‘Roald Dahl’s The Witches’ from Robert Zemeckis Heading to HBO Max

Roald Dahl’s The Witches

The upcoming releases calendar takes another hit, as Roald Dahl’s The Witches will now debut on HBO Max.


Warner Bros. has decided to premiere Zemeckis’ upcoming adaptation of the children’s fantasy novel from 1983 on its very own streaming platform, on October 22, 2020. The movie was taken off the release schedule back in June, but was originally supposed to debut in theaters on October 16.


This is yet another major blow to theatrical exhibitors in the US, who do not have any recognizable title before November 20, when Soul is set to premiere, that is of course if Disney decides to move forward with their plans. After that, they would have to wait for December 18, in which Dune is also supposed to drop, but I doubt WB intends to keep that release date, as Wonder Woman 1984 is slated for the week after. I don’t think Dune would eat much of WW84‘s box office, but I do think it would happen the other way around, and both WB and I need Dune to perform, not only because of the huge investment that movie represents for the studio, but also because that movie is only the adaptation of the first half of the 1965 original novel by Frank Herbert, and I really want to see the sequel.


Going back to The Witches, the silver lining for international exhibitors is that the studio is planning a theatrical release for Zemeckis’ movie on October 28. The movie is the main Halloween event for 2020, after Halloween Kills was pushed back an entire year, so they’ll try to capitalize on that internationally. I’m not convinced about these release plans, because once The Witches hits HBO Max on October 22, it will be instantly online, and while many people will still go to the cinema the week after in international markets (well, maybe not many people, but some will), they will be fewer people than usual, because some will stay home and watch it illegally. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.


Roald Dahl’s The Witches was directed by Robert Zemeckis, from a screenplay written by himself, Guillermo del Toro, and Kenya Barris. It was executive produced by Marianne Jenkins, and produced by Del Toro, Zemeckis, Alfonso Cuarón, Jack Rapke, and Steve Starkey. The Witches stars Anne Hathaway as the villanous Grand High Witch, Octavia Spencer as the tough but loving grandmother, Stanley Tucci as the hotel manager, Chris Rock as the narrator, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jahzir Bruno.