Coming Soon: The Next Year of Disney Movies
The movie industry suffered mightily during the pandemic.
Before then, The Walt Disney Company had kept audiences in theaters with its high-profile releases.
Over the next calendar year, Disney faces the unenviable but significant task of saving an entire business model.
Even as Disney+ excels as a streaming service, Disney remains committed to the theatrical movie-going experience.
As proof, Disney has lined up a dozen blockbuster movies that will debut over the next calendar year.
Here’s what’s coming soon for Disney fans.
Hocus Pocus 2 – September 30th, 2022
Okay, this one isn’t a theatrical release, although I suspect it’ll end up in theaters eventually.
Instead, Disney has chosen an exclusive streaming debut for the Hocus Pocus sequel. Still, I know how jazzed you are about it. So, here’s the trailer:
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – November 11th, 2022
I’ve covered the movie industry since the 1990s. I can honestly say that I don’t think any single story broke my heart as much as Chadwick Boseman’s death.
Now, Disney and Marvel face the impossible task of releasing a Black Panther movie without the actor who made the story iconic and socially impactful.
That’s a big ask.
In addition, the Wakanda Forever production suffered an endless stream of misfortunes, most notably a serious injury to the film’s star, Letitia Wright.
Despite all the terrible incidents surrounding the project, Marvel believes that it has created a good sequel, one that honors Boseman’s memory and legacy.
I suspect that Wakanda Forever will become one of the three most successful opening weekends since Avengers: Endgame.
My concern is that some well-meaning people may pick it apart. I sincerely hope that fears prove unfounded. Marvel sounds proud of this project.
Strange World – November 23rd, 2022
Remember when Up promised that adventure was out there? Strange World takes that premise and expands the definition of “out.”
Specifically, a hero leaves his home planet behind in an attempt to save it.
An airship-flying president named Callisto assigns a humble farmer with an impossible task. He must live up to his father’s heroics as an explorer.
Along the way, the younger man encounters a person he thought dead, his father, Jaeger Clade.
Three generations of Clade band together to survive the perils of this – you guessed it – Strange World!
Folks, I realize that everyone reacts differently to art. Still, if you’re anything like me, that green special effect around the 45-second mark of the trailer gave you chills.
Strange World represents Disney’s first attempt at big budget animated science fiction since Treasure Planet, an underrated movie that underachieved.
I’m optimistic that Strange World will find a loving audience. I’m just not sure whether that will happen during its theatrical release or once it reaches Disney+.
Disenchanted – November 24th, 2022
Since I mentioned Hocus Pocus 2, I should include the Enchanted sequel as well.
In the first film, a magical Disney Princess-like character encountered the real world. Somehow, she willed her way into changing everyone she met for the better.
However, the thing about happily ever after is that it lasts for the rest of time. Now, our heroine has started coming to terms with modern society.
Even the sunniest princess would find parts of daily life a bit…intense. You might say she’s become…Disenchanted. This one looks fun, don’t you think?
Avatar: The Way of Water – December 16th, 2022
While Avengers: Endgame briefly claimed the title of most successful blockbuster ever, Avatar has since reclaimed the throne.
As I type this, Disney has rereleased the movie for the third time since the pandemic’s start.
Audiences have gone each time because we find the visuals of Avatar absolutely hypnotic.
Now, legendary director James Cameron prepares to explore a new part of Pandora: the sea.
Expect even more breathtaking special effects, the kind that only Cameron can do.
The director has worked on this project for 13 years. He has taken that kind of time prepping two previous films, Titanic and Avatar. And those turned out okay.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – February 17th, 2023
Here’s something none of us would have seen coming a few years ago.
The future of the MCU hinges on the pivotal character of…Ant-Man.
Yes, for the second time since 2019, Scott Lang, the muddling buffoon we all love, will play an integral role in the future of humanity.
This time, he’ll explore the Quantum Realm in greater detail and thereby accidentally unleash Kang the Conqueror on the world.
Marvel has indicated that this film directly impacts the next Avengers film, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. So, it’s a crucial part of the MCU. You won’t want to miss it.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – May 5th, 2023
The saga concludes next May.
The Guardians of the Galaxy started as an absurd attempt to start a new franchise with Marvel’s least lovable characters.
Somehow, director James Gunn spun gold out of this dubious project. He made people care about genuinely weird characters like Rocket, Groot, and Drax.
Now, we’ll be devastated to say goodbye. However, actor Dave Bautista has indicated that he’s done with Marvel after this.
Similarly, while I never say never, Gunn probably isn’t in a hurry to work with Disney again after they fired him once.
This is the end, folks. Savor it while it lasts!
The Little Mermaid – May 26th, 2023
When Disney revealed this trailer for its upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid, the live crowd and social media went nuts.
Halle Bailey’s performance of Part of Your World is chill-inducing, and the underwater special effects look dazzling.
This one’s a must-watch for every Disney fan out there.
Elemental – June 16th, 2023
While Strange World excites me the most, Elemental has garnered the most attention since its 2022 D23 Expo reveal.
This film explores the idea that elementals all live together in the same city.
You wouldn’t think that beings made of fire and water would hang out, but that’s somehow possible here.
Disney hasn’t released much information about this project, which remains roughly nine months from release.
I get an Inside Out meets Final Fantasy vibe from the description, but if you’re not used to casting Thundaga on robots, you won’t.
Instead, depending on your pop culture background, you may get more of an Avatar: The Last Airbender vibe from this description. Realistically, that’s the likely inspiration here.
Indiana Jones 5 – June 30th, 2023
One of the highlights of the 2022 D23 Expo involved Harrison Ford, the star of the Indiana Jones franchise.
The actor grew emotional while describing not just his character, Henry Jones Junior, but also the underlying quality of Indiana Jones 5.
His pride spoke volumes about the upcoming film. We have plenty of reason to feel excited about this one…and it shouldn’t involve a nuclear fridge, either!
The Marvels – July 28th, 2023
When Ms. Marvel ended, audiences gasped at the final reveal.
The teen girl had swapped locations with her hero, Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel now finds herself stuck in a teenager’s bedroom.
Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel must use her entirely new bangle powers to survive the depths of space, which is overflowing with people who hate all things Marvel.
Captain Marvel is long overdue for a sequel, and I welcome the addition of Kamala Khan to the story/Marvel family.
The Haunted Mansion – August 11th, 2023
The final Disney movie over the next 12 months matters the most to my family. We’re the ones whose shelves are full of Haunted Mansion merchandise.
If you’re anything like us, you should be beside yourself with excitement over the latest cinematic adaptation of Haunted Mansion.
The Eddie Murphy version, while well-intended, didn’t quite stick the landing. It’s finally time for Disney to try again, and I have high hopes for this one.
Will Disney discover the perfect mix of humor and horror? I think yes!