Coming Soon! 20 Movies to Track in 2023

***This feature originally appeared in the December ’22 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 325)***

Interest in animated feature projects continues to grow, so it’s never too early to take a look at some of the exciting movies heading our way in 2023. Of course, we all know that the “official” release dates are bound to change, but this list will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect to see on the big screen next year.


The Amazing Maurice. Directed by Toby Genkel and co-directed by Florian Westermann, this adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s fantasy features a stellar Brit voice cast, including Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Gemma Arterton, David Tennant and Hugh Bonneville. Terry Rossio (Shrek) wrote the script, which follows a streetwise ginger cat (voiced by Laurie) who comes up with the perfect money-making scheme involving strangely educated, talking rats. Sky Cinema/ Cantilever/Ulysses Filmproduktion/Studio Rakete/Red Star 3D; Jan. 13 (U.S., Viva Kids)


Batman The Doom That Came to Gotham comic

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham. This much-anticipated DC animated movie is adapted from the three-issue Elseworld comic-book series created by Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Richard Pace, Troy Nixey and Dennis Janke, which was first published in 2000-2001. Showcasing Victorian-inspired visuals (similar to Gotham by Gaslight), the Warner Bros. Animation feature features the Caped Crusader as a 1920s-era crimefighter who battles H.P. Lovecraft-inspired adversaries. Warner Bros. Animation/DC Entertainment


Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget
Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget. Directed by animation veteran Sam Fell (Flushed Away, ParaNorman), this sequel to the Oscar-winning 2000 feature finds Ginger (now voiced by Thandiwe Newton) and her team having to return to the mainland to save the other chickens from a new threat. The voice cast also includes Zachary Levi, Imelda Staunton, Bella Ramsey and David Bradley. Aardman/Netflix/Pathé; Nov. 10


Doraemon: Nobita’s Sky Utopia. In this 42nd outing of the popular animated franchise created by Fujiko F. Fujio, the time-traveling robotic cat, Doraemon, his human charge Nobita and their friends use an airship with a time-warp function to find a perfect land in the sky where everyone is absolutely happy and content! Directed by Takumi Doyama from a screenplay by Ryota Kosawa. Shin-Ei Animation/Toho; March 3 (Japan)


Elemental. Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy, The Good Dinosaur) directs Pixar’s 27th feature, which is set in a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together. The plot finds a fiery young woman (Leah Lewis) and a go-with-the-flow guy (Mamoudou Athie) discovering something elemental: How much they actually have in common. Produced by Denise Ream (Cars 2, The Good Dinosaur). Disney/Pixar; June 16


Ernest & Celestine 2: A Trip to Gibberitia. This sequel to the Oscar-nominated 2012 French feature follows the central bear and mouse characters as they return to Ernest’s country to fix his broken violin, but discover that all forms of music have been banned there for many years. Directed by Jean-Christophe Roger and Julien Chheng, produced by Didier Brunner, Damien Brunner (The Summit of the Gods) and Stéphan Roelants. Folivari/Mélusine/Studiocanal


High in the Clouds

High in the Clouds. Wirral the Squirrel and his friends Froggo and Wilhamina try to escape the nightmare world of Megatropolis in order to find Animalia, a sanctuary in the clouds, in this feature directed by Timothy Reckart (Head Over Heels, The Star), based on the children’s book by Paul McCartney, which also features music by the world renowned star. Netflix/Gaumont Animation



Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be. Winner of the top prize at Annecy, this charming 2D animated feature looks at how artists Jean-Jacques Sempé and René Goscinny created the adventures of the mischievous schoolboy in 1960s Paris together. Debuting in France, Italy and Canada at the end of 2022, the film is directed by Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre, from a script by Goscinny’s daughter, Anne, and Michel Fessler. On Classics Mediawan/Bidibul/Charades


Migration. Directed by Benjamin Renner (The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, Ernest & Celestine), with a script by Mike White (The White Lotus, School of Rock), this original movie follows a family of ducks which convince their overprotective father to go on a wild vacation of a lifetime. Universal/Illumination; December 22


