The news of Hocus Pocus 2 has us smelling children.... and they should be thrilled at the prospect of the return of the Sanderson sisters. We first got wind of a Hocus Pocus sequel back in 2019, but now the excitement is ramping up as Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker have been confirmed to reprise their roles as the trio of witches that won us over almost 30 years ago.
Hocus Pocus was initially set for a reboot rather than a direct sequel, and Bette Midler seemed as enthusiastic about that idea as fans of the original film were. In 2017, the actress unabashedly told PEOPLE "I know it’s cheap. It’s going to be cheap!" adding that there was no way she'd be on board for an appearance, no matter how much money was offered. Happily, the prospect of a reboot has been quashed, and we're getting a proper sequel instead.
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Hocus Pocus may have been a flop at the box office, but there's a reason its popularity has endured over the decades. Some of the cast reunited last year for Bette Midler's annual Hulaween fundraising event, in a COVID-safe mockumentary called In Search of the Sanderson Sisters. It features stars like Meryl Streep, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billy Crystal, John Stamos, Glenn Close, Bella Hadid, and more to boot.
Hocus Pocus got a theatrical re-release last October, earning $3M in 10 days. That made the film one of the biggest re-releases of 2020, affirming its cult classic status. Now that Disney has confirmed the sequel with Midler, Najimy, and Parker on board, fans will be eager for updates. You can keep up with everything we know about Hocus Pocus 2 so far below.
Hocus Pocus 2 plot
According to the press release "three young women accidentally bring the Sanderson Sisters back to modern day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on the world."
But, aside from that plot point, details are scarce. The 1993 movie saw the sisters resurrected thanks to a spell that Midler's character cast before the witches were hung in 1693 for kidnapping kids and draining them of their life force, which had the unfortunate side effect of killing them.
Omri Katz played the unwitting catalyst Max, who through a series of events on Halloween ends up lighting the Black Flame Candle, and — being a virgin — fulfils all of the requirements needed to summon the dastardly sisters back into being.
The witches almost succeed in their quest for eternal life, casting a spell on the parents in Salem to keep them dancing the night away, and on the children of the town to lure them to their cottage as life-giving fodder. They're eventually defeated by Max, with the help of his love interest Allison, and victims from the Sanderson sisters' original reign of terror, including a boy cursed to be a talking cat, and an unfaithful lover who's raised from the grave as a zombie.
Hocus Pocus 2 release date
Hocus Pocus 2 is starting production this fall, so we won't be seeing it land on Disney Plus any time this year. The streaming service is planning to have the film ready to make its debut in 2022, so all being well, a Halloween or October release window next year seems likely.
The original film actually released in July, 1993, but Bette Midler's Instagram post confirming the news that she'd be joining the cast mentions a "Fall 2022" release on Disney Plus.
Hocus Pocus 2 trailer and set photos
Sadly, we're far too early for a Hocus Pocus 2 trailer — but instead we have some set photos from the Sanderson sisters recent reunion.
These shots came from production on the 2020 reunion charity special, In Search of the Sanderson Sisters. Bette Midler posted a selection of set photos and videos on her Instagram account last year, and we've gathered them up below to tide you over until we get some official Hocus Pocus 2-related media.
Hocus Pocus 2 cast and crew
Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are confirmed to return as Winifred 'Winnie' Sanderson, Mary Sanderson, and Sara Sanderson. Midler shared the news on her Instagram account, with Najimy following suit with a post paying homage to her character's famous "I smell children" line. Parker also got in on the fun with an Instagram post of her own that harks back to her "amok! amok! amok!" line from the first movie.
As for the rest of the original cast, there's no news yet on whether we'll see Doug Jones reprise his role as Winnie's ex-lover and zombie, William 'Billy' Butcherson, or if Jason Marsden will be back to voice Binx the cat/ cursed boy. Both Billy and Binx were laid to rest at the end of Hocus Pocus, with the latter being reunited with the spirit of his murdered sister. While digging up zombie Billy could be feasible, getting Binx to come back from the great beyond, and as a cat to boot, seems unlikely.
Adam Shankman (Hairspray, Step Up) was pegged to direct, but due to conflicting schedules with his directing duties on Disenchanted, he'll be stepping into the role of executive producer instead. Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, The Proposal) will be picking up the directorial mantle instead. Shankman will be joined by fellow executive producers Ralph Winter (Adrift) and David Kirschner (Curse of Chucky), and Steven Haft (Tigerland) as co-producer.
"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," Shankman says.
"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.’”
Anne Fletcher adds: "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."
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