Creed 3 And 8 Other Films From Black Directors We Are Excited To See In 2023

Creed Rise To Glory cover
(Image credit: PS4)

Black History Month is celebrated during the month of February in the United States and Canada, and in parts of the world throughout the year. As such, we are always looking for ways to honor Black creators, not just during this month, but from now until the end of 2023. With that in mind, we looked ahead across the slate of upcoming movies and selected the nine top 2023 movies from Black directors we can’t wait to see in a cinema. 

Some of these films screened for audiences at the Sundance Film Festival, where titles such as Jonathan Majors’ Magazine Dreams generated buzz for its uncompromising tone and his stellar performance. And then there’s Creed 3, which continues the legacy of the boxing franchise, and finds Michael B. Jordan stepping behind the camera for the first time, replacing series staple Ryan Coogler. Each of the below titles has a different reason for why we are excited to see them, so let’s start in the boxing ring with Jordan and give you a solid list of movies from Black filmmakers that you should have on your radar for the rest of the year. 

Michael B. Jordan in Creed 3

(Image credit: United Artists)

Creed 3

The Creed series spun out from Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise, and for the first time, the “Italian Stallion” won’t appear as a co-star alongside Jordan and Tessa Thompson. This frees Jordan up to tell the type of story he wants to, and he’s making Creed 3 personal. From the story points we picked up in the movie’s trailer, Adonis (Jordan) will be confronted by a childhood friend (Jonathan Majors) who spent years in prison, and feels like the boxer stole the life that he wanted to lead. “I’m coming back for everything,” Majors says in the trailer, and he cuts such an intimidating presence, we can’t help but believe him. In addition to seeing more of Jordan in the ring as the determined boxer we’ve grown to love, we can’t wait to see what tricks he has picked up over the years from his directorial collaborators, and will be applying to his feature-film debut. 

Release Date: March 3

Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Color Purple

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 40 years since Steven Spielberg adapted Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple to the big screen. His film had such a cultural impact, earning a whopping 11 Oscar nominations, that you could argue it discouraged other filmmakers from bringing their own interpretation of the work to the screen. Well, enough time has passed now, and director Blitz Bazawule has chosen to adapt the Broadway musical of the same name for a 2023 awards hopeful. His stellar cast includes American Idol standout Fantasia Barrino as Celie Harris, Colman Domingo as Mister, Taraji P. Henson as Shug, and The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey in the role of Nettie.

Release Date: December 20

Jonathan Majors in Magazine Dreams

(Image credit: Los Angeles Media Fund)

Magazine Dreams

It’s going to be a massive year for Jonathan Majors. Not only is he going toe-to-toe with Michael B. Jordan in Creed 3, the intimidating actor is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Looking beyond that, however, we are setting our sights on the actor’s pending drama Magazine Dreams, which made a huge splash when it screened at Sundance in January. The plot follows an amateur bodybuilder getting consumed by his passion for competition, and it shows the actor getting ripped beyond belief. Elijah Bynum directs from his own screenplay.

Release Date: TBD 

Y'lan Noel in A Lot of Nothing

(Image credit: RLJE Films)

A Lot of Nothing

In director Mo McRae’s thriller, a couple discovers that their next-door neighbor (This is Us star Justin Hartley) is the latest police officer involved in a public shooting. Sick and tired of letting the justice system process this cop, Vanessa (Cleopatra Coleman) and Jamal (Shamier Anderson) kidnap the man and hold him hostage in their home. Only, they don’t know what the next step should be. A Lot of Nothing played Sundance back in 2022. Look for it in a limited release this month.

Release Date: February 3

Kelvin Harrison Jr. in Chevalier

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)


Kelvin Harrison Jr. reportedly shines bright in the title role of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who came from a humble background and relied on his extraordinary musical talents to ascend through the French aristocracy. Bologna’s accomplishments are many, and his scandals are famous, up to and including an alleged love affair with Marie Antoinette (played by Lucy Boynton in this film). Chevalier played the Toronto International Film Festival and scored raves for both Harrison’s lead performance, and Stephen Williams’ direction. Check out both of them when Chevalier makes its way to theaters later this year.

Release Date: April 21

All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt

(Image credit: A24)

All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt

Another Sundance hit from earlier this year, writer-director Raven Jackson’s All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt tells the decades-spanning story of a Mississippi woman going through the different stages of life, from her childhood to adulthood. The material started out as a poem Jackson wrote, which she developed into a feature-length drama that the cast members claim “challenges traditional storytelling,” and we are excited to see how when A24 lets us see the movie later this year. Also, a big part of the reason why we have All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt on our radar is because Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk) helped to produce Jackson’s work, and has been championing it on his social media channels for some time now. If Jenkins is excited for this, then we are excited for this. 

Release Date: TBD   

They Cloned Tyrone

(Image credit: Netflix)

They Cloned Tyrone

Several of the above-named titles are serious dramas or historical period pieces. They Cloned Tyrone, though, happily satisfies the audience’s need for humorous sci-fi filtered through the lens of Blaxploitation. The Netflix movie finds Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris, and John Boyega as three friends who stumble on a government conspiracy to experiment on people, then take it upon themselves to bring it down. This looks like a cross between Dolemite and Attack the Block, which is a very funny place to be, if you ask me.

Release Date: July 21

A Thousand and One

(Image credit: Focus Features)

A Thousand And One

Man, Sundance was a hotbed of activity this year. Writer-Director A.V. Rockwell brought her debut film, the drama A Thousand And One, to the January festival and walked away with the grand jury prize in the U.S. Dramatic competition. That’s more than enough for us to sit up and take notice. Additionally, distribution rights to A Thousand And One went to Focus Features, which will bring the movie theaters sooner rather than later. The story focuses on a mother-son relationship that takes a severe turn with Ines (Teyana Taylor) “kidnaps” her six-year-old boy from the foster care system to which she allowed him to fall. According to Variety, the Sundance judge held back tears while handing Rockwell her prize, so bring tissues to your screening of this one. 

Release Date: March 31

Rye Lane

(Image credit: BBC Films)

Rye Lane

It feels appropriate to close out this feature on 2023 films from Black directors with a movie that screened at Sundance earlier this year – and kudos to Sundance for the diversity it brought to its filmmaking ranks on the 2023 slate. Rye Lane comes from director Raine Allen Miller, who concocts what critics are calling a “stunning” and “delightful” day-in-the-life that follows a young couple coming off of separate break ups around London as they forge a new bond, together. You can tell from the movie’s trailer that Miller has a visual flair, and the leads ooze the type of chemistry that usually has audiences cheering for their eventual pairing. Searchlight fell hard for this movie after screening it in January, and I hope we all do, as well, when it opens later this year.

Release Date: March 31

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.