New adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' skipping UK cinemas

Watch: The trailer for Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches

A new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches will not be coming to UK cinemas and go straight to on demand services, it has been announced.

Anne Hathaway assumes the role of the Grand High Witch in the remake based on the children’s author’s 1983 novel and helmed by Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis.

The film will be released on premium video on demand (PVOD) in the UK from 26 October, just days before Halloween, and will be available to watch for a 48-hour rental from participating digital retailers. It’s a HBO Max exclusive in North America, where it will be released on 22 October.

Read more: UK box office to hit lowest ever

It follows the story of a young orphaned boy who goes to live with his loving grandmother in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis in 1967.

(Warner Bros.)
Octavia Spencer, Jahzir Bruno and Stanley Tucci in The Witches. (Warner Bros.)

The boy and his grandmother encounter some glamorous but diabolical witches, so she whisks him away to an opulent seaside resort.

However, they arrive at the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow witches from around the globe to execute her dastardly plan.

(Warner Bros.)
Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch in The Witches. (Warner Bros.)

Hathaway told People that her take on the Grand High Witch is “such a weirdo” and that she enjoyed the “over the top” performance.

She added: “Everyone had to work together to be on the same page so it felt big and entertaining but never too much."

Anne Hathaway in The Witches. (Warner Bros.)
Anne Hathaway in The Witches. (Warner Bros.)

The film also stars Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth and Chris Rock.

The move to PVOD comes just a week after cinema chain Cineworld announced it was temporarily closing all its UK sites, while nearly a quarter of Vue cinemas will be shut three days a week in an effort to reduce costs following delays in the release of a string of blockbusters.

Anjelica Huston in Nicholas Roeg's The Witches. (Warner Bros.)
Anjelica Huston in Nicholas Roeg's The Witches. (Warner Bros.)

Odeon is also making a quarter of its sites ‘weekend only’.

The Witches was first adapted into a film in 1990, the year Dahl died. It starred Anjelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson and was directed by Nicolas Roeg.