How exactly do you spot a witch? There are many telltale signs, as it happens. They have square feet and no toes, for starters. Witches also have color-changing eyes, blue spit, claws instead of fingernails and, most clearly of all, they hate children. Like, really HATE children. Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway star in Robert Zemeckis' new adaptation of Roald Dahl's dark fantasy, and you can watch The Witches online exclusively through the HBO Max streaming service today.
Release date: October 22, 2020
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, Kristin Chenoweth
Run time: 105 minutes
Horrifying and hilarious in equal measure, Zemeckis' film is set in 1960s Alabama rather than Norway and England, as was the case in the 1983 book and the original 1990 film starring Anjelica Huston and featuring Rowan Atkinson - a movie Roald Dahl considered "utterly appalling" because the ending was far too happy for his liking.
The trailer suggests Zemeckis' interpretation will not fall into the same trap. The more pressing question, though, is whether our boy hero (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) can find a way to escape the traps that have been laid out for him by the diabolical, black cat-clutching Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway)?
He and his grandma (Octavia Spencer) find themselves in precisely the wrong place at precisely the wrong time, as the undercover leader of the child-hating horde of witches hatches her grand plan to turn brats into rats. What sort of a monster weaponizes chocolate and sweet treats? A genius, right?
But the Grand High Witch isn't quite as sharp as either her claws or her own estimations of herself, and our boy hero and his grandma cook up their own plan to give those dastardly witches a taste of their own medicine.
If that sounds like a magical formula to you, keep reading as we detail how to watch The Witches online from anywhere in the world - with Halloween now just around the corner, there couldn't be a better time!
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How to watch The Witches 2020 online in the US
You’ll need to subscribe to fledgling streaming service HBO Max to watch The Witches online, as it’s one of its exclusive feature films.
It has a monthly price tag of $14.99, which isn't as cheap as some, but then there's no accounting for the sheer amount of quality content on offer here – around 10,000 hours at launch. And new customers can enjoy a FREE 7-day trial before paying a thing.
Wondering how can you watch HBO Max? Compatible devices include compatible iPhone and Android devices, Apple and Samsung TVs, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, Chromecast and Chromebooks, and laptops and PCS. Be aware, however, that it doesn’t work with Roku or the Amazon Fire Stick as of yet.
Also, remember that you'll need a valid US-based credit card if you want to take out an HBO Max subscription for the first time - so have yours handy to help streamline the whole sign-up process.
Lastly, you might already be eligible for HBO Max and not know it – say, if you’re a current HBO Now subscriber or pay for HBO through your cable subscriber. If so, check here to find out if you can receive HBO Max free of charge.
How to watch The Witches from outside your country
If you're out of the US for work or taking a well-deserved break abroad, you can still watch The Witches no matter where you’ve ended up.
In some places, like Canada, it's in line for a full-on cinematic release in November, while in other countries, like the UK, it will be available on a premium video on demand (PVOD) basis from October 26 from select digital retailers, priced at £15.99.
But generally, if you're traveling from the US, you'll want to be able to access the same streaming service you would at home. And as HBO Max is only available within the United States, you’ll need to download a VPN to do so.
Use a VPN to watch The Witches online from abroad
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How to watch The Witches 2020: release date in Canada
As we briefly mentioned, The Witches 2020 is getting the full cinematic treatment in the Great White North, so you may be able to head to the movie theatre to watch it from November 20, 2020, if the Canadian rumour mill is to be believed - but the fact the film's international cinematic and PVOD release date has been confirmed as October 28 casts some doubt on this.
It's speculated that a streaming release will follow, with Crave the service almost certain to get the film due to its close relationship with HBO - but speculation suggests this might not be until well into 2021.
That's a long wait, so it's worth reiterating that anyone travelling to Canada from a country where The Witches is already available to stream (e.g. the US) can simply download a quality VPN and connect to whatever service back home offers the movie.
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The Witches 2020 release date UK: can I watch The Witches online?
The Witches 2020 has a confirmed 'international' release date of October 28, 2020 - perfect timing, as it'll arrive just in time for Halloween.
In the UK, with Covid-related restrictions en vogue once more, it looks like it's going to be distributed excusively on a PVOD basis - that's 'paid video on-demand' in full, meaning you buy the film and can stream it at home within a designated window (usually 48 hours).
It's understood The Witches 2020 will cost £15.99 when it's released, and while distribution partners haven't been announced just yet, we'd expect the usual suspects like Amazon Prime Video and iTunes to be among them.
As above, folks currently in the UK from other countries where The Witches is offered by their streaming service can consider using a VPN to access it from abroad.
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The Witches 2020 release date: when is it out in Australia?
Down Under, it's understood that The Witches 2020 will be getting a cinematic release on December 10, 2020 - missing Halloween, but landing just in time for Christmas. Because who doesn't want to creep the hell out of their kids to kick-off the holidays?
Streaming details are scant, though, but we'll be sure to update this guide with more information as soon as it becomes available.
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What is HBO Max?
Available since May, HBO Max is a worthy competitor to Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. It’s at an immediate advantage, having a coveted library of acclaimed HBO TV shows and films at its disposal: The Sopranos, Westworld, The Wire, Succession, and Game of Thrones to name only a few.
Having access to WarnerMedia’s far-reaching library of content, as well as that of third-party providers, makes it even more enticing. It means not just 100 years’ worth of Warner Brothers movies and TV shows, but content from New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, Turner Classic Movies, Bad Robot Productions, Crunchyroll, and many others. That line-up embraces old Hollywood films, anime and manga, contemporary blockbusters, TV series, and everything in between. It’s a hugely diverse selection.
HBO Max also provides exclusive access to all seasons of Friends (it’ll produce the much-anticipated reunion special, too), The Big Bang Theory and Rick and Morty, as well as being the only US service that allows you to watch Studio Ghibli movies – 21 out of 22 of their animated films, including the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
Not only do it have access to a stunning archive of content, but HBO Max intends to create a bounty of exciting new programming for the platform too. Among the roster of current Max Originals is DC’s Doom Patrol, vogueing reality show Legendary, scripted comedy Love Life, and The Not Too Late Show with Elmo. There will be huge growth in this area too, as Warner Bros intends to produce 8-10 mid-budget films annually, as well as creating 31 original series for HBO Max in its first year.
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Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews and Newsweek, but focuses on streaming at Future, an arrangement that combines two of his greatest passions: sport and penny-pinching.