A sequel to Disney‘s 1993 film Hocus Pocus is officially on the way – and Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najim are returning as the Sanderson Sisters.
The sequel’s plot will follow three young women who accidentally bring back three child-hungry witches, the Sanderson Sisters, back to modern-day Salem. They must figure out how to stop the witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on the world.
Hocus Pocus 2 will not be receiving a theatrical release and is instead lined up for a Disney+ release sometime in 2022.
On board to direct is Anne Fletcher, whose many credits include Step Up, 27 Dresses, The Proposal, and episodes of hit drama series This Is Us. Fletcher is taking over directing duties from Adam Shankman, who was previously attached at the helm but was forced to step aside due to scheduling issues. Shankman is still tackling a Disney movie of his own – long-awaited Enchanted sequel Disenchanted, also for Disney+.
“As heartbroken as I am that I won’t be able to direct my friends Bette, Sarah Jessica and Kathy in what is sure to be nothing short of a major event for Disney+ due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn’t be more pleased to be handing over the reins to Anne, who has brought so much laughter and joy into people’s lives with her previous work,” said Shankman, who remains attached to Hocus Pocus 2 as an executive producer. “I am still grateful and proud to help shepherd this ingenious project as executive producer alongside producer Lynn Harris, whom I have loved and admired as a colleague and friend since she helped get me the job choreographing Boogie Nights.”
Said Fletcher: “Now more than ever, people need to laugh. We should be laughing every day, and there is so much fun to be had with these three unbelievable women playing delicious characters from such a beloved film. I am so grateful to be able to play a part in bringing these witches back to life, and to be working with my friends at Disney again makes it all the more special. This is a movie for everyone, from the fans who grew up with the first film to the next generation of viewers, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, Descendants), the first Hocus Pocus wasn’t exactly a hit when it was released in 1993, receiving mixed-to-poor reviews and underperforming at the box office (initially earning around $US39 million worldwide from an estimated $US28 million budget). The film, however, has certainly had legs over the years, continuing to attract viewers on the home entertainment market and through re-releases. Disney re-released the film in US cinemas in October 2020, right in the midst of the pandemic, and the film managed to earn almost another $US5 million in just a small number of theatres.