There’s nothing quite like the return of a beloved auteur to get the cinephile’s juices flowing. Or the next installment in one of the century’s biggest franchises. Or paparazzi photos of Barbie and Ken. Or an overprotective doll. Which means 2023’s cup overfloweth for moviegoers of every stripe — the perfect opportunity to convene the Los Angeles Times’ entertainment team to highlight the movies we’re most excited to see this year.

Grab some popcorn and Raisinets and get ready for a night at the movies. Or, in this case, 19 of ’em.

‘M3GAN’ (Jan. 6)

January is traditionally a dumping ground for bad films, but buzz has built steadily around the release of this horror film since its trailer dropped several months ago. The film revolves around a scientist who develops a lifelike android child as a “friend” for her traumatized orphaned niece. M3GAN seems like the perfect companion and responds obediently to her creator’s commands. But soon the creation starts taking her duty of protecting her playmate a little too seriously — and violently. After a year that produced strong horror fare such as “Smile” and “Barbarian,” this creepfest from producers Jason Blum and James Wan (“Annabelle”) looks like it will kick off 2023 with a lot of screams in dark theaters. — Greg Braxton

‘80 for Brady’ (Feb. 3)

Weeks ago, we were hit with headlines like “Can ‘Avatar 2’ revive the moviegoing experience?” I won’t attempt to wade into that conversation, but knowing Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field are starring in a film together, in this case “80 for Brady” — just months apart from “Book Club 2,” no less — might be the best cinematic gift 2023 has to offer. Inspired by a true story, four longtime besties who idolize Tom Brady, the onetime quarterback of the New England Patriots (and a producer on the film), set out on a road trip to Houston to watch him and the team play in Super Bowl LI. The ladies-of-a-certain-age romp might not be appealing to Gisele Bündchen, but the trailer has Moreno’s character doing enough drugs to hallucinate that she’s become Guy Fieri — and that’s the sort of technical achievement I’m willing to watch multiple times. So maybe cinema is saved. — Yvonne Villarreal

‘Magic Mike’s Last Dance’ (Feb. 10)

There are few movie tropes more satisfying than the grizzled veteran getting roped into one ... last ... job ... — so count on Steven Soderbergh to dress it in a G-string, slap it on the ass and send it out onstage to be showered in dollar bills. Or, in this case, pounds sterling: The third film in Soderbergh’s male-stripper-verse finds Mike Lane (Channing Tatum, still ripped at 42) swept off to London by his well-to-do paramour (Salma Hayek) for a final performance. Little else has been announced about the plot, but when was “Magic Mike” ever about plot? According to Soderbergh, the film culminates in a 30-minute (!) dance sequence. Before the Busby Berkeley of booty, there’s only one option: Buy your ticket and bow down. — Matt Brennan

‘A Good Person’ (March 24)

Yes, yes, I am interested to see a film written and directed by Zach Braff and starring Florence Pugh because they dated and I am a flawed human. I also love Morgan Freeman. But mostly I feel like it is time we started dealing with all the grief we have experienced recently in a cleansing way, and this seems like a good old-fashioned weepie. — Mary McNamara

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ (March 24)

“John Wick: Chapter 4” finally battles its way onto screens in March, which is excellent news for fans of Keanu Reeves, fight cinema and the sleek world of luxury-clad assassins that has come to define one of Hollywood’s most consistent action franchises. Through “John Wick” (2014), “John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017) and “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019), the eponymous ex-hitman has seen his briefly peaceful retirement blown to bits, been pulled back into the killing game and found himself facing off against the entire criminal underworld. (We’ve come a long way from the simple, heartwarming tale of a guy avenging his beloved puppy.) With series director Chad Stahelski back at the helm after a four-year wait, including pandemic delays, “Chapter 4” continues Wick’s quest to take on the shadowy High Table now hunting him, introducing a murderer’s row of action stars to the mix in Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Scott Adkins (“Undisputed”) and Marko Zaror (“Redeemer”). Later in 2023, the full-blown “John Wick” cinematic universe will unfold further with the spinoff “Ballerina,” starring Ana de Armas as a death-dealing dancer. Pour yourself a glass of Blanton’s bourbon — J.W.’s drink of choice — and mark your calendars for a pre-summer action fix. — Jen Yamato

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ (April 7)

The question surrounding Nintendo’s latest attempt to give Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach a life outside of video games has nothing to do with Chris Pratt’s Mario voice. It’s simpler: Who is Mario? Mario, the game character, is whoever Nintendo needs him to be, a symbol more than a personality. He’s a plump plumber with pluck and know-how, as adept at driving fast racing karts as he is playing tennis and golf, or running and jumping through fantastical worlds. Unlike the “Sonic the Hedgehog” films, this animated work will bring us into Mario’s world, one blissfully updated for modern times (Princess Peach is apparently no damsel in distress here), and one that for more than 35 years has been enticing, wild and fun. There’s no doubt people want to visit it, but will Mario be as fun to watch as he is to play? — Todd Martens

‘Fast X’ (May 19)

