Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy will reprise their roles as the delightfully wicked Sanderson Sisters in the live-action comedy “Hocus Pocus 2,” the spooky sequel to Disney’s 1993 Halloween cult classic “Hocus Pocus,” Disney announced on Thursday.
The film will premiere exclusively on Disney+ in 2022.
“Hocus Pocus 2” will begin production this fall under the direction of Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal,” “27 Dresses”), who is taking over directing responsibilities from her friend and colleague Adam Shankman (“Hairspray,” “The Wedding Planner”), with Lynn Harris (“The Shallows”) serving as producer. Shankman is currently in production on “Disenchanted” for the studio, which he is directing, but will remain on this project as an executive producer along with Ralph Winter (“Adrift”) and David Kirschner (“Curse of Chucky”). Steven Haft (“Tigerland”) is co-producer.
“Hocus Pocus” followed three witch sisters who were cursed in Salem in 1693 but were resurrected 300 years later by a boy, his sister and the boy’s love interest. While the film wasn’t a box office success and only earned $39 million worldwide, it has become a cult classic, especially for Halloween time.
“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,” Shankman 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.’”
“Now more than ever, people need to laugh,” Fletcher added. “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.”
Fletcher and Shankman first met in 1990 when they were both dancers for the Academy Awards broadcast. Shankman went on to hire her as his assistant choreographer, working together on over 100 different jobs. Fletcher’s first directing gig was in 2006 on “Step Up,” which Shankman produced.