What are the biggest movies releasing in September 2023? Shah Rukh Khan headlines the biggest treat in Indian cinema this month with Jawan, an action-thriller which sees him in the role of an emotional vigilante, on a mission to rectify the wrongs in society. Marking the first Hindi-language film for director Atlee, it drops September 7 in cinemas. A bit before that, prime yourself for a warm tale of brotherhood, as a pair of bickering siblings unite to attend a secret party, while their mother is out of town. Starring Babil Khan – the son of the late Irrfan Khan – in the lead, Friday Night Plan releases September 1 on Netflix.
On the Hollywood side, Denzel Washington is back to serve heavy-handed justice on behalf of the needy in The Equalizer 3, as he tests his odds against the Italian mafia. The final chapter co-stars Dakota Fanning, who reunites with the celebrated actor nearly 20 years after the 2004 film Man on Fire when she was a child. The film is out September 1 in theatres worldwide. You’d expect movie studios to schedule their upcoming horror movies for the Halloween season in October, but Warner Bros. is taking a head start by dropping The Nun II on September 8. The premise is a bit similar to the first film, in the sense that Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) is once again faced with the haunting of the demonic entity Valak (Bonnie Aarons). Considering these films are all part of the larger Conjuring universe, I’d expect some ties to other films as well.
This month is a bit dry in terms of major releases, which is why we’ve also included a short film in the list. Don’t worry though, as it’s not some random arthouse flick with grey colour grading, but rather Wes Anderson’s next pastel-themed project, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Yes, it’s another adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, and it will be available to stream September 27 on Netflix. For your convenience, we have curated the biggest September 2023 releases coming to theatres, Amazon Prime Video, 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.
The Equalizer 3
When: September 1
Having given up on his former life as a government assassin, ex-special agent Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) finds a strange homeliness in Southern Italy, where he’s well-acquainted with its people and sees them as family. But upon realising his newfound friends have gotten into trouble with the local mafia, he must put his game face back on and hunt them down, piling up dead bodies at a Sicilian farm, despite the odd predicament he’s in. Tied to a chair with a gun pointed at his head, McCall stays cool and collected as ever, offering the thugs nine seconds to let him loose, or else they get killed.
He doesn’t seem to be out of practice either, slipping right back to his violent roots when the moment calls for it and maintaining a charming smile in the public eye to avoid suspicion. On his path of vengeance, he runs into Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning), who suspects him of being responsible for the murders. For now, it’s unclear what her intentions are, but it’s cool to see them reunite in the lead roles after nearly two decades — almost as if this is a spiritual sequel to Man on Fire (2004). Antoine Fuqua returns to direct The Equalizer 3, which also stars Gaia Scodellaro (Promises), David Denman (Brightburn), and Remo Girone (Ford v Ferrari).
Friday Night Plan
When: September 1
For the longest time, Siddharth (Babil Khan) was an unpopular, nerdy kid at school, spending time in the library and privately singing songs when showering. All that changed when he scored the winning goal at one of his football tournaments, instantly transforming his image among his peers, who invite him to a party during the weekend. Only one problem though – Siddharth has a mischievous younger brother (Amrith Jayan), who overhears those plans and wants in, hoping to hit it off with one of the girls from the senior batch. Opportunity comes knocking when their mom (Juhi Chawla) decides to leave on a business trip — meaning there’s no need to ask for permission and everything will be fine, as long as they’re back home before she returns.
Or so they think. Being siblings translates to a lot of unnecessary quarrels, and mixing it with alcohol is an unhealthy recipe for disaster. From getting their car towed to hurling eggs at poor strangers, their inconsiderate adventures put them in trouble with the local cops, during which they realise the value of brotherhood the moment they began falling apart, and embrace each other’s flaws. The aptly titled Friday Night Plan is helmed by Vatsal Neelakantan (Dahaad), and it also features Aadhya Anand (Bombay Begums) as Sid’s crush and Ninad Kamat (Scoop) as the police officer Suhad Pingale.
When: September 7
After ruling the Indian box office with Pathaan earlier this year, Shah Rukh Khan returns as Vikram, a volatile commando looking to correct the wrongs in society, with some help from a group of women, well-trained in arms. In it, he’ll be pitted against an outlaw, presumably his lookalike son Azaad — played by SRK himself — who’s apparently hurt countless innocents in his path. Both Jawan’s stars and its director Atlee are tight-lipped about the plot, but judging by the teaser, it appears that Vikram will cross paths with a hard-nosed lady officer (Nayanthara), and Vijay Sethupathi in an undisclosed role.
