'The Witches' Trailer: Robert Zemeckis' Remake Flies To HBO Max For A Surprise October Debut

Robert Zemeckis' new adaptation of The Witches, based on the beloved 1983 supernatural children's novel by Roald Dahl, is skipping theaters and heading straight to HBO Max. Originally set to open in theaters on October 9, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic pushed Warner Bros. to take the film off the release calendar. But now the studio is taking a page from Disney's book and dropping it exclusively on its WarnerMedia streaming service this October — just in time for spooky season. Watch The Witches trailer below.

The Witches Trailer

Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, and Stanley Tucci hamming it up? That's the kind of October surprise we wholeheartedly welcome, even if it comes from Zemeckis in the midst of one of the valleys of his career. But perhaps a supernatural camp comedy is just what the Welcome to Marwen director needs to revive the goodwill toward his films — after all, he made the camp cult classic Death Becomes Her. But Zemeckis faces another hurdle (apart from the obvious hurdle of the pandemic shutting down theaters): the beloved 1990 Nicolas Roeg adaptation of The Witches, which starred a gloriously vampy Anjelica Huston. Hathaway seems to be stepping up to the plate in her role as the Grand High Witch in Zemeckis' The Witches, but we'll have to see if the film lives up to her outrageous performance.

Based on the 1983 children's novel by Roald Dahl, The Witches is directed by Zemeckis, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro. Zemeckis also produced, alongside Jack Rapke, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Luke Kelly. The film also stars Chris RockKristin Chenoweth, newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno (TV's Atlanta) and Codie-Lei Eastick (Holmes & Watson).

The film will debut exclusively on HBO Max in the U.S. this October, while it will still hit theaters overseas, beginning October 28. This is the first Warner Bros. theatrical film to debut exclusively on HBO Max, and follows Disney's strategy of releasing former theatrical films straight to Disney+ in the midst of the pandemic.

Here is the synopsis for The Witches:

Reimagining Dahl's beloved story for a modern audience, Zemeckis's visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world's Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.

The Witches debuts on HBO Max on October 22, 2020. It will hit international theaters beginning October 28, 2020.