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Robert Zemeckis' film adaptation of 'The Witches' coming to HBO Max

By Kara Santos Published Oct 06, 2020 5:54 am

There’s a new kid-friendly Halloween movie to look forward to.

Warner Bros. is giving moviegoers a chance to enjoy the big screen at home by bringing Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches to its streaming service, HBO Max. The latest film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book will launch Oct. 22 via HBO Max in the US, followed by an international theatrical rollout starting October 28.

The streaming service announced the news on Twitter Friday.

The studio originally intended to launch The Witches in theaters on Oct. 9 before the pandemic forced them to shift to a straight-to-streaming release. Now, the film is coming out just in time for the spooky season.

Zemeckis’ The Witches reimagines the classic dark fantasy novel published by Roald Dahl in 1983. The comically macabre children’s book features the experiences of a young British boy and his Norwegian grandmother in a world where child-hating societies of witches secretly exist in every country.

The film stars newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno as a young boy who moves in with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. The year is 1967, and the boy and his grandmother find themselves in an unexpected battle against a coven of glamorous witches (led by Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch) who seek to turn the town’s children into mice. The supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth, and the voice of Chris Rock as the film’s narrator.

Warner Bros. last brought The Witches to the big screen in 1990 with an adaptation directed by Nicolas Roeg and produced by Jim Henson, which starred Anjelica Houston (The Addams Family) and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean).

Zemeckis is best known for directing the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future film trilogy, and 1994's Forrest Gump for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director. The Witches remake brings in some heavyweight talent, including producers Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

The remake’s script is credited to Zemeckis, del Toro, and Blackish creator Kenya Barris. Del Toro originally intended to direct a stop-motion version of The Witches for Warner Bros. before the project evolved into a live-action project with Zemeckis directing and del Toro producing.

The Witches premieres exclusively in the US on HBO Max on Oct. 22. Unfortunately, it’s not listed on HBO Go, the counterpart streaming service in Asia, but hopefully it will be made available on other digital platforms worldwide soon.

Check out the official trailer below.

(Image via Warner Bros.)