With each New Year comes a fresh lineup of literary adaptations, and 2023 will not disappoint audiences. Much-anticipated sequels (Dune, Shadow and Bone) finally arrive to satiate followers. Beloved classics (Wonka, The Color Purple) get new spins—and songs. Judy Blume adds another film adaptation to her career as an author, as does Bram Stoker. Whether you’re into suspense/horror, family-friendly fare, or want a trip down memory lane with your favorite 1970s band (well, your favorite if they had existed), you’ll discover a film or TV show for your must-see list. We’ve made the decision easy by narrowing it down to these twelve adaptations. Whether you read the book first is a harder choice. Let us know what you’re looking forward to this year.
Knock at the Cabin
February 2nd. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring:Dave Bautista, Rupert Grint, Jonathan Groff, Kristin Cui
Based on the 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay, the M. Knight Shyamalan film is about a family vacationing in a cabin in the woods (which, if movies have taught us anything, it’s the worst vacation spot imaginable). They are interrupted by four strangers demanding one of the family members sacrifice themselves for the greater good of humanity. The tropes of horrors and thrillers merge with sci-fi and drama and then spin them upside down. Fans of the novel will be in for a surprise: Shyamalan has changed the ending. Check out the trailer.
Daisy Jones & the Six
March 3rd. Where to find it: Prime Video
Starring: Riley Keough, Sebastian Chacon, Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone
Coming to Prime, this TV series based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel will captivate anyone who has ever loved a rock band and wished they knew all the secrets behind the music. The show is a blend of narrative and musical documentary of a fictional 1970s band, loosely based on Fleetwood Mac. Brought to you by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine, the show has entirely original music created by singer-songwriter and guitarist Blake Mills, who has worked with artists from Fiona Apple to Jay-Z. And yes, the soundtrack will be available for streaming too. Here’s the trailer.
Shadow and Bone
March 16th. Where to find it: Netflix
Starring: Jessica Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, and Kit Young
The highly anticipated Netflix sequel and adaption of Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm picks up where the first season ended. The Darkling isn’t as dead as Alina and Mal had hoped, and he’s not too pleased either. As the star-crossed lovers flee with the Six of Crows crew, the pursuit is on. The best part of the second book is the introduction of Nikolai, played by Patrick Gibson, who brings levity to the drama. Need a reminder of season one—check out my article on Watercooler here. Watch the trailer.
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret
April 23rd. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring: Abby Ryder Forston, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates
It only took over 50 years for Hollywood to finally adapt the beloved Judy Blume novel. Released in 1970, the book created a stir for being open about topics that anyone other than adolescent girls was uncomfortable to discuss, primarily menstruation, bras, and inner religious conflict. Despite being one of the more progressive industries, even Hollywood can move at a glacial pace. At the young age of 84, Judy Blume finally gets to see the book that helped generations of young girls through a uniquely challenging part of life come to the big screen. Check out the trailer.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
June 30th. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring: Zachary Levi, Zooey Deschanel, Lil Rel Howery
Nearly 70 years since the book was first published, the purple-infused imagination of four-year-old Harold is being brought to life in a live action movie – a first for the iconic children’s book. With Levi and Deschanel, whose endearing screen presence lend themselves perfectly to children’s movies, this film will be a go-to for parents with young kids. Although this film has an early summer release date (pushed from a previously earlier release date of January), there is still no trailer for the adaptation, but a few set shots have been captured — like this one of Levi and Howery in a purple crayon-like vehicle.
July 21st. Where to find it: Theaters Starring: Cillian Murphy and half of Hollywood
Based on the Pulitzer-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Christopher Nolan’s latest film has a star-studded line up of Hollywood elite. Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Gary Oldman, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey, Jr. are just a handful of actors who landed a role in one of the most anticipated films of the year. You may think Oppenheimer is just another WWII flick, but with Nolan at the helm we can expect a unique perspective. Check out the trailer.
The Last Voyage of Demeter
August 11th. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring: Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, David Dastmalchian, and Javier Botet
The only film in this line up based on a single chapter in a book, The Last Voyage of Demeter has been in development for 20 years, and its finally being brought to the screen by none other than Steven Spielberg with Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal directing. There have been numerous adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but this film focuses on the chilling story of the merchant ship Demeter, tasked with carrying the cargo of fifty unmarked wooden crates from Carpathia to London. When the ship arrives in England, the crew has vanished. This is their horrific tale.
A Haunting in Venice
September 15th. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Kelly Reilly, Jamie Dorman, Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey, and more
If half of Hollywood is in Oppenheimer (including Branagh), the other half are in the third installment of Branagh’s Detective Hercule Poirot films. His next film is based on the lesser known Agatha Christie’s book Hallowe’en Party. Set in post-WWII Venice, A Haunting brings a self-exiled Poirot out of retirement to attend a séance—and a murder. Branagh stated that he and the filmmakers “are relishing the chance to deliver something truly spine-chilling for our loyal movie audience.”
November 17th. Where to find it: Theaters, HBO Max
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and more
Director Denis Villeneuve’s second installment of Dune finally arrives in theaters this year. Since Villeneuve was critical of Warner Bros. decision to drop part one of Dune on HBO Max the same day it was released in theaters, rumor has it that part two will be released in theaters first. And it should be. Greig Fraser’s sweeping cinematography in this film deserves to be appreciated on the big screen. For a recap on Dune part 1, read our article here.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
November 17th. Where to find it: Theaters
Starring: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Josh Andrés, Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage
Suzanne Collins’ prequel to her best-selling series The Hunger Games takes place when a young Coriolanus Snow was handed the humiliating task of mentoring a female tribute from the 12th district. The story takes place long before his presidential career, and I can’t help but wonder what Katniss thought of this irony, if she even was aware. His fate becomes intertwined with his tribute’s, as do his feelings, and he must decide between rules or survival. The trailer has dropped.
December 15th. Where to find it: Theaters.
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key
Yet another imagining of Roald Dahl’s classic comes to the silver screen this year, nearly 20 years after the Johnny Depp adaptation. I will always prefer Gene Wilder (the father of Sarcastic Wonka memes) as the slightly unhinged chocolatier, but if there’s a role that Chalamet was born to do, this may be it. His uniquely chiseled face and devious eyes wrapped up in rich purple velvet and a brown top hat exude a quirky, mischievous quality. One that might just kidnap an entire society of Oompa Loompas and force them into labor in a candy factory far away. All with song and dance. Joking aside, the film is directed by Paddington alum Paul King; therefore, it will likely be a perfect family film.
The Color Purple
December 20th. Where to find it: Theaters, HBO Max
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, Danielle Brooks, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Corey Hawkins
You may be surprised to find a remake of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winner The Color Purple coming to the screen this year, especially if you thought Spielberg’s award-winning 1985 version was untouchable. However, the update is actually a musical based on the Broadway musical that first ran in 2005 (which delivered a Tony-winning performance from LaChanze as Celie), and it’s brought to you by Spielberg, Oprah (who was Sofia in the original 1985 version), and Alice Walker as producers. No music has been shared just yet, but Oprah and Gayle have been to the set, and we can’t wait to hear what is to come.
Article originally published on Watercooler.
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