What are the biggest movies releasing in May 2023? Fast X — the first of a two-part finale — marks the movie event of a generation, promising a revenge arc bolstered by fiery explosions, as the Toretto Family comes in the way of danger once more. The hype surrounding this film is insane, with advance ticket bookings going live three months prior to release in India — a big feat for Hollywood films in the country. Fast X races into theatres on May 19. Long before that, on May 5, a band of space outlaws embark on a dangerous interstellar adventure when Rocket Raccoon's turbulent past invites trouble. Marking James Gunn's final gig at Marvel before he went on to co-lead DC Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is also the longest film in the trilogy.
Coming to local fare, we've got IB 71, a patriotic spy-thriller based on the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, with Vidyut Jammwal (Commando 3) leading the Indian Intelligence Bureau on a secret mission to thwart the enemy. Sankalp Reddy (The Ghazi Attack) directs the film, which is slated to release May 12 in cinemas. On a more light-hearted note, Netflix is finally releasing Kathal, a crime-comedy based on bizarre and somewhat true events from 2014 where the Delhi police formed a unit to track down a politician's stolen jackfruits. Starring Sanya Malhotra (Pagglait) as the earnest cop leading the investigation, Kathal drops May 19 on the platform.
Other notable releases this month include A24's much-anticipated existential horror film Beau is Afraid, tracking the paranoid experiences of an anxiety-ridden man, as he embarks on a trip to his mother's place. For your convenience, we have curated the biggest May 2023 releases coming to theatres, Disney+ Hotstar, and Netflix, which you can check out below. Also, feel free to browse our Entertainment hub to keep track of any other releases that might interest you.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
When: May 5
Still reeling from Gamora's (Zoe Saldaña) death in Avengers: Endgame, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the remaining Guardians now reside in Knowhere. There's a lot of drama between the crew themselves — specifically between Peter Quill and the alternate version of Gamora, with the former trying to woo her into falling in love with him again. Being the 2014 version, she has zero knowledge of these characters, promising some hilarious banter with Nebula (Karen Gillan) involved. Back to the premise at hand, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) seems to be the focus this time, with tear-jerking flashbacks to his past when he was locked in a cage and subjected to harsh experiments.
In his escape from the facility, he also lost some furry friends, including Wal Rus and Lylla, albeit now those memories have come back to haunt him. As Rocket's life is put in harm's way, Quill assembles his crew for one last mission into the stars, as they leap across fleshy spirals and encounter the immortal, gold-tinted anti-hero Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). Chukwudi Iwuji's (Peacemaker) The High Evolutionary appears to be the troublemaker in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a scientist who seeks to create the ‘perfect species'.
Running at 2 hours and 29 minutes, this marks the longest film in the GoTG trilogy, and possibly the final Marvel Cinematic Universe project from James Gunn, who now co-leads DC Studios. Even Saldaña confirmed in a recent interview that she won't be reprising Gamora's role again. When compared to other new Marvel movies, this looks super promising in terms of creativity — Gunn loves splashing colours!
Watch the Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios
When: May 12
Jennifer Lopez stars as a deadly female assassin in The Mother, who was forced by the FBI to separate from her daughter at birth, as a means to protect the child. Two dangerous men from a past encounter, Adrien Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal), are still on the loose, looking for revenge against Lopez's unnamed character. Fast forward to 12 years and the daughter gets kidnapped, forcing the mother out of hiding, as she guns down, stabs, and headbutts her way through anyone involved in the abduction.
It is suggested that Lopez still remains anxious about revealing her identity to daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez), instead training her to survive in the snowy wilderness, by way of an assassin. It's better to be on the safe side because her enemies have taken note of her resurgence and returned with a better plan to take her down. Niki Caro, best known for helming the live-action Mulan film, directs The Mother from a story penned by Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy). The film also stars Omari Hardwick (Power) and Paul Raci (Perry Mason).
When: May 12
Vidyut Jammwal heads this spy-thriller as an Intelligence Officer, seeking to thwart Pakistan's attack on India within the next 10 days. Based on the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, agent Dev conjures a master plan to block the air space, as India anticipates a two-way attack from both Pakistan and China. Details are scarce, but Dev insists that he and his crew of 30 field agents can either convince or manipulate the enemy nation to create the block. What follows next is a coup operation into the heart of Pakistan, involving a decommissioned aircraft, a hijacker, and lots of waiting inside a cramped-up hotel room as the team waits on updates.
