Walt Disney Pictures has confirmed that there will be a Hocus Pocus 3, the third instalment in the Hocus Pocus franchise, following on the record set by Hocus Pocus 2.
Hocus Pocus 2, a sequel to Hocus Pocus (1993), was one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of 2022. It was a major success on streaming platform Disney+, becoming its most-watched movie ever over the frame of the first three days of release. It also broke a Nielsen record.
All about Hocus Pocus 3
Confirmation came from Walt Disney Pictures president
In a conversation with The New York Times (NYT), Sean Bailey, the president of Walt Disney Pictures, said on 4 June that Hocus Pocus 3 is happening.
The report says that it is one of the over 50 movies in various stages of development. Among the others are live-action versions of Moana, Hercules and Lilo and Stitch.
Which original cast members will return for Hocus Pocus 3?
The confirmation was the only thing left about the third instalment in the Hocus Pocus series following the runaway success of Hocus Pocus 2.
During the worldwide premiere of the second instalment in New York City in September 2022, screenwriter Jen D’Angelo told Variety that the third film could have two main characters from the original who did not appear in Hocus Pocus 2.
“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,” D’Angelo said. “But I’m hoping in Hocus Pocus 3, we’ll see Max and Alison living in California.”
The characters D’Angelo was referring to, Max Dennison and Allison Watts, were played by Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw, respectively.
Streaming record set by Hocus Pocus 2
According to Deadline, Hocus Pocus 2 set a record on Nielsen’s weekly chart for streaming minutes. The film clocked 2.7 billion viewing minutes from 26 September to 2 October. Deadline notes that since the film premiered on 30 September, only the first weekend counted towards the total.
The previous holder of the record was Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated feature film Encanto (2021), which recorded 2.2 billion minutes of viewing from 27 December 2021 to 2 January 2022.
The Nielsen data also reveals that about 21 percent of the viewers of Hocus Pocus 2 were from Hispanic homes. Interestingly, the phenomenal popularity of the sequel also led to a surge in viewing for the 1993 film. According to the Nielsen data, the original film recorded 774 million minutes of viewing.
What is the story of the Hocus Pocus franchise?
Hocus Pocus 2 is essentially a ‘legacy sequel’ — a term used for sequels that follow the original after a very long gap, which is usually more than a decade.
The story of Hocus Pocus 2 follows the three witches from the first film after they are accidentally brought back to Salem by teenagers conducting a seance.
The original film showed their backstory — how they were caught and executed in the 17th century for taking away the souls of children for eternal youth.
Hocus Pocus 2 stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. They play three witch sisters named Winifred ‘Winnie’ Sanderson, Mary Sanderson and Sarah Sanderson, respectively. All three actors were part of the first film too.
The sequel, which also stars Sam Richardson, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo and Lilia Buckingham, received mixed reviews from critics upon release.
(Hero image credit: IMDb; Featured image credit: © Disney/IMDb)