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Awesome News Just Dropped For The Anne Hathaway Witches Remake

It appears that October is chock full of surprises this year! In 2019, news dropped that a new adaptation of Roald Dahl's modern classic The Witches was in the works, with Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway attached to star. But with just about everything in the film and TV industry thrown into chaos in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt hard to pinpoint exactly when the film would come out. Originally, the movie had an October 9, 2020 theatrical release date, but it got pushed to an undisclosed window in 2021 over the summer (via Deadline). Now, as the spookiest month of the year kicks off, The Hollywood Reporter is breaking the news that The Witches reimagining is coming directly to HBO Max on October 22.

This is the second time Dalh's novel has been adapted. The first was the cult-classic 1990 film of the same name starring Anjelica Huston. The upcoming version was directed by Robert Zemeckis, and stars Hathaway in the role of the Grand High Witch, as well as Octavia Spencer, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, and Kristin Chenoweth. While the new version looks to follow the basic premise of the original novel and movie — a young boy must confront a coven of witches intent on destroying children — there appear to be a few key differences that will potentially bring the story into a more contemporary context.

What's new about this reimagined version of The Witches

The novel and the 1990 version of The Witches were both set in England, but for this 2020 adaptation, the action has been moved to the American south in the 1960s. While specific details of how the plot might be altered to fit this change haven't been revealed just yet, it seems likely that the film's updated setting will be used to provide commentary on American politics and racism. The movie's script was co-written by Zemeckis, horror master Guillermo del Toro, and Kenya Barris, the creator of Black-ish and co-writer of Girl's Trip.

In addition to the announcement that the movie is going direct to streaming at the end of the month, a new poster and trailer were released on October 2. Based on this first look, the film will be leaning into the ethos of the original, which is to say, equal parts campy and spooky. Hathaway is playing to the rafters, Spencer is bringing her Oscar-winning knack for humor and empathy, and Bruno looks set to be a charismatic and capable young lead. How longtime fans and those seeing the story with fresh eyes react will remain to be seen, but this reimagining looks like it has a strong vision.

So, if you're excited to see The Witches, it's time to start that HBO Max trial if you haven't signed up already. Who knows? Perhaps the excitement the movie generates will help light a fire under that potential sequel to Hocus Pocus.