Disney is fond of dipping into its back catalogue for sequels and remakes, and last year brought the witchy Sanderson sisters back for a second round of family-friendly dark magic in ‘Hocus Pocus 2’.
Now, buried in a New York Times profile of Sean Bailey, the veteran president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, comes word that a third ‘Hocus Pocus’ is in early development at the company.
What’s the story of ‘Hocus Pocus’ so far?
1993’s original movie followed the chaos wrought by the Sanderson sisters –– Bette Midler’s Winifred, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sarah and Kathy Najimy’s Mary –– after they are executed 300 years in the past for practicing what their fellow villagers contend is dark witchcraft.
Returning to life thanks to a combination of a spell spoken before their demise and the accidental actions of Max, the new kid in the town of Salem, the sisters have but one night to secure their continuing existence… Cue a lot of magical madness and cackling characters.
That movie was directed by Kenny Ortega, and while it didn’t exactly win over critics or cast a truly successful spell at the box office, it became a cult classic that families would watch each Halloween.
Disney had been flirting with the idea of a sequel for a few years, looking to key into the nostalgia for the original, but targeting Disney+ as the destination for the new movie.
‘Hocus Pocus 2’ landed on the streaming service last year, directed by Anne Fletcher, saw the Sanderson sisters returning again thanks to the accidental use of a black flame candle by teenager Becca (Whitney Peak), who is an aspiring witch.
Serving as both a sequel and a semi-reboot of the original, ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ suffered a similar fate as the original with critics, but proved to be a success among audiences, notching a Nielsen record for a streaming movie in its first weekend with 2.7 billion minutes views.
It’s hardly surprising that Disney would look to conjure something new up for the franchise, but right now details are thin on the ground.
We don’t for example, know if Midler, Parker and Najimy will be back, but we can’t really imagine a ‘Hocus Pocus’ movie without the main trio.
Still, talking with Variety around the time of the sequel’s launch, writer Jen D’Angelo revealed her hopes for the return of other characters from the original, including Omri Katz’s Max and Vinessa Shaw’s Allison Watts.
Here’s what she said:
“We tried so hard to get the original cast back for cameos and then it just kept not working out for one reason or the other. But I’m hoping in ‘Hocus Pocus 3,’ we’ll see Max and Alison living in California.”
There is no release date set yet for ‘Hocus Pocus 3’, since it’s still at an early stage.