Dominic Toretto and company hit a milestone this summer with “Fast X,” the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise — not too shabby for a humble L.A. street racing crew that started out stealing DVD players from speeding semitrucks and, 20 years later, has given us some of the most over-the-top macho soap-operatics Hollywood has ever seen, on- and off-screen. After longtime helmer Justin Lin’s exit one week into production, where does Universal’s $1.4 billion global moneymaker stand? Will it continue to veer into fan service, adding ever more expendable characters to its already sprawling cast of racers, hackers, operatives, frenemies and villains, in a bid to set up an epic, series-ending “Fast 11”? Will Sung Kang’s recently resurrected Han truly see justice? (Some of us have not forgotten “Fast & Furious 6.”) How many new ways will the filmmakers (including Lin, who co-scripted with series newcomer Dan Mazeau; replacement director Louis Leterrier; and producer-star Vin Diesel) find to retcon (or retroactive continuity) canonical lore? With a reportedly astronomical budget, “Fast X” feels like an inflection point in an already bursting franchise that can’t stop getting more and more swole, making this one of the big cinematic question marks of 2023. — Jen Yamato

‘The Little Mermaid’ (May 26)

I’ve grown skeptical of Disney’s mission to revisit practically every beloved release from my childhood years, but my hesitance disappeared upon watching that viral trailer, which debuted a new Ariel played by Chloe x Halle’s Halle Bailey. Directed by Rob Marshall, the live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic also includes Melissa McCarthy as the villainous Ursula, Daveed Diggs as the crab Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as the fish Flounder, Awkwafina as the bird Scuttle and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Also featuring Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik and Jonah Hauer-King, the movie will have a fresh sound too: Lin-Manuel Miranda co-wrote new songs with the original’s composer, Alan Menken. — Ashley Lee

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ (June 30)

It’s the first film in the venerated series to feature neither a story by George Lucas, nor direction by Steven Spielberg. Look, we all have fond memories of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” but the subsequent entries have felt like increasingly faded mimeographs (millennials can look that one up). It was clearly time for a shot of new energy. “Dial” gets it in spades, with direction by James Mangold (“Logan,” “The Wolverine,” “3:10 to Yuma”) and script by Mangold and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, the clever scribes of “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Get on Up” with whom he worked on “Ford v Ferrari.” The plot has something to do with the history of the U.S. recruiting Nazi scientists for the space race. That sounds interesting enough, but I was already sold by the presence of Mangold and his writers — and cast additions Mads Mikkelsen and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Here’s hoping they let Waller-Bridge write some dialogue! — Michael Ordoña

‘How Do You Live?’ (July 14)

It’s wonderful that the rumors of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement continue to be greatly exaggerated. The 81-year-old Japanese anime master who gave us “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke” and other captivating fantasies has a new picture on the horizon: “How Do You Live?,” adapted from the 1937 novel of the same title by Genzaburo Yoshino. Long in the works, as Miyazaki’s painstakingly, beautifully animated films tend to be, this latest picture is set to hit Japanese theaters July 14 before making its way to other theaters around the world. Having streamed my way through most of the director’s back catalog during the early days of the pandemic, I can’t wait to see his latest on a proper big screen, where it surely belongs. — Justin Chang

‘Barbie’ (July 21)

Anyone not already intrigued to the point of obsession with Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie from the on-set paparazzi photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken should have been fully convinced by the uproarious, “2001”-quoting teaser trailer. Details are still scarce on what the story of the movie actually is, but from the imagery available so far and knowing the script was co-written by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, all signs point to it being a sparkling subversion of gender and identity. With a jampacked supporting cast that includes Issa Rae, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Hari Nef, Rhea Perlman, Emerald Fennell, Kingsley Ben-Adir and many more, if anything, expectations may now be running too high for this movie to be the most fun and smartest movie ever based on a legacy brand of plastic children’s toys. — Mark Olsen

‘Dune: Part Two’ (Nov. 3)

For years, Frank Herbert’s sweeping 1965 sci-fi novel — set in the distant future on a desert planet where powerful clans fight for control over the most precious substance in the universe — was considered all but unadaptable. Then director Denis Villeneuve came along and wisely chopped the thing in two. With stunning visuals and a stellar cast led by Timothée Chalamet, Stellan Skarsgård, Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson, Villeneuve’s first “Dune” installment, released in 2021, earned more than $400 million worldwide and scored 10 Oscar nominations, including best picture. In the concluding chapter, we’ll see the bloody fulfillment of Paul Atreides’ messianic destiny as his powers grow and his bond with Chani (Zendaya) and the rest of the Fremen deepens, pulling them into an epic battle with not only the evil Harkonnens but also the yet-to-be-seen Emperor. — Josh Rottenberg

‘The Color Purple’ (Dec. 20)

It’ll be nearly 40 years since Steven Spielberg directed Oprah Winfrey in the screen adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. This year, Spielberg and Winfrey are among the producers of the new movie-musical, based on two Broadway shows that reimagined the tough-but-inspiring story. (If you’ve seen footage of Cynthia Erivo’s herculean rendition of “I’m Here,” you’d be inspired to make a new movie too.) Directed by Blitz Bazawule, the film boasts an all-star ensemble cast that includes Fantasia, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Taraji P. Henson, David Alan Grier, Ciara, H.E.R., Deon Cole, Aunjanue Ellis, Halle Bailey and Jon Batiste. — Ashley Lee