Sankalp Reddy (The Ghazi Attack) serves as the director on IB 71, which stars an ensemble cast featuring Anupam Kher (Hotel Mumbai) as a high-ranking official Avasti, Niharica Raizada (Sooryavanshi), Mir Sarwar (Bajrangi Bhaijaan), and Vishal Jethwa (Salaam Venky). It also marks lead Jammwal's first film as a producer under his own production banner, Action Hero Films.
When: May 12
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
In the year 2257, a large mining colony resides on a translucent dome on the moon. Our story, however, focuses on a small group — specifically young Caleb (Isaiah Russell-Bailey) and his friends, who venture out into the dusty void as part of his father's (Scott Mesudi) last request, which is to explore a legendary crater past the eastern ridge. Accompanied by a new earthling Addison (Mckenna Grace), the team of five steal a rover and enjoy one last road trip, before they're permanently relocated to another planet.
During their final moments, they partake in some low-gravity baseball, uncontrollably jetpack into the air, evade deadly meteor showers, and form a tight bond that could merely last only days. The trailer also reveals the newcomer feeling homesick, which begs the question as to what happened on planet Earth that caused a portion of the human race to relocate. Crater is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, who rose to prominence by helming a few episodes from Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. Like most Walt Disney original productions for kids, this one heads directly to streaming as well.
Beau is Afraid
When: May 12
Beau Wassermann (Joaquin Phoenix) is an old, paranoid man who needs to get to his mother's house for his father's death anniversary, and also desperately needs to ejaculate. You see, his mother Mona (Patti LuPone) once told Beau that his father died during an orgasm, during which he was conceived, essentially passing down the trait. That scary knowledge, combined with other harsh life experiences, turned him into a shut-in and socially awkward man, who is extremely anxious and panics at the tamest of inconveniences.
Arthouse filmmaker Ari Aster, known for offbeat horror films such as Hereditary and Midsommar, turned this simple premise into a three-hour-long odyssey, filled with his darkest fears, guilt, and puzzling plot devices, whose purpose comes to light towards the end. In a sense, it's like a Charlie Kaufman film, where a person's deepest insecurities play out before them — sometimes as a literal stage play — allowing them to reciprocate and act out their entire lives before a physical and metaphorical audience. The Beau is Afraid trailer suggests a similar theme here as well, in which he plays life's protagonist — or rather, one that he wishes he could've been were it not for his mother's meddling.
When A24 originally announced the film, it was titled ‘Disappointment Blvd.', with a reportedly massive runtime of hour hours. Hopefully, we get that extra hour when the director's cut drops on the A24 store.
When: May 12
With the liberal amount of dance pieces in Bollywood movies, it's sometimes hard to distinguish it from a musical genre. Paparao Biyyala's Music School, however, embodies the essence of the medium, shedding light on the Indian education system and how parents put pressure on their kids to excel solely in studies, leaving no room for arts or culture. In it, Shriya Saran (Dhrishyam) stars as Mary, a new music teacher intent on turning her school's views on the subject, while every staff member and overburdened student treats her like an afterthought.
Joining her on the crusade is Manoj (Sharman Joshi), a drama teacher, who wants to work with her to put up a musical piece based on ‘The Sound of Music'. But the path ahead is not easy, as they come face-to-face with concerned parents' and teachers' wrath, who dismiss such acts as ‘stupid'. Prakash Raj (Ponniyin Selvan: Part I), Suhasini Mulay (Jodhaa Akbar), and singer Shaan round out the cast for Music School, which features 12 tracks composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The film will be out in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil.
When: May 12
Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) copes with her fiancé's death from two years ago by sending romantic messages to his old phone number, in this English-language remake of the 2016 German film SMS für Dich. Elsewhere in the city, Rob Burns (Sam Heughan), a journalist doing a profile on singer Celine Dion receives a work phone with the deceased's SIM reassigned to him. What begins as a confusing set of texts from a stranger, soon grows into one-sided love, with Burns wanting to connect with the woman, being smitten by her honest choice of words.
