Here come the Sanderson Sisters again! Hocus Pocus 2 is finally available on Disney+ after 29 years. A sequel was undoubtedly a long shot at the time the first picture was released.
Hocus Pocus was slammed by critics and did poorly at the box office, possibly losing around $16.5 million during its initial theatrical run. However, Disney kept showing the movie every year on Disney Channel and Freeform (previously ABC Family), and a whole generation of youngsters grew up with it as a Halloween tradition.
On Freeform, the first week of Hocus Pocus airings in October 2018 (the film’s 25th anniversary) averaged 8.2 million viewers. The film’s campy performances from the Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) and its slightly more mature tone than conventional live-action Disney fare are likely reasons for its cult following.
Three Salem witches, the Sanderson Sisters, are portrayed in the film as being sentenced to death in 1693 for allegedly draining the life energy of a little girl and condemning her brother to spend all of eternity in the form of a black cat.
All Hollow’s Eve, when the moon is complete, the sisters’ Black Flame Candle will bring them back to life if a virgin burns it. The sisters return three centuries later when a local teenager in Salem lights the candle as a practical prank. The two of them are being chased, and he has no choice but to intervene.
Although Midler, Parker, and Najimy steal the show as the film’s leads, the rest of the cast also gives excellent performances, and several of them have gone on to successful Hollywood careers of their own. Let us see if we can track down the principal players from Hocus Pocus and find out what they have been up to since the film’s release in 1993.
Bette Midler has been a staple in the entertainment business for decades, thanks to her status as a Broadway icon and a talented singer. She has been making music as a solo artist since 1970 and has sold over 30 million albums around the world. Her film roles in The Rose, For the Boys, and Gypsy have earned her several Golden Globe and Academy Award nods.
Midler went about her daily life as usual after her Hocus Pocus cameo. Later that year, she had an appearance in the stage adaptation of Gypsy, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She also had guest-starring roles in popular ’90s shows like The Nanny, Seinfeld, and Murphy Brown.
Get Shorty, First Wives Club, and Disney’s Fantasia 2000 were just a few of the movies released that decade. At the start of the millennium, Midler was featured in films by Nancy Meyers, such as What a Girl Wants, Is not She Great, and Drowning Mona, and she also appeared in her own CBS comedy, Bette.
She starred in the remade version of Stepford Wives and launched her Kiss My Brass tour in 2003. Miller’s latter acting roles were met with negative reviews, so she started doing a residency in Las Vegas while still appearing in minor roles here and there.
For the first time in almost three decades, Midler returned to Broadway in 2013 with I will Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers. The actress has worked and recorded consistently through highs and lows, eventually being awarded the Kennedy Center Honor for her career in the performing arts in 2021.
The actress has kept Hocus Pocus alive in her thoughts by throwing a costume party yearly called Hulaween, with the revenues going to the New York Restoration Project.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Despite the critical accolades she received for her role in Ed Wood, opposite Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker’s career took a hit with the release of Hocus Pocus, a film that was widely panned at the time.
In addition to her work with Midler in First Wives Club, she has also co-starred with Bruce Willis in the drama Striking Distance, led the cast of the romantic comedy Miami Rhapsody, reteamed with Burton for 1996’s Mars Attacks!, and played opposite Willis in the comedy The First Wives Club.
Parker’s career took a memorable turn in 1998 when she was cast as the lead in the hit HBO series Sex and the City. Parker’s performance was recognized with multiple awards, including two Emmys, three SAGs, and four Golden Globes.
Two movies were made based on the series as well. Despite her fame after Sex and the City, Parker performed in movies, including several major Hollywood titles like The Family Stone, Failure to Launch, and Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve.
Parker continued her relationship with HBO after Sex, and the City ended, starring in the series Divorce; she has also committed to appearing in the Sex and the City remake in 2021. And Like That, it Was Done.
