What are the biggest movies releasing in April 2023? Salman Khan headlines the biggest offering in Indian cinema this month, with Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, a new action-packed affair which sees him as a self-appointed vigilante hoping to rid crime of the city. Directed by Farhad Samji (Pop Kaun), it is a remake of the 2014 Tamil film Veeram and is slated to release on April 21 in theatres. Follow that up with a mythological drama charting the epic love story of Shakuntala and King Dushyant, drawn from the pages of Mahabharata. Samantha Ruth Prabhu — best known for Super Deluxe — leads the cast of the Telugu film Shaakuntalam, hitting theatres on April 14.
Coming to the Hollywood side, we’ve got The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the main draw of which has been the discourse surrounding Chris Pratt’s voice, which doesn’t sound high-pitched or Italian enough. Director duo Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!), however, continue repeatedly defending their voice casting choice, claiming that it ‘made total sense,’ given the new Mario origin story they crafted for this feature. The Nintendo-produced animated film hops into theatres on April 7. Evil Dead Rise takes Sam Raimi’s universe to frighteningly new heights, by moving the gore-filled action from the cabin in the woods into the city. The film was originally set for an HBO Max release, but following some restructuring at Warner Bros., was switched to a theatrical debut on April 21.
Just like last month, April is also tame on the OTT front, with Amazon Prime Video’s Air, a biopic chronicling the origin of Nike’s Air Jordan line of shoes being one of the key releases. For your convenience, we have curated the biggest April 2023 releases coming to theatres, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+ Hotstar, 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.
When: April 5
Where: Amazon Prime Video
In 1984, a year marking slow sales and growth figures for Nike, a maverick executive Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) stepped up to sign then-rookie Michael Jordan for a sneaker deal, and hopefully pivot his fledgling basketball division to new heights. Directed by Ben Affleck, Air offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at this blooming partnership, aided by a supportive mother Deloris Jordan (Viola Davis) who believed in her son’s talent; Michael Jordan would go on to become one of the greatest athletes in the history of basketball. Affleck also stars in the film as Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, constantly questioning and undermining Vaccaro’s choices, whilst being humbled and reminded of the risks he took before becoming a business tycoon.
Air is based on a screenplay from debutant Alex Convery, which was named under 2021’s The Black List of most-liked scripts. The film also stars Jason Bateman (Ozark) as Nike’s director of marketing Rob Strauss, Marlon Wayans (Requiem for a Dream) as Nike’s global basketball marketing director George Raveling, and Chris Messina (Sharp Objects) as David Falk, who represented Jordan throughout the legend’s career. Air would also be the first time Affleck directs long-time friend and collaborator Damon in a feature film.
When: April 7
Aditya Roy Kapur (The Night Manager) stars in this Hindi-language remake of the 2019 Tamil crime thriller Thadam, appearing in a double role. A murder investigation poses big trouble for Inspector Shivani Mathur (Mrunal Thakur) when she discovers that her prime suspect has a lookalike — albeit neither of them is aware of the other’s existence. In the original film, one of them is an innocent civil engineer enjoying life as a young adult, whereas the doppelganger is a gambling thief, adept at conning people with his sidekick.
Vardhan Ketkar marks his directorial debut with Gumraah, from a script co-written by Aseem Arora (Dehraadun Diary) and Magizh Thirumeni. The latter wrote and directed the original Tamil film. Gumraah also stars Ronit Roy (Shehzada) as ACP Dhiren Yadav, and Vedika Pinto (Operation Romeo) as the protagonist’s love interest.
The Pope’s Exorcist
When: April 7
You can never go wrong with a campy exorcist film during summer, and the feeling only gets better when it’s grounded in reality. Drawing from the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, the former Chief Exorcist of the Vatican who performed over 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime, the upcoming Julius Avery supernatural horror film is a twist on the humans vs demons premise. In it, Amorth (Russell Crowe) is tasked with examining a possessed child, and incorporating rational ideas under the presumption that his subject is just mentally disturbed. Trying to figure out the demon’s origins, Amorth stumbles into a centuries-old conspiracy that the Vatican tried keeping hidden — sending him on an Indiana Jones-like excavation mission into the church’s various secret tombs and passageways.
