The Witches, the latest movie inspired by the classic Roald Dahl children’s book (not to be mistaken with the 1990 movie), is the latest flick to skip theaters in favor of a home streaming release. The reason is exactly what you expect: the pandemic has tossed the movie industry into chaos, resulting in many delayed theatrical releases and, in some cases, the decision to skip theaters entirely in favor of a digital premiere.
The pandemic resulted in many theater closures, and though a number of cinemas have reopened, many people are avoiding them due to the difficulty of social distancing and the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. The movie industry has had to deal with this surprise change in how it operates, navigating suspended productions, changes in viewership, and more.
Though the pandemic has changed how consumers watch movies, it hasn’t reduced how much content is consumed. The use of streaming services skyrocketed in the first few months of the pandemic as many people stayed home and were forced to get their entertainment online. Some studios made the decision to release then-upcoming content as digital purchases or rentals, something that proved successful and has since become more common.
The latest take on The Witches will debut on HBO Max, Warner Bros Pictures has announced. This will be an exclusive release in the United States that will take place on October 22 — and unlike the Mulan release on Disney Plus, subscribers won’t have to pay extra to access the content. HBO Max finally launched earlier this year after months of teases for $11.99/month.
There are a number of benefits to enjoying new movies in the comfort of your own home rather than heading out to theaters — ones that extend beyond avoiding the potential contraction of a serious respiratory disease. In addition to avoiding crowds and distractions, it is often cheaper for families to watch movies at home, meals and snacks are less expensive, and it’s easier to deal with kids and their random bathroom breaks.