Kathy Najimi‘s comedic timing in Hocus Pocus was spot on, and she went on to have a successful Hollywood career using those talents. Hope Floats, Rat Race, WALL-E, Step Up 3D, and A Madea Christmas all featured Najimi in notable supporting roles.
Najimi’s body of work roughly doubles that of Midler and Parker, thanks to her extensive voiceover work. She has been a regular on television, appearing in primetime dramas and children’s entertainment equally.
In addition to her upcoming return as Peggy Hill on King of the Hill, her most notable roles include appearances on Chicago Hope, Veronica’s Closet, and Veep.
Also Read: A Honest Review on the Hocus Pocus Sequel!
Starring as John Ross Ewing III on the hit primetime soap Dallas launched the career of child actor Omri Katz, who went on to play Max in Hocus Pocus and guest feature on the cult favorite Eerie, Indiana.
Katz’s luck began to run out after his stint with the Sanderson Sisters. After making cameos on Freaks and Geeks and General Hospital, Katz called it quits as an actor. He had previously starred on NBC’s The John Larroquette Show, a failed vehicle for Larroquette following his success in Night Court, and the TV movie Dallas: J.R. Returns.
Hocus Pocus was only a warm-up for Thora Birch. Birch had a breakout performance in the Oscar-winning picture American Beauty, propelling her to the forefront of the teen actor community before the decade’s end.
She then appeared in the underwhelming Dungeons & Dragons and the critically acclaimed Ghost World, in which she co-starred with a teenage Scarlett Johansson. Birch was nominated for a Golden Globe as the best actress in a musical or comedy for her performance.
Despite this, Birch’s presence in Hollywood began to fade after a few made-for-TV films. In an interview given in 2014, Birch reflected on this period and explained the change by saying, “I guess nobody really wanted women to do that at that time.”
She had decided not to “take” the demands the film industry had for her in order to “maintain a strong identity and pursue things that were a little more thoughtful.” Birch has primarily worked in indie films since the mid-2000s.
Although, she did show up in A24’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, starring with Jonathan Majors. For Birch, her regular job on The Walking Dead was a chance to make a comeback to the acting world. Let us keep our fingers crossed that Birch will get more respectable jobs in mainstream media.
For Vinessa Shaw, who played Max’s girlfriend Allison, the part of Max in Hocus Pocus was something of a career high point. Since then, she has been a busy Hollywood actress, with roles in films including 40 Days and 40 Nights (a Josh Hartnett comedy), The Weight of Water, and Corky Romano.
Shaw returned to studio fare in 2006, starring in the remake of Wes Craven’s exploitation-horror thriller The Hills Have Eyes, directed by Alexandre Aja. She then appeared in the remake of 3:10 to Yuma alongside Russel Crowe and Christian Bale
Shaw has continued to act in both significant and little productions, and his most recent role was as a supporting actor on Ray Donovan, which airs on Showtime.
Doug Jones, who has performed as an actor, contortionist, and mime, has had a phenomenally successful career in the entertainment industry. The man who famously got his start in the business doing MacDonald’s commercials as “Mac Tonight” is now a regular collaborator of Guillermo del Toro.
Jones has made appearances in the vast majority of the famed director’s films, most notably as Abe Sapien in the Hellboy series and the fish creature in The Shape of Water, which received an Oscar despite being on the fringes of the horror genre.
In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Jones was responsible for all of the Surfer’s physical acting. Jones has also played a wide variety of monsters, aliens, and other creatures in films, including Lady in the Water, Legion, The Bye Bye Man, and many others.
Which sister did Sanderson come first?
Thirty years have passed after the events of the first “Hocus Pocus,” in which the Sanderson sisters Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) fell apart. Hocus Pocus 2: The Return of the Sanderson Sisters is Now Available on Disney+.
Is the same cast returning for Hocus Pocus 2?
In spite of the fact that EW reported beforehand that original Hocus Pocus stars Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw, and Thora Birch would not be joining Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Doug Jones in Hocus Pocus 2, their characters, Max, Allison, and Dani, are brought back to life in the sequel in a seamless cameo.