Deadline reports that The Witches will hit theaters on October 16, 2020. The film's release date was part of a substantial list of Warner Bros projects getting release dates, including Matt Reeves' The Batman, Doctor Sleep, and DC Super Pets.
Release date news comes just two weeks after confirmation that Anne Hathaway has signed on as the menacing Grand High Witch, the character Anjelica Houston played in the 1990 adaptation.
The Witches follows a young boy who comes across a coven of child-hating witches and, having learned their secrets, finds himself having to stop the Grand High Witch from her nefarious plot by exposing them to the world before it's too late. The 1990 film was a loose adaptation of the story, something that Zemeckis has previously said will not be the case for his film. He plans for The Witches be a more accurate reflection of the source material, though he will still but his own spin on things, thanks to the choice of setting.
"We're going to set it in the Gothic South in the 1960s," Zemeckis shared with the French site Allocine [H/T The Playlist]. "It's an exciting way to put a sociological spin on this kind of witch story."
In contrast, the original film leaned more heavily into fantasy with the boy's grandmother, herself a former witch hunter, teaching him about the supernatural beings. The 1990 film didn't perform particularly well at the box office and even Dahl himself wasn't exactly a fan of the film, but in the years since its release it has gained something of a cult following. Houston's performance of the Grand High Witch in particular remains a standout, as does the special effects makeup and costuming of the witches true, monstrous selves that was nightmare fuel for any '90s kid who saw it.
Now that setting, release date, and Hathaway's casting have been announced, more information is hopefully forthcoming. So far, no additional casting announcements have been made, Deadline did recently note that Viola Davis is considering the project as well.
The Witches will open in theaters October 16, 2020.
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