Ralph Ineson (The Witch) lends his gruff voice to the demonic spirit, as it puppeteers the host to puke out a dead bird, send people flying, and twist and mangles bodies into a crawling spider position. It is implied that at some point Amorth himself comes in contact with the devil, albeit he’s adamant on the idea that his biggest fear is France winning World Cup. Rounding out the cast for The Pope’s Exorcist are Peter DeSouza-Feighoney as Henry the possessed child, Alex Essoe as his sister Julia, and Daniel Zovatto as fellow priest Father Esquibel.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
When: April 7
After the epic conclusion of HBO’s The Last of Us season 1, gamers have yet another treat awaiting them in April. It’s hard to ignore the cultural significance of the words “It’s-a-me, Mario”, spawning a generation of games about a Koopa-stomping, tunnel-warping Italian plumber. From Illumination Entertainment — creators of the beloved Despicable Me franchise — comes The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a bit of an origin story about two blue-collar immigrant plumbers in Brooklyn, New York, who get warped into the vibrant Mushroom Kingdom. Hot on their trails is the loudmouth Bowser (Jack Black), who is on a mission to collect Super Stars and steers his floating magma-fuelled island toward the kingdom.
Teaming up with Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), Mario (Pratt) must wage war against the evil turtle — hopping across platforms, dodging projectiles, and getting smooched by pufferfishes. Fan service is in full effect here, be it racing along the lively Rainbow Road, references to an intergalactic adventure, and his adorable shapeshifting Tanooki suit. Seth Rogen voices the tie-wearing gorilla Donkey Kong, who is seen partnering with Mario in the trailer — after a brief slapdown, that is. Meanwhile, Charlie Day’s Luigi is held captive by Bowser and haunted by the idea of imminent death.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the original Mario and Zelda games, serves as a producer on The Super Mario Bros. Movie, whereas the original voice actor from the video game franchise Charles Martinet is involved in an undisclosed role.
Watch the Trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Original Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is involved in an undisclosed role
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
When: April 14
Watching Nicolas Cage being melodramatic and going through a full-blown meltdown is always entertaining, and this time, he does so as Dracula, the immortal boss from hell. Sick and tired of his century-long bidding for the vampire lord, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) the devoted servant intends to break free from his toxic relationship and carve out a new, ‘normal’ life in modern-day New Orleans. However, leaving isn’t as simple as resigning from his post, as the Dracula who bestowed Renfield with supernatural powers, is equally capable of manipulating and abusing him into submission. He is the dark lord, after all.
But when Renfield falls in love with a perennially angry cop Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), he finally musters up the courage to fight back for his happiness — snacking on bugs for a power boost, before beating up countless mobsters running afoul. Based on an original concept from acclaimed comic book writer Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible), Renfield also stars Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog) as mob enforcer Teddy Lobo, Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse) as mob boss Ella, and Adrien Martinez as Quincy’s co-worker Chris Marcos. Chris McKay, best known for The Lego Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War directs the film.
When: April 14
If the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, Gunasekhar’s upcoming mythological epic is a cinematic reimagining of Kalidasa’s play, Abhijnanashakuntalam. Samantha Ruth Prabhu leads the cast as the beautiful Shakuntala, the forest-dwelling woman who instantly captures King Dushyanta’s (Dev Mohan) attention, falls in love, and is wedded based on the Gandharva marriage system. As per the epic, the king was forced to return to his kingdom for some official matters, leaving behind a ring as a token of promise to bring her back to the palace as his queen. Spending most of her time fantasising about her new husband, one day, Shakuntala fails to greet the powerful Rishi Durvasa (Mohan Babu), who in a fit of rage, curses Dushyanta to forget about her.
Their reunion forms the crux of the film, as Dushyanta is unable to recognise a now-pregnant Shakuntala, leaving her to care for the child alone. Much of Shaakuntalam was filmed within a five-month period, after which, it required another two years for visual effects and general post-production — although, the CGI and green screen effects presented in the trailer look pretty unconvincing. It was created on a budget of Rs. 80 crore.
When: April 21
Where: Apple TV+
You’d have to be pretty crazy to travel 5,000 miles to London, hoping to reunite with a woman who ghosted you after the first meeting. Well, that’s the premise of Apple TV+’s latest romantic comedy, which sees Cole (Chris Evans) going in pursuit of the enigmatic Sadie (Ana de Armas), only to get embroiled in a tussle involving gangsters who mistook him for ‘The Tax Man’. Things take a wild detour when he discovers that Sadie is, in fact, a CIA agent — turning what was meant to be a second date into a series of life-threatening situations, as they’re swept away on an international mission to save the world.
