12 best new Hollywood movies of autumn 2023, from Wish and Napoleon to Saw, Marvel and Aquaman sequels

This is a difficult time in Hollywood. The Writers Guild of America strike has entered its fourth month, while SAG-AFTRA, the union representing screen actors, downed tools on July 14.

The unions are yet to reach an agreement with the industry’s major production studios over their demands. While this means that production has halted on all major film and television projects, the impact is also being felt on the release schedule.

Without big-name talent to walk the red carpet or promote their work, star-studded releases, most notably Dune: Part Two, originally poised for a late October release, have now been delayed until March 2024.

Sony’s superhero adventure Kraven the Hunter, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, has been pushed back an entire year, while the Zendaya-fronted drama Challengers, directed by Luca Guadagnino, has also seen its release put on hold for the foreseeable future.

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The longer the strikes continue, the more high-profile films are almost certain to see their release dates postponed. Some industry commentators have speculated that this could continue into next year if a satisfactory agreement is not reached.

Taking all of this into account, here is our list of the biggest Hollywood offerings still slated for release in Hong Kong cinemas between now and the end of the season (opening dates are for Hong Kong).

1. The Creator

John David Washington ( Tenet), Ken Watanabe (Inception), and British-Chinese actress Gemma Chan ( Eternals) take the lead in this visually audacious science fiction adventure from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards.

Tackling the pertinent theme of advanced artificial intelligence, the film follows Washington’s grieving special forces operative as he navigates a raging futuristic war between humans and machines, in search of a rumoured weapon that could end the conflict. (Opens September 28)

2. Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie

If you have shared your home with young children at any point during the past decade, chances are you are all too aware of the animated behemoth that is Paw Patrol.

This second big-screen adventure for the furry fighting force sees the pint-sized pups transform into bona fide superheroes after a chance encounter with a meteorite imbues them all with special powers. (Opens September 28)

3. Saw X

Much like its indomitable scheming villain, Saw proves to be the horror franchise that just will not die.

This time out, the cancer-ridden Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) heads to Mexico in search of a miracle cure, only to uncover a predatory scam that fires up his twisted morals and deadly, torturous traps once again.

Series regular Shawnee Smith also returns for what is sure to be more of the same gratuitous gamesmanship. (Opens September 28)

4. Dumb Money

Paul Dano, Shailene Woodley and Sebastian Stan headline this lighthearted retelling of the 2021 GameStop short squeeze, when a group of small-time investors on a Reddit forum almost crippled Wall Street by driving up the stock price of the struggling high street video-game retailer.

5. The Exorcist: Believer

After breathing new life into John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise, director David Gordon Green now turns his attention to William Friedkin’s seminal horror classic.

In The Exorcist: Believer, a direct sequel to the original film, Ellen Burstyn reprises her role as Chris McNeill, who is sought out by the parents of two teenage girls who have been possessed by a vengeful demon.

A follow-up has already been scheduled for 2025. (Opens October 12)

6. The Killers of the Flower Moon

After receiving rave reviews at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Martin Scorsese’s epic 206-minute crime saga has been granted a global cinematic release ahead of its debut on AppleTV+.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and newcomer Lily Gladstone star in the shocking true story of a murderous conspiracy hatched to prise oil-rich Oklahoma land from its rightful Osage Nation owners. (Opens October 19)

7. The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Adapted from a single chapter in Bram Stoker’s definitive vampire tale, Dracula, this darkly Gothic tale chronicles the events on board the solitary vessel that transported the immortal Count from his homeland of Transylvania to England’s southern shores.

Director Andre Ovredal boasts a robust horror background, and his latest looks to be a refreshingly inventive twist on one of genre fiction’s most influential works. (Opens October 26)

8. Five Nights at Freddy’s

Based on the successful video-game franchise of the same name, this ridiculously high-concept horror film stars Josh Hutcherson as a security guard at an abandoned pizzeria, who is tormented by the restaurant’s resident horde of murderous animatronic mascots.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the 2021 Nicolas Cage vehicle Willy’s Wonderland, the fact that Blumhouse Productions is pulling the strings here bodes well for horror aficionados. (Opens October 26)

9. The Marvels

It has been an uneasy time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as superhero fatigue sets in. Recent offerings on both the big and small screen have for the most part been underwhelming.

The 33rd film in the franchise serves as a sequel to both 2019’s Captain Marvel and the 2022 television show Ms. Marvel, uniting the super-powered heroines from both for a new intergalactic mission to save the world. (Opens November 11)

10. Napoleon

Few filmmakers can deliver visually resplendent cinematic epics on the scale of Ridley Scott, and his latest offering promises to top them all.

Joaquin Phoenix stars as French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who rampaged through Europe in the early 1800s when he wasn’t navigating an equally tempestuous relationship with his wife, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby).

As with Scorsese’s film, this Apple production has been granted a worldwide cinematic debut ahead of being released exclusively on the streaming platform. (Opens November 23)

11. Wish

You would be a fool to bet against the creative team behind smash hit Frozen, who are responsible for Disney’s latest animated extravaganza.

Wish tells the story of 17-year-old Asha, who, sensing all is not well in her Mediterranean homeland, makes a wish upon a star, which inevitably comes true.

Oscar winner Ariana DeBose ( West Side Story) lends her voice to the young heroine, while Chris Pine and Alan Tudyk provide robust support. (Opens December 21)

12. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Following numerous setbacks and delays caused by the pandemic and the chaotic restructuring of Warner Bros and DC Studios, the sequel to James Wan’s 2018 hit is finally here.

Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and the rest of the cast return for another round of sub-aquatic superhero high-jinks, in the final film of the current DCEU era.

The question on everyone’s lips is how much of Amber Heard’s character, Mera, has been retained in the final cut, following the media circus that surrounded the 2022 defamation trial between the actress and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. (Opens December 21)

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