The Monkey King. Director Anthony Stacchi (The Boxtrolls, Open Season) leads this CG-animated feature about the famous simian king who sets out to get his stolen staff back from the Dragon King. The script is by Ron Friedman and Steve Bencich (Open Season, Chicken Little). With the voices of BD Wong, Stephanie Hsu, Jimmy O. Yang, Jo Koy, Bowen Yang, Hoon Lee and Ron Yuan. Netflix/Pearl Studio



Nimona. Nick Bruno and Troy Quane direct this adaptation of ND Stevenson’s acclaimed graphic novel, which sees the teen shapeshifter join forces with falsely accused knight Ballister Boldheart to prove his innocence — even though Nimona is the “monster” Boldheart has sworn to slay. Voice cast includes Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed and Eugene Lee Yang. Annapurna/DNEG Animation/Netflix


PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. Ryder and his search-and-rescue canine team are back in this sequel to the hit 2021 feature, which finds the pups developing superpowers after a magical meteor crashes into Adventure City. The first movie’s director Cal Brunker is back for the sequel as well. Voice cast includes Tyler Perry, Taraji P. Henson, Dax Shephard, Yara Shahidi and Kim Kardashian. Paramount/Nickelodeon/Spin Master; Oct. 13



Spellbound. A teenager comes of age using her magical powers to defend her family when the opposing forces of light and darkness threaten to divide her kingdom. Directed by Vicky Jenson (Shrek, Shark Tale), with a script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin (Mulan) and Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King). With songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. Voice cast includes Rachel Zegler, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, John Lithgow, Nathan Lane and Jenifer Lewis. Skydance Animation/Apple Original Films


Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. This sequel to the Oscar-winning 2018 movie finds Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) experiencing the ever-expanding world of the Spider-Verse with new web-slinging heroes facing the mysterious villain known as Spot (Jason Schwartzman). With the voices of Jake Johnson as Peter Parker, Issa Rae as Spider-Woman and Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099. Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, penned by David Callahan and producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Sony Pictures Animation/Marvel Ent.; June 2


Suzume. Acclaimed Japanese master Makoto Shinkai’s (Your Name., Weathering with You) latest feature follows the adventures of 17-year-old Suzume, who discovers a mysterious door in the mountains and has to find a way to stop similar doors from bringing about disasters all over the world. Crunchyroll and partners will roll the film out in territories around the world following its Japan debut in November. CoMix Wave/Toho/Crunchyroll/Sony/Wild Bunch


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. This seventh theatrical take on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s beloved pizza-loving crimefighters puts the focus on the “teenage” part of the franchise. The CG-animated pic is directed by Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs. the Machines) and produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. Mikros/Cinesite/Paramount/Nickelodeon; Aug. 4


Trolls 3. The third cinematic chapter in the popular DreamWorks franchise is arriving in theaters in time for the holidays in 2023. Universal/DreamWorks; Nov. 17


Unicorn Wars. Spanish director Alberto Vázquez’s (Birdboy: The Forgotten Children) epic anti-war fable finds religious fanatic teddy bears waging a bloody war against peaceful, environmentalist unicorns. GKIDS will release the film in the U.S. following late 2022 runs in Spain (Barton Films) and France (Charades). Autour de Minuit/Abano/Uniko


The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Directed by Michael Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go! To the Movies), this much-talked about feature based on the popular Nintendo game features the voices of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen and Kevin Michael Richardson. Illumination/Nintendo/Universal; April 7



Wish. Chris Buck (Frozen) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (head of story, Raya and the Last Dragon) direct this musical origin story behind the famous star that grants everyone’s wishes. Jennifer Lee co-wrote the screenplay, which follows a smart and optimistic 17-year-old girl (Ariana Debose) who leads a Kingdom of Wishes against a dark force and is aided by a goat named Valentino (Alan Tudyk). Disney; Nov. 22




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