Disney initially revealed plans for a follow-up film in 2019 with the hopes that the trio of actors would return, but Midler, Parker and Najimy hadn’t formally confirmed their participation until now. Production is expected to begin this fall with “Hocus Pocus 2” set to debut on Disney Plus sometime in 2022.
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Midler celebrated the news on Twitter, writing, “Sistaaaahs! It’s been 300 years… But we’re BACK!”
Filmmaker Adam Shankman will no longer direct the movie due to scheduling conflicts. However, he will remain on the project as an executive producer as he shifts his attention to directing “Disenchanted,” a sequel to the 2007 fairytale comedy “Enchanted” with Amy Adams, for the studio.
Anne Fletcher, whose credits include “The Proposal” and “27 Dresses,” will take over directing duties. Fletcher and Shankman go way back, having first met in 1990 when they were both dancers for the Oscars telecast. Shankman later hired Fletcher as his assistant choreographer and have partnered on more than 100 different projects. He later produced her feature directorial debut, the 2006 dance film “Step Up”starring Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.
“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 Plus 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.
Lynn Harris will also produce the film, with Steven Haft serving as co-producer. Ralph Winter is executing producing.
“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,’” Shankman added.
In the original “Hocus Pocus,” Midler, Parker and Najimy played a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1963. The fearsome threesome is inadvertently resurrected 300 years later by a boy whose family has moved from Los Angeles to Salem. As they attempt to acclimate to the 20th century, they are horrified to discover that Halloween has become a holiday.
Disney isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel for the follow-up. The sequel centers on three young women who 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.
“Now more than ever, people need to laugh,” Fletcher said. “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.”
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