‘Hocus Pocus’ is Back in Theaters and Crushing at the Box Office

Somebody must have lit the black flame candle, because the Sanderson Sisters are back—in movie theaters, that is. Disney re-released the cult classic Hocus Pocus in theaters nationwide this weekend, and it clearly was the right move, seeing as it came in second in box office sales behind Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.

According to Box Office Mojo, Hocus Pocus grossed $1,925,000 this weekend, having been released in 2,570 theaters. That’s an impressive feat, given the fact that the film is nearly 30 years old. Tenet raked in $2,700,000 across 2,722 theaters.

The Halloween flick was originally released on July 16, 1993, and was far from a box office success (maybe because it was a Halloween movie released in July…), but the film has gone on to be one of the most beloved spooky movies in pop culture.

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in Hocus Pocus Walt Disney Pictures
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy in ‘Hocus Pocus’ | Walt Disney Pictures

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‘Hocus Pocus’ came in second at the box office this weekend behind Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’

Directed by Kenny Ortega before his High School Musical fame, the film stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the sinister yet hilarious Sanderson Sisters—witches from the Salem Witch Trial era who are brought back to life 300 years after their death.

Hocus Pocus is one of a handful of classic movies that have been re-released during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters last weekend, and Jaws and Jurassic Park were all back in theaters over the summer. Drive-in movie theaters have seen a boom in popularity during the pandemic, given that it’s the safest way to go to the movies right now. According to Deadline, a good chunk of Hocus Pocus viewings were held at drive-ins.

What’s especially impressive about the classic ranking second at the box office is the fact that it’s widely accessible from the comforts of home. Midler live-tweeted the movie while it aired on Freeform on Oct. 1 as part of its 31 Nights of Halloween programming, and the movie is on Disney+. By all accounts, people do not have to go to a theater in order to watch it. But the novelty of seeing the beloved film on the big screen must have been a big draw for fans.

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‘Hocus Pocus 2’ is coming to Disney+

The film is still so beloved, it’s getting a sequel at Disney+. When the second installation was first announced, Midler, Parker, and Najimy’s participation seemed unlikely. In fact, Midler went so far as to call it “cheap.”

Speaking with People at her annual New York Restoration Project’s Hulaween party in 2017, the 74-year-old said, “I know it’s cheap. It’s going to be cheap!” But on Sept. 30, Midler changed her tone, revealing she’s in talks with Disney.

The Politician star told Entertainment Tonight, “I can’t wait to fly!” later adding, “We’re just talking logistics.”

Whether or not the original Sanderson Sister trio will partake in the anticipated sequel, fans will get to see Midler, Parker, and Najimy in their Hocus Pocus reunion later in October for the “In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover” virtual event.