Disabled Community Backlash over The Witches, Warner Bros. Apologizes

We haven’t checked out the Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches on HBO Max yet — it’s definitely on the watchlist, though — but apparently the depiction of the fantastical, non-human creatures has upset some disabled people.

From what I’m reading of the complaints, it has to do with how the witches claws are shown. Essentially, a costume and wardrobe malfunction.

In our 2020 hyper politically correct world, Warner Bros. apologized for their fictional objectionable representation.

The statement continued: “In adapting the original story, we worked with designers and artists to come up with a new interpretation of the cat-like claws that are described in the book. It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them. This film is about the power of kindness and friendship. It is our hope that families and children can enjoy the film and embrace this empowering, love-filled theme.”

Warner Bros. apologizes to after backlash from disability community – CNN

I don’t know what to make of this and probably should see the film first to fully comment. It might be that the complaints are valid, so worth keeping that perspective in mind.

However, it seems like just about anything can offend any group of people these days. My heart goes out to all disabled people, but do we really want to start looking at the depiction of witches in entertainment as a possible slight to disabled people?

Such a slippery slope here.

For consistency, I do not believe that creative license absolves everything (see: Why Netflix ‘Cuties’ will never be watched or reviewed in our house – critically acclaimed or panned, we don’t care) but my initial reaction to this is it’s not real. It’s an artistic representation. It’s makeup and CGI (?) artistry.

That stated, apologies from studios for any unintended harm doesn’t hurt anything. It actually gives the marketing team an opportunity to keep the film in the news which helps increase viewership interest. It might also open up a job for a person with a disability to be part of the movie monster QA inspection process (bad joke, sorry).

No Time To Die Postponed to Easter 2021, Zemeckis’ Roald Dahl Adaptation The Witches becomes HBO Max exclusive

Good and bad news.

Best to start with the good: Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches which had previously been delayed to “TBA 2021” now has been picked up by HBO Max as an exclusive streaming release for October 22, 2020. So, no, it also won’t receive a theatrical release in the United States, but that seems to be the trend here in America at the moment.

The next major film on the theatrical release schedule, James Bond #25 No Time To Die has been delayed from November to Easter 2021 where F9 is currently scheduled, but Deadline saying they think will vacate that date (UPDATE 6:27pm PT: F9 has, in fact, moved to May 28, 2021 via Hollywood Reporter).

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.  We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” said the studio in a statement. MGM was the first studio to foresee how the pandemic was going to stall exhibition, and jumped No Time to Die from its Easter weekend release date of April 10-12 to the Thanksgiving frame.

‘No Time To Die’ Delayed To Easter Weekend 2021 – Deadline

If you’re keeping track — and believe me that process has been messy — No Time To Die was originally planned for Easter 2020 then moved to Thanksgiving 2020 and now is being pushed back to Easter 2021.

Just yesterday I watched the released video for the No Time To Die theme song from Billy Eilish.

A haunting theme song for No Time To Die … can’t wait to see this! But have to until Easter 2021

The Witches joins a growing list of films removed from theatrical release in the United States. Some films have released internationally where the pandemic seems to be under better control.

Recently movies include Greenland (HBO Max), Bill & Ted Face The Music (PVOD/VOD), Mulan (Disney+ & PVOD/VOD $29.99). That’s just a few more noteworthy and recent moves. Trolls World Tour at the beginning of the pandemic was the first to skip a theatrical release for streaming. It’s becoming the norm, not the exception in 2020.

Oh, and with a month left to the next election our President and First Lady — two of the most protected people on the planet — have tested positive for COVID-19.

Yeah, this is not a good time in America. Not at all. Hoping that both of them will be OK. The President is in his 70s, which is not the best age for anybody to have COVID, but 95% survive it at his age.

If the President of the United States can get COVID-19, all bets are off with anything in the entertainment industry. I mean it just seems like everything else is insignificant to all human beings on this planet to be safe. Please be safe out there and take care of your loved ones, family, friends and each other.