Another big movie is skipping theaters altogether and heading straight to streaming. The Witches, from director Robert Zemeckis and based on the popular book by Roald Dahl, was originally scheduled to open in theaters on October 9, 2020. Earlier this summer, Warner Bros. pushed the film back to an unspecified date in 2021. Now, in a surprise, the film will instead debut on Warners’ new streaming service, HBO Max — and it’s coming in a matter of weeks.

The Witches will now debut on October 22, giving the site a major Halloween tentpole movie this month. The story, about a boy who discovers a group of witches, was previously made into a film in 1990. That version starred Anjelica Huston and was directed by Nicolas Roeg. Zemeckis’ take stars Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. More, via The Hollywood Reporter:

The movie is described as a reimagining of Dahl’s story for modern audiences and, according to the studio, is a ‘darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma 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 has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.’

The fact that the movie is going straight to HBO Max and, say, becoming a premium VOD title like Mulan or Trolls World Tour is somewhat surprising; this was originally going to be one of the studio’s big fall 2020 titles and now it’s suddenly appearing on streaming in a matter of weeks. That will surely fuel some speculation about the movie’s quality. Let’s hope it’s inaccurate. It would be great to have another big new movie on HBO Max for Halloween.

Here’s the film’s trailer:

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