Good and bad news today, Disney fans. The good news is that we're finally getting that Hocus Pocus 2 movie that's been talked about for years. The bad news? It's going to be a straight up remake of Hocus Pocus and will feature none of the original cast. According to Deadline, Disney Channel is in the very early stages of developing this new take on the 1993 cult classic with David Kirschner, who was a producer on the original movie, is on board to executive produce. It seems like he'll be the only real tie this remake has to the first Hocus Pocus.
Scarlett Lacey (The Royals) has been tapped to write the Hocus Pocus remake for Disney Channel and the report says that they are looking for a new director to helm the project. No directors were mentioned specifically at this time, but since the project is in the early stages, Disney has plenty of time to find the right guy. Original director Kenny Ortega, who also directed massive hits like High School Musical and Descendants for Disney Channel, is not involved.
Talk of Hocus Pocus 2 has been going on for a very long time now, but things never really seemed to gain any actual traction. Though, over the years, most of the cast members have been asked about doing a sequel and they all seemed very receptive to the idea. Original screenwriter Mick Garris recently indicated in an interview with Forbes that a sequel, not a remake, was going to happen as a TV movie. It turns out he was mostly right, but Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, who played the witches in the first Hocus Pocus, won't be returning this time around.
Even though the original Hocus Pocus wasn't a major box office success, grossing just $39 million worldwide at the time, it has found a rather large audience over the years and has gone on to become a Disney fan-favorite. The popularity of the movie has been bolstered by regular rotation on TV, especially during the Halloween season. Because the original is so beloved, the idea of a remake is likely to draw a mixed response from those who have been looking forward to a sequel. Odds are, on a TV movie budget, it would have become cost-prohibitive to bring all of the original stars back.
Deadline didn't indicate when we might see this Hocus Pocus remake arrive, but these movies can have a somewhat quick turnaround if things get moving in the right direction. For what it's worth, the original will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, so maybe Halloween 2018 would be a good place for it? That could also make for a good time to do some sort of re-release of the original to generate some extra cash flow for the Mouse House. We'll be sure to keep you up to date as more information on the Hocus Pocus remake is made available.