Looks like Warner Bros. is cooking up a big gooey plate of late ’80s/early ’90s nostalgia for dinner, and they’re sticking with the old school recipe. Just like mom used to ah…well, not “make,” but totally put on the VCR to keep me distracted for a few hours when one of her boyfriends came over.
Variety reports that after a scheduling conflict unfortunately bounced Guillermo del Toro from the project, the studio has tapped Robert Zemeckis to write and direct an updated version of The Witches. Putting the mind responsible for the Back To The Future franchise behind the wheel of the Roald Dahl-penned tale that introduced a decent slice of my generation to the horror genre feels extra appropriate — even if it ensures a disproportionate amount of adults buying tickets to what’s theoretically supposed to be a kids’ movie.
I haven’t watched the original 1990 film version of the 1983 book in decades, but the trailer confirms my vague memory that it has something to do with Anjelica Huston turning a boy into a mouse.
Variety doesn’t know a ton more about the new Witches, apart from the possibility that Zemeckis’s new vision of the story might stick closer to Dahl’s novel than the Nicholas Roeg 90z movie.
Given that movie versions of classic children’s stories have a bit of a mixed track record at the box office, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. This year’s A Wrinkle In Time and 2009’s Where The Wild Things Are are both considered financial disappointments. And while I can’t speak for Wrinkle, which I didn’t see, Where The Wild Things Are is an outstanding film that would’ve been a billion dollar franchise had it not been for marketing missteps and the fact that people too stupid to watch good movies sometimes.
So by that metric, a new Witches is a good idea if you like the idea of watching a neat movie, and a risky idea if you like the idea of making gobs upon gobs of money. Go figure!