Warner Bros. announced Friday that it would skip a theatrical release for “Roald Dahl’s The Witches,” a family-friendly film starring Anne Hathaway, and instead release it in the U.S. on HBO Max on October 22.
Director Robert Zemeckis’ film, based on the 1983 novel by “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach” author Roald Dahl, had been scheduled to hit theaters on Oct. 16.
The film follows a young boy (played by newcomer Jahzir Bruno) who stumbles upon a secret coven of witches led by Hathaway’s sly, menacing Grand High Witch. With the help of his loving grandmother (Octavia Spencer), he must try to stop their evil plan to turn all the world’s children into mice.
The cast also includes Kristin Chenoweth, Stanley Tucci as the hotel manager unwittingly hosting the witches’ convention; and the voice of Chris Rock as the grown-up version of the boy who recounts the dale.
Zemeckis served a co-writer, director and producer, joined Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Kenya Barris.
“The Witches” becomes the latest studio film to shift from a theatrical release to a streaming debut as Hollywood continues to struggle with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic on movie theaters.
Last month, Disney debuted its $200 million live-action adaptation of “Mulan” as a premium offering on its Disney+ streaming service. The studio has not shared details of the viewership or revenues from the experiment.
Watch the trailer for “The Witches” via the video above.