Jacket art from the original 1968 edition from Westminster Press.
The fact that Disney's recent blockbuster hit Race to Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) as a taxi driver who winds up helping two aliens-disguised-as-teenagers find their space ship, has literary roots may have been lost on a few fans. The reason is that the film's source material, a backlist science fiction title by Alexander Key, fell out of print years ago. Although Key's book, Escape to Witch Mountain, originally published in 1968, wasn't on shelves in time to reap the benefits of Race to Witch Mountain, Key's agency, McIntosh & Otis, has seen to it that Escape to Witch Mountain will receive a chance at a new print life.
Escape to Witch Mountain was originally published by the now-defunct Philadelphia-based Westminster Press. Escape saw a number of iterations in Hollywood. It was adapted into a 1975 feature film by Disney and spawned two sequels, a 1978 theatrical release called Return from Witch Mountain and a 1982 TV movie called Beyond Witch Mountain. Yet another adaptation followed, in the form of a 1995 made-for-TV movie. Despite all the Hollywood attention, the book fell out of print sometime in the late 1980s. A rep at McIntosh & Otis, which oversees the Key estate, could not confirm when or why the book fell out of print, though Pocket, at one point, published a paperback edition.
Disney's 2009 movie adaptation slightly rejiggers the original material, tweaking certain plot points and setting the story 30 years later. (In the book, two orphans--one with telekinetic abilities--escape a nefarious man who claims to be their guardian, only to discover they're actually aliens. The 1975 film altered aspects of that plot line and, among the updates in the 2009 film, Johnson's L.A. cabbie is the orphans' protector, instead of an inner-city Irish priest.)
With renewed interest in the book spurred by the new film, McIntosh & Otis has sold reprint rights to Escape to Witch Mountain to Sourcebooks. The agency fielded a number of requests at the Bologna Book Fair, and Sourcebooks's Lyron Bennett and Daniel Ehrenhaft ultimately struck a deal, for an undiclosed amount, with McIntosh & Otis's Edward Necarsulmer. Sourcebooks will release a paperback edition of Escape to coincide with Disney's DVD release of Race to Witch Mountain, a date for which has not been set.
A rep from McIntosh & Otis also confirmed that a tie-in cover for Sourcebooks' reprint is pending given talks with Disney, which released, in January, a novelization tie-in to coincide with the movie.