Julia Roberts faces a mysterious apocalypse in the first footage from Netflix's Leave the World Behind. The seldom-seen Roberts made her way back to the big screen alongside George Clooney in 2022's Ticket to Paradise, which went on to become a sleeper hit with $172 million taken at the worldwide box office. In 2023, Roberts heads to Netflix for the apocalyptic Leave the World Behind, also starring Mahershala Ali and Ethan Hawke.
The entire 2023 release schedule indeed figures to be an exciting one for Netflix, as the streamer continues cranking out content of both the movie and series variety.
That release schedule was in fact just teased via a new video compilation featuring first-look footage from numerous Netflix releases, Leave the World Behind included. Check out a brief glimpse of the new Roberts-led apocalyptic drama in the space above (around the 1:57 mark).
Leave the World Behind was originally meant to reunite Roberts with her The Pelican Brief co-star Denzel Washington, but Washington was later forced to drop out of the project, to be replaced by Ali. In addition to the main players Roberts, Ali and Hawke, the movie also stars Bodies Bodies Bodies breakout Myha'la Herrold alongside the ever-popular Kevin Bacon, Charlie Evans (Everything's Going To Be Okay) and Farrah MacKenzie (Logan Lucky). The synopsis for Leave the World Behind reads as follows:
A family vacation on Long Island is interrupted by two strangers bearing news of a mysterious blackout. As the threat grows more imminent, both families must decide how best to survive the potential crisis, all while grappling with their own place in this collapsing world.
Netflix is obviously no stranger to releasing big, star-studded movies with apocalyptic themes, after dropping 2021's Oscar-nominated disaster film Don't Look Up. That movie was of course written and directed by Adam McKay, who is known for giving everything a satirical sheen. But Leave the World Behind comes from the mind of Sam Esmail, the man responsible for the acclaimed dark thriller series Mr. Robot. This would seem to guarantee a film with a much grittier and more realistic tone than the comedic Don't Look Up. Esmail not only directed Leave the World Behind but also penned the script, adapting the novel by Rumaan Alam.
Given Esmail's prior best-known work Mr. Robot, which centered on a psychologically troubled hacker trying to bring down the system, it should be no surprise that Leave the World Behind also deals with a technological apocalypse, in this case a major blackout. It's yet to be seen if the movie can be a big awards player for Netflix, but the fact that they're dropping it late in the year seems to indicate that they expect it to garner some trophy consideration. Audiences can expect a tense and gripping thriller with a strong psychological core, and very strong performances from an awards-worthy cast, when Leave the World Behind hits Netflix on December 8, 2023.