The Biggest Movies Coming to Theaters in January 2023

Images from: Universal, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate

New year, new films.

Fortunately, the public health situation this January appears far better than during January of last year, when the surging Omicron variant prompted many cities and states to reimpose mask mandates, Covid vaccine mandates, or capacity requirements for public spaces. Most major theatrical releases intended for the month pushed their openings back.

The highest grossing film during the upcoming calendar month will almost certainly be December holdover Avatar: The Way of Water. But several new titles will aim to make their mark, including a new Tom Hanks release, a new horror release with breakout potential, and more.

Here are the biggest movies coming to theaters this month, in chronological order of their wide release date. Note: several films previously opened in limited release in December but are listed below because they will expand wide in January, including A Man Called Otto and Women Talking.


M3GAN

Friday, January 6

Premise: Universal releases this PG-13 horror about a demonic doll, the latest from horror stalwart Blumhouse Productions.

Box office comparisons: Also about a psychopathic doll, 2019’s Child Play earned $29.2M— but M3GAN may be aiming higher. Last January’s big horror release, Scream, exceeded expectations with $81.6M, while September’s horror Smile beat all projections with $105.9M. The official YouTube trailer for M3GAN has notched 21M views so far, more than both Scream (17.9M) and Smile (19.0M) had by their release dates.


Women Talking

Friday, January 6

Premise: United Artists’ drama follows a group of modern rural Mennonite women who break their strict cultural traditions of silence and obedience to publicly accuse men in their community of rape and other sexual crimes. Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, and Frances McDormand star.

Box office comparisons: Talking opened in limited release on Christmas weekend to $40,530 in eight theaters, for a $5,066 per-theater average, which fails to crack even the top 100 per-theater averages of 2022. Its box office may mirror that of November’s Me Too drama She Said, which only earned $5.8M.


A Man Called Otto

Friday, January 13

Premise: Tom Hanks stars in Sony Pictures’ comedy as a bitter and mean-spirited widower and retiree whose new neighbors force him to reevaluate his negative outlook on life. Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Christopher Robin, Monster’s Ball) directs.

Box office comparisons: 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, also starring Hanks and also with a holiday season release date, earned $61.6M. The key difference, obviously, is that Hanks portrayed the famously soft-hearted Mr. Rogers, rather than the nasty (and presumably less marketable) Otto.


House Party

Friday, January 13

Premise: The Warner Bros. comedy follows two best friends hired to clean Lebron James’s mansion—and decide to take advantage of the opportunity by hosting a gigantic party there.

Box office comparisons: Similar films include 2016’s Office Christmas Party ($54.7M), 2012’s Project X (also $54.7M), 2013’s 21 and Over ($25.6M), and 2013’s Spring Breakers ($14.1M).


Plane

Friday, January 13

Premise: Gerard Butler stars in Lionsgate’s action thriller about an airline pilot who must make an emergency landing on an island nation, then rescue his passengers after they’re taken hostage by local militants. It’s a good bet this won’t be the movie playing on your next flight.

Box office comparisons: Butler’s original action thrillers in recent years have included 2018’s Hunter Killer ($15.7M), 2018’s Den of Thieves ($44.9M), and 2017’s Geostorm ($33.7M).


Missing

Friday, January 20

Premise: Sony Pictures’ mystery thriller takes place entirely on digital screens, as a teenage girl attempts to track down her missing mother after she disappears on vacation. The movie is a spinoff of 2018’s word-of-mouth minor hit Searching, which adopted the same “digital screens” format for its storytelling.

Box office comparison: Other films which take place entirely on screens include Searching ($26.0M) and 2015’s Unfriended ($32.7M).


The Son

Friday, January 20

Premise: Hugh Jackman stars in Sony Pictures Classics’ drama star as a wealthy New York City man trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage son from a previous marriage. Supporting roles include Laura Dern as Jackman’s ex-wife and Vanessa Kirby as his new wife.

Box office comparisons: Writer/director Florian Zeller’s late 2020 The Father earned a pandemic-curtailed $2.1M. Jackman’s previous attempted awards contender lead role, 2018’s The Front Runner, underperformed with $1.9M. For perspective, that’s less than The Father, despite coming out before the pandemic rather than right in the middle of it.


Distant

Friday, January 27

Premise: Anthony Ramos (In the Heights and Broadway’s Hamilton) stars in Universal’s sci-film film as an astronaut trying to rescue Naomi Scott (the live-action Aladdin) on an alien planet.

Box office comparisons: It’s difficult to assess box office prospects when an official trailer still hasn’t been released—less than a month before the film comes out, at that—nor even so much as an official poster. Directorial duo Will Speck and Josh Gordon’s prior films include 2022’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile ($46.5M), 2016’s Office Christmas Party ($54.7M), and 2010’s The Switch ($27.7M).

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