“Dazzle me my darling.” Hocus Pocus 2, the long-awaited sequel to 1993’s Hocus Pocus is officially coming to Disney+ in Fall 2022, with Jen D’Angelo (Workaholics, Solar Opposites, Young Rock), writing the script and Anne Fletcher (Dragula, This Is Us, Step Up) directing. The sequel’s former director, Hairspray‘s Adam Shankman, is now signed on as executive producer. On Halloween, Walt Disney Studios released a 30-second Hocus Pocus 2 teaser trailer, which features the re-lighting the Black Candle Flame (so keep your kids locked inside tonight, unless you want to risk them being eaten by the Sanderson Sisters), along with an announcement of both new and returning cast members, including Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham and the original Sanderson Sisters, portrayed by Bette Midler (The First Wives Club), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City), and Kathy Najimy (Sister Act).
Hocus Pocus 2 was first announced by Disney in December 2020. But after a long COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and some crew shakeups, including the departure of the film’s director, Adam Shankman (Hairspray, Dragula, Step Up: High Water), because of scheduling conflicts with another Disney sequel, Disenchanted, the production of the sequel was slightly delayed. Now, Anne Fletcher is signed on as the new director of Hocus Pocus 2, and it has officially started filming for its scheduled for release in Fall 2022. Watch the Hocus Pocus 2 teaser below:
Hocus Pocus was released in 1993 and starred Midler, Parker, and Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters. The original film begins in 1963 in Salem, Massachusetts, with the three witches imprisoning a child and taking her life-force. Understandably angry, the townspeople, led by the children’s parents, capture the sisters and try to hang them. Instead, one sister casts a spell that, on Halloween night when, the Moon is full, a virgin will summon them back from the dead to claim the lives of all the children in Salem.
Three hundred years later, in 1993, the witches are inadvertently resurrected by a boy named Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his younger sister, Dani (Thora Birch), and crush, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). While the three children are visiting the Sanderson Sisters’ cottage, Max finds the Black Flame Candle and lights it, causing the magical cottage to suddenly come to life. However, when the witches come to the 20th century, they learn that Halloween is now celebrated as a holiday, not treated as something the be feared.
In 1993, When Hocus Pocus was first released, it received mixed reviews from critics, and only earned between $39 – $42 million at the box office (sources can’t agree on how much the film actually earned). It was considered a huge loss to Disney, who spent a lot on the film’s production, and estimates suggest the studio lost around $16.5 million during the film’s theatrical run. But since then, the movie has became a cult classic, with an increase in streaming sales each Halloween. In 2018, Hocus Pocus actress Shaw told Page Six:
“[Hocus Pocus}] was actually a flop when it came out. [Bette Midler] had gotten an Oscar for her work and had all these prestigious things that she’d been doing and then she decides to do this movie which in the critics’ eyes, it was just appalling. They were just thinking, ‘How could she do this?'”
Joining the original witchy trio of Midler, Parker and Najimy is an all-star ensemble, including Whitney Peak (Sabrina), Lilia Buckingham (Crown Lake), Belissa Escobedo (American Horror Stories), Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Juju Brener (Vanquish), Froy Guiterrez (Teen Wold), Taylor Henderson (Earwig and the Witch), and newcomer Nina Kitchen. Also returning from the first film is Doug Jones, who played the zombified William “Billy” Butcherson.
The tweet confirms that two Ted Lasso alumni are also joining the cast, Sam Richardson and Hannah Waddingham. In addition to his small but memorable part on Ted Lasso, Richardson is also known for playing Richard Splett on Veep, and for starring alongside Chris Pratt in both The Tomorrow War and Stranded Asset. Although Hannah Waddingham is best known for her roles in Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones, the English actress and singer also had a long career in London’s West End, including a particularly noteworthy performance in the original London production of Spamalot.
According to Digital Spy, Disney has already released some hints about the plot of the Hocus Pocus sequel, the outlet reported a storyline that seems pretty similar to the first movie, my pretties:
“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.”
Although Disney hasn’t confirmed an actual release date, and not much has been revealed about the sequel’s plot, it has been confirmed that filming started on the hotly anticipated sequel on October 18th, 2021, in Providence, Rhode Island. The Hocus Pocus 2 director, Anne Fletcher, said, “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.”