“Witches, they’re real, and they hate children,” Chris Rock warns us in the first The Witches trailer. Yes, even with Everybody Hates Chris-style narration, Four Tops orchestration, and CGI animation, Roald Dahl’s message lives on. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” You can rest assured that person will not be a witch.
The children are entrapped in the bodies of mice, and the Warner Bros. feature adaptation of Dahl’s 1983 novel was supposed to be released in theaters. But it will hit HBO Max on Oct. 22. Just in time for Halloween. The film will fly into theatres internationally beginning October 28.
“Based on the timeless story, the reimagined Roald Dahl’s The Witches … brings a fresh sense of humor along with warmth and the unexpected to what is sure to be a Halloween favorite,” reads the official synopsis. “It’s a wickedly funny and heartwarming tale about a young boy who stumbles upon a secret coven of witches and, with the help of his loving grandmother, must try to stop their evil plan to turn all the world’s children into mice.”
From the smell of it, the main child is played by Jahzir Kadeem Bruno. He just moved to Demopolis, Alabama, to live with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer), who is teaching him to be happy again. The coven of witches is led by Grand High Witch, played by Anne Hathaway. The cast includes Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and Kristin Chenoweth.
“This film, with its stellar cast, is outstanding,” HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to use our platform to deliver timely, relevant and engaging new content during this time when the theatrical experience is not available to everyone.”
The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Forrest Gump, The Polar Express, and the Back to the Future trilogy. The screenplay was written by Zemeckis, Guillermo del Toro, and Blackish creator Kenya Barris. They all produce along with filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Kenya Barris.
“The Witches is a wonderful reimagining of Roald Dahl’s classic tale that combines world-class filmmaking with fantastic performances. It’s fun for the whole family and ideal for this time of year,” Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement.
Warner Bros. previously produced the more frightening 1990 adaptation of The Witches, which was directed by Nicolas Roeg and starred Anjelica Houston. Zemeckis last made Welcome to Marwen, other recent films were Allied, The Walk, and Flight.
The Witches will also be featured in HBO Max’s “Halloween is Here” spotlight page, alongside a curated roster of more than 140 movies, series and Halloween-themed TV episodes, hand-picked by HBO Max’s dedicated editorial team.
The Witches will hit HBO Max on Oct. 22. It will hit theatres internationally beginning October 28.