As his past catches up with him, Vikram needs all the firepower he can get to guide him through his task in Jawan. His team is composed of Priyamani (The Family Man), Sanya Malhotra (Kathal: A Jackfruit Mystery), Ridhi Dogra (Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side), Sanjeeta Bhattacharya (The Broken News), and Deepika Padukone (‘83). In addition to receiving the standard IMAX and 4DX format release in the country, Jawan is also the first Indian film to be screened at the world’s largest IMAX theatre, Leonberg in Germany.
The Nun II
When: September 7
Remember the funny French guy from 2018’s The Nun, who got possessed by the end of the film? Yeah, Maurice (Jonas Bloquet) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) are now in France — two years after the incident at the Romanian abbey where they faced the demon nun Valak. The odd death of a priest sets forth a chain of haunting events at the new church, with several students getting attacked late at night. And so, Sister Irene is once again pitted against the demonic entity, who is now revealed to be a former angel rejected by God. That probably explains why it’s angry and hangs about in holy places — so it can somehow reclaim its lost power.
I hope The Nun II delves deeper into the origin of Valak, so we know how it ties to the larger Conjuring universe, before eventually showing up at paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s desk in the form of a possessed Maurice, years later. Michael Chaves (The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) returns to direct the latest instalment of the James Wan-helmed horror franchise, which is poised to bring the films back to full circle. The sequel also features some new faces, starting with Storm Reid (Euphoria) as a young Nun-in-training, Anna Popplewell as a schoolteacher Marcells, and Katelyn Rose Downey as Sophie, one of the first students who detects the awful presence.
When: September 21
Kareena Kapoor Khan makes her OTT debut in this latest Sujoy Ghosh (Lust Stories 2) project, portraying a single mother in Kalimpong, West Bengal, who tries to cover up the murder of her abusive ex-husband. If this premise seems familiar to you, it’s because Jaane Jaan is an Indian adaptation of Keigo Higashino’s renowned Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X.’ There isn’t much to gather from the brief announcement trailer, but we can conclude that Jaideep Ahlawat (Paatal Lok) plays the local maths teacher who’s in love with Khan’s character and helps her cover up the crime, whereas Vijay Varma (Darlings) is the police detective hell-bent on solving the murder.
When: September 22
As with every other entry in this action franchise, Expend4bles is quite light-handed on the plot side of things, posing the threat of World War III, thanks to a group of terrorists who have stolen some nuclear missiles. Our returning mercenary Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is looking to part from the group, passing the baton to the knife expert Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), who will now lead the team with some new and familiar friends. First up is Easy Day (Curtis ‘50 Cent‘ Jackson) who is extremely wary of not wanting to get shot in the face, followed by Gina (Megan Fox), Christmas’s ex-girlfriend who’s gotten hold of some confidential government documents regarding the mission. Then there’s Levy Tran (The Haunting of Hill House) as the aptly-named Lash, adept at chocking people to death with chains.
As for returning faces, the ensemble lineup brings back Dolph Lundgren as the seasoned sniper Gunner Jensen, and Randy Couture as the demolitions expert Toll Road. The full-stacked crew will go head-to-head against Rahmat, played by Iko Uwais (The Raid: Redemption), whose reputation as a real-life expert martial artist bleeds through in Expend4bles’ high-octane combat sequences. Expect loads of vehicular combat and explosions, as our heroes prepare to bid an emotional farewell to their longtime leader Ross. As overtly daft as these movies are, I must admit it’ll be hard to keep up with them without Stallone’s involvement in the future.
When: September 22
Where: Amazon Prime Video
When being a masked luchador always cast him to the side as a runt of a wrestler, the openly gay Saúl Armendáriz decided to put on some makeup and slip into the spandex of an Exótico. Gael García Bernal (Babel) now prepares to steal hearts in this biopic from Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, flaunting his acrobatic yet feminine moves under the ring name ‘Cassandro‘ and slowly climbing the ranks of fame to evolve and upend the ultra-masculine world of wrestling. But with stardom, he starts to lose sight of what’s important, causing his mother Yocasta (Perla De La Rosa) to worry about him, while his lover Gerardo (Raúl Castillo) tries hammering into his head that he’s ‘pushing things too far’ with his character’s sassiness.
