With the help of director Robert Zemeckis and a cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth, Chris Rock, Dahl’s dark fantasy novel has been spun into a full-length feature film that will stream exclusively on the budding platform. The story follows a little boy (Jahzir Bruno) who stumbles upon a witches convention hosted at a hotel and led by the menacing Grand High Witch, played by Hathaway. Spencer plays the boy’s loving grandmother determined to fight the witches and protect her grandson. Tucci is the hotel manager who unknowingly welcomes the chaos while Rock narrates as the reminiscing adult who experienced it all. Zemeckis co-wrote the screenplay alongside Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro.
The Witches was originally scheduled for an October 16 theatrical release until Warner Bros. updated its release schedule back in June, switching the feature to a Halloween streaming event. This stands as one of HBO Max’s bigger streaming events, though time will tell as to whether or not it will be enough to compete with the highly touted premieres of its competitors, like Disney+’s Mulan and Hamilton releases or Netflix’s... everything else. Positioning Anne Hathaway as a fashionable, merciless witch is a tremendous effort, we must admit.
Roald Dahl’s The Witches begins streaming on HBO Max October 22. Check out the trailer below.