Disney already overwhelmed potential subscribers in October of 2019 with a list that ran 629 titles strong of series and movies that will be available on Disney+ come launch day. But wait, there's more! These titles are simply a base from which the service plans to build out an entire library of original TV shows and movies as the service progresses. Viewers already know Marvel and Lucasfilm will be adding titles. Now some Disney classics are being lined up for a reboot. Fans really want to know, is a Hocus Pocus sequel happening? Just in time for Halloween, it looks like it is.
Hocus Pocus is already considered one of Disney's cult classics of the 1990s. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, it's a tale of three witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693. They're then accidentally revived by a family new to the New England landscape, 300 years later. As one can imagine, hilarity ensues when they discover that, horror of horrors, Halloween is a cheerful, kid-centric holiday.
The movie is the foundation anchor of Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween extravaganza and airs A Christmas Story-style on Halloween itself. It only makes sense that the film would be reimagined as a brand new sequel for the streaming service.
According to Collider, which broke the news:
Jen D’Angelo, who served as a writer and co-producer on Workaholics, has been hired to write the script for Hocus Pocus 2, which is in the works at Disney Plus... Sources say that D’Angelo has been tasked with finding a way to bring back the original cast of Bette Midler as Winifred, Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah, and Kathy Najimy as Mary. None of them are attached at the moment, but the studio is hopeful that they’ll be involved with the sequel in some capacity. Since the project is still in early development at Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, it remains unclear whether they’ll be the main characters, or whether we’ll see them pass the proverbial torch to a new generation of witches.
The fact is, the story could go either way since it's a movie sequel. If this were confirmed to be a streaming series, it would be a better bet the original cast are merely cameo nods and torch passing. A new movie timed for 2023, aka 30 years after the original film, could easily be a check-in with Winifred, Sarah, and Mary. Or it could be something aimed for a new, younger generation.
As most outlets are pointing out, the original Hocus Pocus was not a huge box office success. It wasn't a complete flop, with a box office total of $39 million worldwide on a $28 million budget. But certainly not one of Disney's out-of-the-box hits.
That helps to explain why doing a sequel for the streaming service instead of the big screen makes financial sense. "Mid-level" movie titles moving to Netflix rather than theaters. Disney's new platform is a perfect way to reboot and reimagine old properties on a smaller scale, where nostalgic audiences will stream sequels on the small screen.