Warner Bros. Ditches U.S. Theaters to Premiere ‘Roald Dahl’s The Witches’ Exclusively on HBO Max

In another blow to domestic theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures will release director Robert Zemeckis’s reimagined Roald Dahl’s The Witches on HBO Max in the United States, starting Oct. 22. The film is scheduled to launch in movie theaters internationally on Oct. 28. Zemeckis’ movies include Forrest Gump, The Polar Express and the “Back to the Future” franchise.

Zemeckis is joined by filmmakers including Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Kenya Barris for this fantasy adventure about a young boy who stumbles upon a secret coven of witches and, with the help of his loving grandmother, tries to stop their evil plan to turn the world’s children into mice. The cast includes Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth and Chris Rock, with newcomer Jahzir Kadeen Bruno as the brave young hero.

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The Witches is a wonderful reimagining of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale that combines world-class filmmaking with fantastic performances. It’s fun for the whole family and ideal for this time of year,” Toby Emmerich, chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.

“This film, with its stellar cast, is outstanding,” added Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max. “We are thrilled to be able to use our platform to deliver timely, relevant and engaging new content during this time when the theatrical experience is not available to everyone.”

The film will also be featured in HBO Max’s “Halloween is Here” spotlight page, alongside a curated roster of more than 140 movies, series and Halloween-themed TV episodes, hand-picked by HBO Max’s dedicated editorial team.

Paramount Celebrates ‘Forrest Gump’ 25th With Blu-ray, National Mall Screening

Paramount Home Entertainment is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump with a new Blu-ray release and screenings, including one at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Tom Hanks gives an Oscar-winning performance as Forrest, an everyman whose innocence comes to embody a generation. Alongside his mom (Sally Field), his best friend Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), his commanding officer Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), and his favorite girl Jenny (Robin Wright), Forrest has a ringside seat for the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Writing, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects.

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To celebrate the anniversary, Paramount will host a special outdoor screening on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 24, at 8 p.m.  The free screening will take place between 10th and 12th Streets with spots on the lawn available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Also available now for the 25th is a newly remastered version of the film in a two-disc Blu-ray.  The set includes access to a digital copy of the film as well as more than three hours of bonus content, including commentary by Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter; commentary by Wendy Finerman; “Musical Signposts to History,” with an introduction by Ben Fong-Torres; “Getting Past Impossible—Forrest Gump and the Visual Effects Revolution”; “Through the Ears of Forrest Gump—Sound Design”; “Building the World of Gump—Production Design”; “Seeing is Believing—The Visual Effects of Forrest Gump”; screen tests; trailers; and more.

June 23 and 25, the film will return to the big screen in more than 600 cinemas nationwide for two screenings each day via Fathom Events.  For information and tickets, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

Season One of ‘Project Blue Book’ Coming to Disc April 9 From Lionsgate

Season one of “Project Blue Book,” a drama series from Academy Award-winning executive producer Robert Zemeckis, will come out on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD April 9 from Lionsgate.

The series, based on true top-secret investigations into UFOs, stars Aidan Gillen and Michael Malarkey, along with Neal McDonough, Michael Harney, Laura Mennell and Ksenia Solo. Inspired by the real-life experiences of Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Gillen), “Project Blue Book” follows the college professor, who is recruited by the U.S. Air Force to spearhead a clandestine operation, code-named Project Blue Book, which investigates UFO sightings and alleged extraterrestrial encounters. Each episode draws from those actual case files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events.

Criterion March 2019 Slate Includes Zemeckis Debut, Bergman’s ‘Magic Flute’

The Criterion Collection’s March 2019 slate will include The Magic Flute, The Kid Brother, Detour, Wanda, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Japón.

Director Ingmar Bergman’s 1975 screen version of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute arrives on Blu-ray and DVD March 12 with a new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a 1974 Bergman interview, a new interview with film scholar Peter Cowie, the feature-length 1975 Swedish TV documentary Tystnad! Tagning! Trollflöjten! about the making of the film, plus an essay by author Alexander Chee.

