New Disney Plus movies: the best new films to watch (May 2023)

New Disney Plus movies: May 25, 2023 update

Tom Power, entertainment reporter

The latest entry in our new Disney Plus movies list is White Men Can’t Jump, which is also available on Hulu in the US. We’ve updated our coming soon section, too, to reflect this film’s launch and the forthcoming arrival of big hitters for June 2023.

Welcome to our new Disney Plus movies guide. Every week, we update this article with the latest movies to land on Disney’s primary streamer. So, if you’re a regular around these parts, you’ll always find something new to stream when a new weekend rolls around.

Disney Plus is one of the world’s best streaming services, and its back catalog is full of top-tier films and TV shows, including offerings from Marvel and other Disney-owned studios. As such, it can be hard to determine which of its new content is worth streaming. 

Luckily for you, that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the best new movies to land on Disney Plus since February. Of course, there’s the odd exception to that rule (we’re looking at you, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), and some of our inclusions are available elsewhere in other world territories (for instance, Boston Strangler is streamable on Hulu, rather than Disney Plus, in the US). We’ve explained when this is the case in specific entries below.

Here, then, are all of the new Disney Plus movies worth streaming in May 2023.

New Disney Plus movies: May 2023

White Men Can’t Jump

Release date: May 19 (available on Hulu in the US)

A modern remake on the 1992 sports comedy film of the same name, White Men Can’t Jump stars Sinqua Wells and Jack Harlow as Kamal and Jeremy, two basketball stars at opposite ends of their careers who form an unlikely friendship due to their shared love of the game. The duo are also forced to navigate turbulent relationships, inner demons, and financial insecurities throughout, too.

While its identically named predecessor was well received upon release, the 2023 reimagining is anything but. White Men Can’t Jump has been slammed by fans and critics alike, with many observers calling it “unimaginative”, “dull”, “cheap”, and a movie that “struggles to find a reason to exist”. Mega ouch.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Release date: May 17

This Marvel Phase 5 film finally debuted on Disney’s primary streamer three months to the day since its theatrical release. It’s about time, too, considering many MCU fans were eagerly awaiting its arrival – and not because it’s a great movie.

You see, while Ant-Man 3 was hyped up pre-release, it was a critical and commercial let down. The superhero flick, which sees Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Hope Van Dyne/Wasp, Scott’s daughter Cassie, and Hope’s parents unexpectedly travel to the Quantum Realm and encounter new bid bad Kang the Conqueror, wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be narratively, thematically, or humorously. It’s visually impressive, sure, but that’s about as good as it gets. In our Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania review, we called it a “fun but flawed third solo outing” for the titular duo and a “messy Marvel caper” overall.

So, if you’ve been waiting to stream it for ‘free’ at home, now is the time to do so. Once you’re done, read our Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ending explainer to see how it sets up future MCU flicks (and check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order to see where it falls on the MCU timeline).

Crater

Release date: May 12

A coming-of-age sci-fi tale, Crater tells the story of Caleb Channing (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), a boy raised on a lunar colony. When his father passes away, Caelb embarks on a mission to explore a mysterious crater – with his three best friends in tow – to honor his dad, and to enjoy one last outing with his mates before he relocates to another non-Earth based location.

A cutesy, Gen-Z positioned flick with a by-the-books space adventure and a fairly generic plot, Crater won’t appeal to everyone. But, for fans of a certain age, it might just tickle that sci-fi sweet spot and make you feel nostalgic for those days where the only care you had was to explore the wider world with your friends.

Ad Astra

Release date: May 10

Originally released in September 2019, this Brad Pitt-starring space exploration film was positively received upon release, with many critics picking Pitt’s performance out as a key reason for Ad Astra’s appeal.

Set in the late 21st century, Pitt plays astronaut Roy McBride, who goes in search of his father H. Clifford McBride, who was presumed dead after his involvement in “The Lima Project”, a scientific program designed to research mysterious power surges that threatens all human life.

A visually impressive, ambitious, and thrilling sci-fi flick, Ad Astra’s universal familial themes keeps it grounded amid Pitt’s awe-inspiring (and occasionally perilous) exploration of the cosmos.

