The original Hocus Pocus, released in 1993, was an unexpected cult classic that succeeded wildly at the box office and continues to be a Halloween favorite more than twenty years later. The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to release a sequel, but many fans are wondering whether Hocus Pocus 2 will live up to its predecessor’s standards of hilarity and eye-popping effects. With the comedic genius of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker back together on the big screen and Oscar-winning director Anne Fletcher at the helm of this production, we have high hopes for the upcoming film. Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salem’s Witches

The plot

Set in modern-day Salem, Mass., Hocus Pocus 2 brings back original stars Bette Midler (Winifred Sanderson), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah Sanderson) and Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson). This time around, a teenage boy named Max Dennison accidentally lights a spell book and releases his new crush Allison. The family must get through an enchanted Halloween night alive. Chris Columbus will executive produce.

The setting

Jennifer D’Angelo stated that her ideal setting for a Hocus Pocus sequel would be in modern day Salem, Massachusetts. She stated she wanted it to be more of a comedy as opposed to being very scary, and have Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles. The plot would focus on them battling a resurrected Billy Butcherson (originally played by Vinnie Jones), portrayed by Adam Rippon. Allison Jaye has been brought on board as executive producer with Diablo Cody as writer and David Katzenberg as producer of Hocus Pocus 2.

Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salems Witches
Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salem’s Witches

The characters

Bette Midler (Winifred Sanderson), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah Sanderson), Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson) are all set to return, and it will be directed by Anne Fletcher. The plot has not been revealed yet but some leaked storyboards suggest that Max, Dani and Allison take on a mission to save one of their parents who has been turned into a witch. Actress Lulu Wilson is reportedly cast as Dani. She appeared in 2014’s Insidious: Chapter 3 and starred alongside Betty Buckley in 2017’s Before I Fall. Carla Renata is said to play a new character – Allison – while Kathy Najimy reprises her role as Mary Sanderson, who died in the first film.

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Casting news

In a Hollywood Reporter interview, director Anne Fletcher teased that Hocus Pocus 2 might feature more than just Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. We’ve been talking about who we could bring back, she said. We’re so fortunate to have Bette and Sarah, but we also want to mix it up. As for who else may appear in Hocus Pocus 2, Deadline reported that Kathy Najimy is being discussed as well. And speaking of casting news, D’Angelo revealed on Twitter last month that one actress has already signed on for an unspecified role. I can officially say Allison Janney has signed on & will be delightful, she tweeted at the time.

Ratings predictions

The original Hocus Pocus grossed $16.8 million on its opening weekend—certainly a major hit, but not quite a blockbuster. To be fair, it was only released in 3,072 theaters compared to 5,545 for The Conjuring (the widest release of 2013) and 4,028 for The Purge (the widest release of 2014). Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that Hocus Pocus 2 would follow suit with perhaps $18-20 million on its opening weekend; half what The Conjuring made but still a healthy number by today’s standards. However…

Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salems Witches
Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salem’s Witches

Who is playing the Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus 2?

Well, we don’t know who will be playing Winifred, Mary and Sarah in Hocus Pocus 2 yet. If a sequel is even going forward, it will probably be a while before we hear an announcement regarding casting. However, back in 2015 when reports of a sequel first started surfacing, there were rumors that Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler would reprise their roles. It’s safe to say that if those two aren’t attached at some point soon then we can assume that talks with them broke down or they just declined. We should also mention that Sarah Jessica Parker has said she would love to make a Hocus Pocus 2.

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Who is the cat in Hocus Pocus 2?

The cat in Hocus Pocus 2 is Pumpkin – a male calico, who was adopted by Disney after his owner dropped him off at a shelter. The cat originally belonged to actress Kathy Najimy, who portrays Mary Sanderson in Hocus Pocus 2. Najimy is also a part of Walt Disney Pictures’ team of screenwriters behind Hocus Pocus 2, so they asked her if they could adopt Pumpkin instead of having him put down. Najimy agreed and then went on set where she met actor Finn Wolfhard and gave him Pumpkin as a gift. He named him Basil, because it’s an anagram for ‘basically amazing.’

Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salems Witches
Hocus Pocus 2: A Return to Salem’s Witches

Why was Hocus Pocus released in July?

Although Hocus Pocus was shot back in 1992, Disney chose to wait until 1993—the year before Halloween—to release it, specifically because of that date’s proximity to Christmas. The decision was a no-brainer: People would likely be itching for some seasonal horror while they waited for Santa Claus. We knew if we held it until after Christmas and released it right around Halloween time, we’d catch two segments of audiences, Walt Disney Company spokesperson Paul Roiff told American Film in 1993. One thing you learn about marketing movies is timing. He was right. Hocus Pocus became a sleeper hit at theaters, grossing more than $100 million worldwide—and cementing its status as a bona fide classic 25 years later.

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Where was Hocus Pocus filmed?

Although there is an official address for Hocus Pocus’ home at Disney, not many people know that it was actually filmed in New Orleans. This makes sense since there are a lot of witchcraft references in New Orleans (Voodoo, anyone?). The location worked well with filming both exteriors and interiors of Bette Midler’s Sanderson home and her famous Walt Disney World scenes in Disneyland. With all of its history, spooky characters and eerie ambiance, New Orleans was definitely a good setting for the scariest night of the year – Halloween![3]

Who directed Hocus Pocus 2?

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