‘Beau Is Afraid’ (TBA)

With his first two films, 2018’s “Hereditary” and 2019’s “Midsommar,” writer-director Ari Aster quickly established himself as Hollywood’s newest horror wunderkind, bringing Kubrickian craftsmanship and psychological acuity to a genre too often reduced to gimmicky premises and cheap jump scares. Though details of his long-in-the-works new film — originally titled “Disappointment Blvd.” — have been kept strictly under wraps, Aster has teased that the movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, will be a “nightmare comedy” spanning decades in the life of a neurotic entrepreneur. (He also teased it might run four hours long.) But the prospect of Aster teaming up with Phoenix, hot off two of his finest performances in “Joker” and “C’mon C’mon,” is exciting enough that we don’t really need — or even want — to know more. — Josh Rottenberg

‘Ferrari’ (TBA)

For his first feature film since 2015’s techno-thriller “Blackhat,” Michael Mann returns with “Ferrari,” a story he has been chasing for years that has the air of a magnum opus, combining many of his master themes on masculinity, isolation, proficiency and modernity. No one explores the pressures of work-life balance quite like Mann, as driven obsessives struggle to hold their worlds together. Starring Adam Driver as automotive industrialist Enzo Ferrari and Penélope Cruz as his wife, Laura, the film is said to take place over a few months of Ferrari’s life in 1957, culminating in the Mille Miglia, a nearly 1,000-mile road race around Italy. A glamorous period movie set amid the world of auto racing is exciting enough, but it’s the pairing of the intense, immersive talents of Mann and Driver that should really get audiences’ motors revving. — Mark Olsen

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (TBA)

A Martin Scorsese period crime epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro really doesn’t need much of a sell, particularly given the project’s sensational source material. Adapted from journalist David Grann’s bestseller, “Killers of the Flower Moon” follows the FBI investigation into the murders of Osage tribe members killed after oil was discovered on their land. Lily Gladstone, who won a host of critics prizes for her work in Kelly Reichardt’s 2016 drama “Certain Women,” plays an Osage woman watching her family members die under mysterious circumstances. DiCaprio plays her husband, who just happens to be the nephew of a wealthy cattleman (De Niro). Might there be some connection? Apple TV+ gave Scorsese $200 million to play with, so expect the story’s secrets to be unveiled in lavish, exacting detail. — Glenn Whipp

‘Nimona’ (TBA)

I have been waiting for “Nimona” for years. Originally announced in 2015, the adaptation of ND Stevenson’s award-winning web comic was delayed then eventually shelved when Disney shuttered Blue Sky Studios after acquiring Fox. But the animated feature has thankfully been revived by Annapurna Pictures and Netflix. Set in a futuristic medieval world with powerful science and magic, the comic book “Nimona” follows the chaotic teenage shape-shifter of the title after she forces her way into becoming the sidekick of a knight-turned-villain on a quest for noble vengeance. It’s a story about identity and challenging rigid labels and assigned roles, as well as the motivations of institutions that insist on them. Plus, the destruction that Nimona causes in her various forms, including dragons and dinosaurs, will be amazing to see on-screen. Directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, the film stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Nimona, Riz Ahmed as Ballister Boldheart and Eugene Lee Yang as Ambrosius Goldenloin. — Tracy Brown

‘Priscilla’ (TBA)

Sofia Coppola has shown a keen understanding of loneliness and adolescent purgatory in movies like “The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation,” making her the perfect person to ponder Priscilla Presley, who grew up in the fun-house world of Graceland. Priscilla met Elvis when she was 14 and moved to Memphis a couple of years later. A decade after they met, they separated, going, as you know from the song, their separate ways. We’re familiar with the story through the lens of the King — Baz Luhrmann’s movie laid out the madness and the sadness of the Vegas years. But Priscilla’s perspective remains largely uninvestigated, and you know Coppola will tease it out. And we’re not just talking about the bouffants. — Glenn Whipp

‘The Zone of Interest’ (TBA)

After a stellar feature debut (2000’s “Sexy Beast”) and two icy masterpieces spaced years apart (2004’s “Birth,” 2013’s “Under the Skin”), the English director Jonathan Glazer has become, I think it’s safe to say, one of the finest, most audacious and least hurried filmmakers working today. His long-in-the-works fourth feature is said to be a Holocaust drama adapted from Martin Amis’ novel “The Zone of Interest,” starring Sandra Hüller and Christian Friedel. It may sound like familiar terrain, but if there’s a filmmaker who can make even the familiar seem eerily, entrancingly new, it’s Glazer. Whether the movie will actually surface in 2023 remains, like many other details about it, shrouded in mystery. Still, amid rumors that this A24 release is finally nearing completion, consider my interest newly piqued. — Justin Chang


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