Rye Lane

Release date: May 3

Set in the South London borough of Peckham, Rye Lane tells the tale of two 20-somethings – Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) – who connect over the bad break-ups they’ve just endured. The pair help each other to get over their respective heartbreaks, get back at their nightmare exes, and potentially restore each other’s faith in romance.

It sounds quite schlocky for a rom-com, but Rye Lane is anything but generic. Its smart, funny, flavorsome, and culturally original take on the romantic comedy formula makes Rye Lane one of the better genre-specific films of its generation. Why not take a romantic walk down this particular street and give it a try?

New Disney Plus movies: April 2023

Peter Pan and Wendy

Release date: April 28

Disney is off to Never Never Land (again) in a new live-action adaptation of JM Barrie’s immortal tale about the boy who never grew up. 

Anyone who’s read the book, or seen the numerous previous film versions, will have a rough idea of the plot. As the trailer shows, the pre-requisite pirates, fairies, and flying kids are all present and correct, meaning all eyes are on its cast. 

Jude Law follows in the footsteps of Jason Isaacs and Dustin Hoffman as the villainous Captain Hook, while newcomer Alexander Molony bags the lead role as Peter. He’ll be joined by Ever Anderson (last seen as the young Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow) as Wendy and Black-ish’s Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell. The Green Knight’s David Lowery directs a film that, for the most part, has been well received among critics.

New Disney Plus movies: March 2023

Boston Strangler 

Release date: March 17 (available on Hulu in the US)

This is far from the first movie to tackle the mystery surrounding the real-life serial killer dubbed the Boston Strangler – Tony Curtis played the eponymous killer on screen as far back as 1968 – but this new film attempts to put a new spin on the manhunt. Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon play Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, two journalists on the trail of the eponymous killer in the early ’60s, whose tenacious reporting forced previously complacent authorities to take notice. 

Alongside the usual crime thriller elements, the film ponders whether the Strangler might actually have been multiple murderers, and how bringing a female perspective on the case was crucial to making Boston aware of the danger at hand. Worth a watch for true crime aficionados and a deserving of a place on our new Disney Plus movies list.

Chang Can Dunk

Release date: March 10

This Disney Plus Original movie (co-produced by Master of None’s Lena Waithe) has echoes of past Disney high school/sports movies like The Mighty Ducks. 

The titular Xiao Ming ‘Bernard’ Chang (Bloom Li) is a sophomore student who loves basketball, but lacks the height or skills to complete a successful slam dunk. After falling into a swimming pool makes him the reluctant subject of a viral video, he ends up making a bet with one of the most popular kids in school – that he’ll complete a dunk by homecoming. If he fails, he’ll have to pay up to the tune of a valuable first edition Pokémon card. Expect plenty of valuable life lessons to be learned as Chang gets expert tips from basketball YouTuber Deandre Cooke (Dexter Darden).

Empire of Light

Release date: March 1 (available on HBO Max in the US)

With Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, and this offering from Skyfall and 1917 director Sam Mendes, love letters to cinema have been all the rage in recent months. In Empire of Light, Mendes assembles an all-star cast featuring Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, and Toby Jones to tell the 1980s-set story of a group of people brought together by a theater in a British coastal town.

While the romance between Colman’s theater manager Hilary and co-worker Stephen (Ward) is the movie’s beating heart, Empire of Light explores broader issues like racism and mental illness. It’s also a celebration of the magic of the movies, so it’s appropriate that legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049) is on hand to make everything look beautiful. One that’ll stick around on our new Disney Plus movies guide for a while.

New Disney Plus movies: coming soon

Avatar 2 glides onto Disney Plus in early June. (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Here’s a the brief list of the best films confirmed to be releasing on Disney Plus in June 2023, including the eventual Disney Plus arrival of Avatar: The Way of Water, which is also swimming its way onto Max:

Not up for a movie? Try our pick of the best Disney Plus shows or find out if there’s a free Disney Plus trial available.

Today’s best Disney+ deals

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