‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Updates: Bette Midler, SJP To Return

‘Hocus Pocus’ is going to cast a spell on us once again with ‘Hocus Pocus 2.’ Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are officially confirmed to return! Here are all the latest updates.

The Sanderson sisters will live to witch another day. Hocus Pocus 2 is officially happening, and your favorite three witches will be back. Disney+ confirmed on May 20, 2021, that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy will be returning to the roles of Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson in the upcoming Hocus Pocus 2, which will premiere exclusively on Disney+ in 2022.

Hocus Pocus is a beloved Halloween classic that millions watch every October. However, Hocus Pocus wasn’t a box office sensation when it was released on July 16, 1993. It only made $38 million off of a $28 million budget. In the nearly 30 years since Hocus Pocus came out, the film has become a phenomenon. Now there will be another Hocus Pocus movie to love. HollywoodLife has all the latest updates on the upcoming sequel.

Hocus Pocus
‘Hocus Pocus’ starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

How To Watch ‘Hocus Pocus 2’

The original movie was released in theaters, but Hocus Pocus 2 will be released on Disney+. The announcement was made in December 2020 during Disney Investor Day. Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, told viewers: “Of course, one of the most popular holidays is Halloween, and one of the most popular Halloween movies is the cult classic Hocus Pocus. I am happy to confirm we are working on a treat for Disney+ audiences with a spooky sequel.” The movie will have a release date in 2022. Fans can watch Hocus Pocus all year round on Disney+ now.


Production hasn’t started for the second movie, but Hocus Pocus 2 will begin filming in the fall of 2021. The sequel was originally going to be directed by Adam Shankman. “Thanks with all of my heart dear @disney,” Adam wrote on Instagram in 2020 when the news was announced. “Looks like Il be working on a looooooottttt of magic for awhile… I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be guiding forward these two Disney crown jewel legacies. My only hope is to honor those who came before me and build something new and exciting, as I desperately try to not let down the fans and enchant the new initiates.” He’s currently working on the Enchanted sequel, Disenchanted.

Anne Fletcher will be taking over as director of Hocus Pocus 2, with Adam stepping into an executive producer role along with Ralph Winter and David Kirschner. Steven Haft is a 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,” Adam said in a statement. “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’s statement read: “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.”

Kathy recently revealed that she has spoken with Bette and Sarah about the sequel and gave an update about what’s going on with filming. “Sarah [Jessica Parker] and Bette [Midler] and I had like a couple of weeks on the phone talking about the script, and that was really fun, obviously,” Kathy said on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show in Jan. 2021. “Bette Midler, as Jess knows, was a huge, huge inspiration for my whole entire life. Like half of me is me because of Bette Midler, half of me is me because my mom, Gloria Steinem, and Bette Midler. So we talked a lot about notes and if we did now, it’s just, and we all have said in a perfect world, yes. Now it’s just location, times and dates and how long and all that. So it’s just, it’s those things. So, you know, I can’t really give a yay or nay either way.”

‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Cast

Bette, Sarah, and Kathy will reprise their roles as Sanderson sisters Winifred, Sarah, and Mary. The three actresses each posted the Hocus Pocus 2 official logo on their Instagram pages on May 20, 2021. “Sistaaaahs! It’s been 300 years… But we’re BACK!” Bette wrote. Sarah’s caption read, “Yep. I’m ready. To run. Amok, amok, amok, amok.” Kathy wrote, “The people have spoken: I smell children…again.”

All 3 of them expressed interest in returning in the years leading up to the announcement. The original cast also featured Omri Katz, 44, as Max Dennison, Thora Birch, 38, as Max’s sister Dani, and Vinessa Shaw, 44, as Allison. Disney has not officially announced who from the original cast will be returning.

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Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, and Omri Katz in ‘Hocus Pocus.’ (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

“They want to make a movie, they’ve asked us if we were interested and of course all of us said yes,” Bette told Fox 5 New York in Oct. 2020. “I’m game, I’m totally game.” The Sanderson trio recently reunited in Oct. 2020 to raise money for Bette Midler’s charity, New York Restoration Project, getting fans even more excited about the sequel.

Back in May 2020, Sarah revealed to radio host Bruce Bozzi that she had “agreed publicly” about returning. “I think that it is something Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and I are all very hospitable to the idea,” she said. “I think for a long time, people were talking about it as if people were moving forward with it in a real way but we were unaware of it. We’ve agreed publicly to the right people, yes, that would be a very, very fun idea, so we’ll see what the future holds.”

Hocus Pocus
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy have all expressed interest in returning. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Thora told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY in Jan. 2020 that she would be down to return as Dani “if they would have me.” She also said, “They’ve been talking about this reboot for five years. I’m excited to see what it all looks like.”

As for new cast members, Disney hasn’t made any announcements. Back in 2017, Deadline reported that Disney Channel was working on a Hocus Pocus TV movie with a “new cast.” The TV movie never came to fruition.

What Will ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Be About?

The plot for Hocus Pocus 2 is being kept very under wraps. When the original Hocus Pocus trio was confirmed to return in May 2021, Disney+ revealed exciting new details about the sequel. In Hocus Pocus 2, “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.”

The original movie started in 1693 as the Sanderson sisters were being sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft. They were hanged, but not before Winifred vowed to return to Salem to get her revenge. She cast a spell that would bring the sisters back during a full moon on Halloween if a virgin lit the Black Flame Candle. The trio was resurrected 300 years later when Max lit that infamous candle.

Bette Midler
Bette Midler and Omri Katz in ‘Hocus Pocus.’ (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

The writers of the first movie left the original film open-ended for a sequel. The Sanderson sisters did disintegrate into magical dust when the sun rose above the horizon, but Winifred’s spellbook teased their possible return. The movie ended with the spellbook opening its eye, meaning that it was still alive and the witches may not be gone for good.

A.W. Jantha published Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel in 2018. The YA book followed Max and Allison’s daughter, Poppy, 25 years after the events of the film as she faced off against the Sanderson sisters. The sequel could be based on this book or it could focus on a new story entirely.

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