Not everyone is accepting of his sexuality, which is bound to form the inner conflict for Cassandro, as he navigates his new life of celebrity interviews, exotic parties, and loads of money. Guiding him on the path to success is Felipe (Bad Bunny) who discovers Saúl at a local bar, and Sabrina (Roberta Colindrez), the professional trainer and friend who helps him create his new in-ring persona. Cassandro also seems to have been filmed in a tighter aspect ratio with bars on either side, which I’m assuming is an artistic choice to best replicate the TV broadcasts from the 1990s.
When: September 22
Fed up with her mundane life of doing household chores and running after her husband, 38-year-old Punjabi Sukhpreet Kalra (Shilpa Shetty) decides to travel to Delhi to attend her school reunion. In doing so, she’s hit with a wave of nostalgia, as she relives a younger version of herself and undergoes an enlightening transformation, that reinvigorates her identity as a woman which had been repressed for so long. Plot-wise, there isn’t much to chew on for now, considering T-Series hasn’t dropped a trailer, but we know Sukhee being helmed by Sonal Joshi, who previously worked on the Emraan Hashmi-led Bard of Blood. It also ropes in Smit Sadh (Breathe: Into the Shadows) and Kusha Kapila (Selfiee) in the lead roles.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
When: September 27
Following Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson is taking a stab at Roald Dahl once again in his latest short film The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Running at just 37 minutes, it follows the titular wealthy gambler Henry (Benedict Cumberbatch), who learns about a strange guru who possesses the ability to see through thin objects without opening his eyes. What follows next is an almost spiritual journey, where he decides to master the skill through meditation and uses it to cheat and win big at casinos, before eventually losing interest in it because the thrill of winning is lost.
Besides Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as the narrator Dahl, there are a bunch of newbies in this short film, namely Dev Patel (The Green Knight) as Dr. Chatterjee, Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) as Imdad Khan, Richard Ayoade (The Double) as Dr. Marshall, and Rupert Friend (Homeland). If it was up to Anderson, this short would’ve been released in theatres, marking his second project this year — the first being Asteroid City — though by the time he was ready to make the short, Netflix acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company. “Suddenly, in essence, there was nowhere else you could do it since they own it,” Anderson said in an interview while adding that the small runtime makes it the perfect place to show it, as well.
It is also rumoured that the filmmaker will be adapting other Dahl short stories such as ‘The Swan,’ ‘Poison,’ and ‘The Ratcatcher,’ serving as an anthology that collectively runs for roughly 100 minutes.
When: September 29
Bash Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s writing all you want, but we can all agree that it was a well-directed film. Sure, a chunk of it can be credited to Greig Fraser’s stunning cinematography, but it’s director Gareth Edwards’ choice of pacing that keeps its otherwise messy events pass by exhilaratingly. He’s now back in the sci-fi business with The Creator, which is set in a fictional 2070, where the human race and AI are in a neverending war after the latter dropped a nuclear bomb onto Los Angeles years prior. In it, we largely follow an ex-special forces agent Joshua (John David Washington), who is summoned to hunt down the titular Creator, the elusive architect of the AI who has created a weapon of mass destruction.
Already grieving from the mysterious disappearance of his wife Maya (Gemma Chan), Joshua and his team of soldiers make their way into enemy territory, only to learn that the world-ending weapon he was ordered to destroy is an AI in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). Not knowing what to do, the pair decide to team up and journey across militia checkpoints and villages under attack, to find a way to stop the weapon — presumably, while keeping the kid alive. Despite breaking scientific themes, the film often seems to touch upon religious aspects as well — specifically, the notion of going to heaven, which is impossible for Joshua because of his terrible past, and the child because she isn’t human.
The film features an ensemble cast lineup ranging from Ken Watanabe (Detective Pikachu), Allison Janney (Bombshell), Ralph Ineson (The Witch), and Sturgill Simpson (The Hunt). Funnily though, the working title for the film was True Love, which sounds like a romcom — I’m glad they changed it. It might also have been smart for Edwards to base The Creator in the year 2024, given how conflicted we are with the use of artificial intelligence these days. It’s a decision that he himself regrets, as revealed in a recent interview.