Adrien Brody (Detachment) plays Leveque, the main antagonist, who dispatches bounty hunters to capture and bring Sadie back alive. Meanwhile, Mike Moh (Boogie) appears to be playing one of his henchmen, expertly adept at hand-to-hand combat. Ghosted is helmed by Dexter Fletcher — best known for his 2019 Elton John biopic musical Rocketman — from a script written by a team of four: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers. The former two wrote the Deadpool movies, while the latter pair worked on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man trilogy.
Topping off the cast of Ghosted are Amy Sedaris (The Mandalorian), Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen), Tate Donovan (Rocketman), and Anna Deavere Smith (Inventing Anna). This would be the third time Evans and de Armas are working together, following Knives Out and Netflix’s The Gray Man.
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan
When: April 21
Following a cameo in the blockbuster film Pathaan, Salman Khan returns as a self-proclaimed vigilante in Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, often getting into scuffles to keep crime rates to the bare minimum. Based on the 2014 Tamil film Veeram, Khan’s latest role hits a bit close to home — that of an ageing bachelor, with his siblings eagerly wanting to see getting married. To solve this conundrum, his brothers try setting him up with a woman (Pooja Hegde) bearing a similar name as his past love interest. What follows next is a series of wild revelations that take him across the country, as he sets out to protect his lover’s family.
The film was originally announced in 2020 with the title Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali but suffered multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farhad Samji (Pop Kaun?) directs the summer Bollywood blockbuster that is Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, enlisting a cast featuring Venkatesh Daggubati (Rana Naidu), Jagapathi Babu (Radhe Shyam), Shehnaaz Gill, and Bhumika Chawla (Sita Ramam).
Evil Dead Rise
When: April 21
Unlike other chapters in the franchise, Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise is not set in a secluded cabin in the woods, instead relocating to a small apartment in Los Angeles, and limits the chances of escape. In it, a road-weary Beth (Lily Sullivan) visits her estranged sister and single mother Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), who struggles to raise her three children. Their reunion, however, is cut short when they discover a sinister book — the Necronomicon — from the bowels of Ellie’s building, releasing flesh-possessing demons and turning the night into a primal fight for survival.
Evil Dead Rise promises to be a bloody family affair, starting with the possession of mother Ellie, which soon spreads like an infection amongst her children — played by Nell Fisher, Morgan Davies, and Gabrielle Echols. Expect torn-off scalps, skin being grated off, and demonic possessions crawling on the ceiling — akin to Ari Aster’s Hereditary — in this 97-minute-long gory horror film. While it seems short when compared to the modern movie landscape, that runtime makes Evil Dead Rise the longest in the franchise.
With Bruce Campbell no longer returning as series protagonist Ash Williams, it is insinuated that Beth will have to wield the roaring chainsaw and take over the role of the Deadite-slayer. Campbell is instead serving as executive producer on Evil Dead Rise, alongside Sam Raimi.
Peter Pan & Wendy
When: April 28
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
Disney continues its trend of reimagining its animated classics to live-action, and this time, it’s the enchanting Peter Pan & Wendy. Co-written and directed by the acclaimed genre filmmaker David Lowery (The Green Knight), it follows Wendy Darling (Ever Anderson), an adventurous girl from London who’s afraid to leave her childhood home behind. That is until she meets the free-spirited Peter Pan (Alexander Molony), a young boy residing on the magical Neverland island, who refuses to grow up. Hand-in-hand with her brothers, and the little fairy Tinker Bell (Yara Shahidi), she joins Peter on an adventure of a lifetime — even using pixie dust to fly around.
Trouble awaits in the form of the evil pirate Captain Hook (Jude Law), who seeks revenge on Peter Pan for the loss of his left hand. Judging by the trailer, this new adaptation seems to follow the same plot beats as the original 1953 animated film, which is something that I feared from the beginning — that it would be a corporate, safe Disney movie instead of being a personal, arthouse Lowery project. That said, some of the visuals put on display – courtesy of the cinematographer Bojan Bazelli – look stunning, featuring beautiful landscapes and sequences shot on Hook’s flying ship being a key standout. Just like Pinocchio from last year, Peter Pan & Wendy will be a Disney+ release.
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