts, 55, and Ethan Hawke, 52), their ritzy Airbnb host (Mahershala Ali) and a doomsday prepper (Kevin Bacon, 65) whose paranoia seems appropriate as a massive cyberattack devastates America.

Coming in December

Freud’s Last Session (in theaters Dec. 7)

The film’s debate between Sigmund Freud (Anthony Hopkins, 85) and C.S. Lewis (Downton Abbey’s Matthew Goode) never happened, but it illuminates the men’s influential lives and ideas.

The Zone of Interest (in theaters Dec. 8)

The year’s most-buzzed-about foreign actress, Sandra Hüller, plays the “Queen of Auschwitz,” the wife of Nazi commander Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), who tends to her kids in an Edenic garden lit by the crematoria yards away.

American Fiction (in theaters Dec. 15)

In a barbed comedy that’s also a heartwarming drama, a curmudgeonly professor (Jeffrey Wright) is aghast when his book satirizing gangsta stereotypes becomes a bestseller, and struggles to find a nursing home for his dementia-afflicted mom (Leslie Uggams, 80).

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The Color Purple (in theaters Dec. 25)

This adaptation of the hit Broadway musical based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Alice Walker, 79, adds a dash of magical realism to a fiction deeply rooted in the reality of rural Georgia in the early 1900s.

Ferrari (in theaters Dec. 25)

Miami Vice producer Michael Mann, 80, presents a biopic about Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) in 1957, when he almost lost his company, drivers died in his race cars, and he tried to keep his mistress’s child a secret from his wife and business partner (Penélope Cruz) after their own son had died.

The Boys in the Boat (in theaters Dec. 25)

George Clooney, 62, directs a Chariots of Fire–like film about the first televised Olympics in 1936, when Seattle’s working-class rowing team’s upset victory humiliated Hitler.

Coming in January

The Electric State (on Netflix Jan. 5)

For this sci-fi flick about a civil war between humans and robots, Avengers movie directors the Russo brothers cast their Everything Everywhere All at Once star Ke Huy Quan, 52, Succession’s Brian Cox, 77. Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, 64, and Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, 65.

The Underdoggs (in theaters Jan. 26)

If you liked The Bad News Bears, try this comedy starring Snoop Dogg, 51, as an NFL hero offered a choice: prison or a job coaching youth football.

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