Also due March 12 on Blu-ray and DVD is a 4K digital restoration of the 1927 silent film The Kid Brother, starring comedy legend Harold Lloyd as a lawman in the Old West trying to escape the shadow of his brothers. Extras include the 1989 orchestral score by composer Carl Davis; an alternate archival organ score performed by Gaylord Carter; a 2005 commentary featuring filmmaker and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll, film historian Annette D’Agostino Lloyd, and Harold Lloyd’s granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd; “Harold’s Leading Ladies,” a new conversation between author Cari Beauchamp and Suzanne Lloyd; “Anatomy of a Gag: Monkeyshoes,” a new video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns; behind-the-scenes stills gallery curated by Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Simonton Jr.; “Close to Home,” a new video essay on the film’s shooting locations by author John Bengtson; a Dutch television interview with Lloyd from 1962; a featurette from 2005 about Greenacres, Lloyd’s estate, hosted by Suzanne Lloyd; two restored rare early Lloyd shorts: Over the Fence (1917) and That’s Him (1918), with new Wurlitzer theater pipe organ scores and a discussion of their early film formats by archivist Dino Everett; a new tour of the Wurlitzer organ with composer Nathan Barr and organist Mark Herman; and an essay by critic Carrie Rickey.

Due March 19 with a new 4K digital restoration is the Blu-ray and DVD of 1945’s Detour, director Edgar G. Ulmer’s film noir about a down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist (Tom Neal) who finds himself with a dead body on his hands and nowhere to run — a waking nightmare that goes from bad to worse when he picks up the most vicious femme fatale in cinema history, Ann Savage’s Vera. The Blu-ray includes uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen, a 2004 documentary featuring interviews with filmmakers Roger Corman, Joe Dante and Wim Wenders, and actor Ann Savage; a new interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg, author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins; a new program about the restoration of Detour; The film’s trailer; and an an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito.

Also due March 19 on Blu-ray and DVD is 1970’s Wanda, written, directed by and starring Barbara Loden, about a women who tries to move beyond losing her husband and children by drifiting between bars and motels, falling prey to a series of callous men. The disc includes a new 2K digital restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Film Foundation and Gucci, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include I Am Wanda, an hourlong documentary by Katja Raganelli featuring an interview with director Barbara Loden filmed in 1980; an audio recording of Loden speaking to students at the American Film Institute in 1971; a segment from a 1971 episode of “The Dick Cavett Show” featuring Loden; The Frontier Experience, a short educational film from 1975 about a pioneer woman’s struggle to survive, directed by and starring Loden; the film’s trailer; and an essay by film critic Amy Taubin.

Due March 26 on Blu-ray and DVD is I Wanna Hold Your Hand, the directorial debut of Robert Zemeckis. Co-written with Bob Gale, the 1978 film follows six teenagers on a mission to see the first live American appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964. The disc features a new 4K digital restoration approved by Zemeckis and Gale, with a 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new conversation among Zemeckis, Gale and executive producer Steven Spielberg; a new interview with actors Nancy Allen and Marc McClure; audio commentary from 2004 featuring Zemeckis and Gale; The Lift (1972) and A Field of Honor (1973), two early short films by Zemeckis; the film’s trailer and TV spots; an essay by critic Scott Tobias; and more.

Also due March 26 on DVD and Blu-ray is 2002’s Japón, about a suicidal man in Mexico whose encounter with a pious elderly woman reawakens his desires. The disc includes a new 2K digital restoration supervised by director Carlos Reygadas, with a 2.0 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new conversation between Reygadas and filmmaker Amat Escalante; a video diary shot by actor Alejandro Ferretis during the film’s production; Maxhumain, a short film directed by Reygadas in 1999; a deleted scene; the film’s trailer; and a new essay by novelist Valeria Luiselli.