The Witches to skip cinemas and be released on demand

A new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches will skip 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 October 26, just days before Halloween, and will be available to watch for a 48-hour rental from participating digital retailers.

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.

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.

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.

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.