It’s two weeks into 2023. Netflix has already released a Christian Bale-led Netflix Original Film, trailers for upcoming projects from the likes of Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, Ashton Kutcher, and Reese Witherspoon, plus a date for the much anticipated Adam Sandler sequel, Murder Mystery 2.
We think it’s safe to say that the streaming giant isn’t slowing down this year.
So far, we have some guarantees about the content Netflix will release this year. Around this time last year, Netflix released a sizzle reel that featured at least 5 films with big stars that never arrived on the platform in 2022.
So, with all fingers and toes crossed, let’s check out my Top 5 Most Anticipated Netflix Original Films that we hope to see in 2023.
Editor’s note: To see a weekly rundown of the most anticipated movies via IMDb data, click here. All release dates and windows are subject to change.
Director: Johan Renck
Didn’t I already mention an upcoming Adam Sandler Netflix movie in the form of Murder Mystery 2?! Well, here is another one, but this time The Sandman gets a little more serious following up his latest Netflix drama Hustle which recently landed him a Screen Actors Guild Nomination for Lead Actor.
Based on the novel “Spaceman of Bohemia” by Jaroslav Kalfar, this sci-fi adventure sees Sandler as a small-time Czech scientist named Jakub Prochazka who becomes the country’s first astronaut.
When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him the chance at heroism, he’s dreamt of and a way to atone for his father’s sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love he realizes too late he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond.
As if a Czech-accented Sandler & an imaginary alien spider isn’t enough, the film’s cast also includes current Award Season contenders Carey Mulligan (She Said, Promising Young Woman) & Paul Dano (The Fabelmans, The Batman), as well as Italian acting royalty Isabella Rossellini.
Sandler has repeatedly shown me that he can act in high-powered dramas (Uncut Gems, The Meyerowitz Stories, Hustle), so I have high hopes that he will come through again.
Director: Gareth Evans
Very few directors can say they changed the way a certain film genre can be made. I believe writer/director Gareth Evans can lay claim to that statement after his 2011 action masterpiece The Raid: Redemption brought a brutal, close-quartered, precisely choreographed style that has been mimicked by many in the decade since its release. Netflix’s Daredevil series and Chris Hemsworth-led hit Extraction are just a couple of examples of productions in the genre to apply the techniques of Evans’ stunningly vicious style.
It’s been 5 years since Evans made a feature film, and now he returns with an action thriller with all the hallmarks of being exactly what we want from him.
The story is set after a drug deal gone wrong when a bruised detective must fight through a criminal underworld to rescue a politician’s estranged son while unraveling a deep web of corruption and conspiracy that ensnares his entire city.
In an elite-level casting choice, Evans has tapped hard-boiled action star Tom Hardy (Inception, Dark Knight Rises, Venom) to take on the lead role alongside welcomed veterans Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Forest Whitaker (Rogue One), & Luis Guzman (Wednesday).
After 2 Raid films and a solid Netflix Original in 2018’s Apostle, the bar is set very high for this one. Don’t let me down, Mr. Evans.
3. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Director: Wes Anderson
In one of two Wes Anderson movies to be released in 2023 (the other Asteroid City), The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar brings Anderson back to the world of Roald Dahl as he adapts his work once again following the success of 2009’s Oscar Nominated animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Based on a book containing several stories, the film will follow only one tale that will focus on Henry Sugar, an independently wealthy man who enjoys gambling who can see through objects and predict the future with the help of a book he stole.
Known for his impressively deep casts, Anderson has enlisted Doctor Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, to play the titular role alongside Dev Patel (The Green Knight), Ralph Fiennes (The Menu), Sir Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3), Rupert Friend (Obi-Wan Kenobi), & Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd).
Unlike the previous Netflix Roald Dahl adaption, 2022’s Matilda The Musical, Henry Sugar is more known to be on the happier side of Dahl’s ledger as opposed to his reputation from critics as the “master of nastiness.”
Known for drowning his films in minutiae (in the best of ways), Anderson is one of the best at character design & world-building. I look forward to what he can do with this mystical yet ethical & philosophical story.
Director: Bradley Cooper
Becoming a director is a rare feat after starting your career as an actor. It is even more remarkable to be talented & accomplished in both fields.
No doubt, inspired by his director in 2014’s Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper, Bradley Cooper has joined the elite company as his directorial debut in 2018’s A Star Is Born was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for his own performance in the film.
Determined to prove he can do it again, Cooper decided his next directorial venture would set its sights on one of the most important & prolific American conductors, West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein.
Co-written by Cooper & Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight), the story focuses on the complex love between Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre, from when they met in 1946 at a party and continuing through two engagements, a 25-year marriage and three children.
Besides writing, directing, & producing, Cooper will take on the role of Bernstein himself. With him will be a stellar ensemble of Maya Hawke, Sarah Silverman, Matt Bomer, & Carey Mulligan as Bernstein’s partner Felicia.
Considering the prominent subject and the immense talent behind and in front of the camera, this will likely be Netflix’s best chance at Oscars glory in 2024.
1. The Killer
Director: David Fincher
David Fincher is back doing gritty crime dramas, and the world of cinema rejoiced.
Teaming back up with his Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (8mm, Windfall), the master of mood & mania is turning his gaze to the world of a professional assassin.
Based on the French graphic novel of the same name, The Killer is a case study of a man alone, armed to the teeth and slowly losing his mind. It’s a brutal, bloody and stylish noir story that focuses on a trained killer who begins to psychologically crack as he develops a conscience, even as his clients continue to demand his skills.
An inspired, spiritual follow-up to his work on Mindhunter, Fincher has been rumored to have wanted this adaptation for nearly 20 years. This is the 2nd of a four film exclusive deal Fincher struck with Netflix before making Mank back in 2020.
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, Inglourious Basterds) stars in his first film in 4 years as The Killer. The cast includes Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, Doctor Strange) & Charles Parnell (Top Gun: Maverick).
While the film may not chase awards season honors like Mank, we can only hope that Fincher adds another dark, twisted tale to his mantle of masterpieces with this one.
- Rustin (Dir. George C. Wolfe)
- Shirley (Dir. John Ridley)
- Extraction 2 (Dir. Sam Hargrave)
- Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Dir. Sam Fell)