On the other hand, Mira can only think about her late fiancé, and finds herself physically unable to date someone else — there's even a super awkward kiss with her real-life husband Nick Jonas. Having harboured feelings for someone he's never met in person, Burns seeks help from Dion herself, hoping to find Mira and win her over. Love Again also stars Russell Tovey, Steve Oram (Paddington), Omid Djalili (His Dark Materials), and Sofia Barclay, with James C. Strouse (The Winning Season) directing.
When: May 19
The globe-trotting action franchise that previously took us to outer space is back for its final lap, topping out the set pieces with tons of explosions, ranging from a loose bomb rolling through the streets of the Vatican to armoured vehicles with cannons attached to them. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has a new formidable foe in town, who wants to break his family piece by piece. Dante (Jason Momoa) has been planning his revenge for the past 12 years, having witnessed his druglord father Hernan Reyes' murder back in 2011's Fast Five. Fast X is just the first of the two-part conclusion, and has the added responsibility of introducing Brie Larson into the franchise as Tess. It is hinted that she's on Dom's side.
Jason Statham also reprises his role as Deckard Shaw, helping Dom's crew to deal with the heinous Dante. It's always nice to have someone with military expertise in your rowdy, albeit stylish street-fighting team. Louis Leterrier returns to direct the Fast and Furious sequel, after having taken over the reins from Justin Lin last year, who exited the project due to creative differences. Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Jordana Brewster, and Charlize Theron also reprise their roles from previous films, while Rita Moreno is a new entrant, appearing as Torettos' grandmother. Fast X will be out in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Watch the Trailer for Fast X
Jason Momoa as Dante Reyes in a still from Fast X
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
When: May 19
In Kathal, Sanya Malhotra (Pagglait) plays Mahima Basor, a determined cop on a mission to find a politician's stolen jackfruits. While at first the case seems like a joke, the political influence pivots it to a state-wide hunt, with a reward of Rs. 10,000 if someone local happens to find them. Of course, the unit has a proper verification system set up, with the lower-rank officers spending their days weighing and measuring random jackfruits brought in by strangers, instead of working on actual crimes. This is even questioned by Basor at the start, where setting such a precedent would cause people to report stolen or missing tomatoes and potatoes.
Is that all there is to this bizarre case, or is there some larger fruit smuggling conspiracy involved? All this will be answered when Kathal premieres May 19 on Netflix. The film marks Yashowardhan Mishra's directorial debut and features a comedic cast line-up including Anant Joshi (Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein), Vijay Raaz (Gangubai Kathiawadi), Rajpal Yadav (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), and Neha Saraf.
Watch the Teaser for Kathal, Premiered at Netflix TUDUM 2022
Sanya Malhotra (centre) in a still from Kathal
Photo Credit: Netflix
The Little Mermaid
When: May 25
Disney is back again with another 'live-action' adaptation of one of its classic animated movies — well technically it's public domain, but you get the point. The Rob Marshall-directed remake follows the same plot beats as the 1989 2D-animated film, centring around Ariel (Halle Bailey), a mermaid princess who is dissatisfied with her underwater life and wants to explore the human world. However, it is barred as forbidden territory by King Triton (Javier Bardem), her father and ruler of the kingdom Atlantica. On one stormy night when the currents are too strong, Ariel prevents a human prince Eric's (Jonah Hauer-King) death by saving him from drowning and falling in love with him, which angers the king.
The heated exchange between the father and daughter serves as a catalyst for the conniving sea witch Ursula's (Melissa McCarthy) plan to usurp King Triton's position. A naive Ariel trades her melodious singing voice in exchange for a pair of limbs, so she can discover the world above and hopefully impress Eric, unbeknownst to the dangers underneath the waves. While a lot of the visuals in The Little Mermaid remake certainly look gorgeous, in my opinion, the fishes and sea creatures themselves look lifeless. A similar issue was present in Jon Favreau's The Lion King remake, where he was so hell-bent on achieving realism, that he stripped away emotions from the animals' faces.
The Little Mermaid also stars the voices of Jacob Tremblay (Doctor Sleep) as the tropical fish Flounder, Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) as the loyal crab Sebastian, and Awkwafina (Renfield) as the dimwitted seabird Scuttle.
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