1993 family comedy ‘Hocus Pocus’ has been a Halloween favourite for 24 years, close to the heart of many. As a result, not everyone has been too pleased with the news that it’s being remade as a Disney Channel original movie.
But however cross some fans might be, it seems no one is more vehemently against a small screen ‘Hocus Pocus’ than the leading lady of the original, Bette Midler.
Discussing the matter with People, the 71-year old stage and screen made no attempt to conceal her vitriol: “I know it’s cheap. It’s going to be cheap!”
Asked whether there was any possibility she might make an appearance in the remake herself, Midler’s answer was an unequivocal “No, no, no!”
She also expressed doubt about how the film would cast its new witches: “I’m not sure what they’re going to do with my character. My character is very, very broad and I don’t know who they’re going to find to play that.”
Directed by Kenny Ortega, ‘Hocus Pocus’ cast Midler alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, three witches of Salem who are put to death but resurrected on Halloween in 1993, where they seek to attain immortality by stealing the life force of the town’s children.
The film co-starred Omri Katz (in a role initially earmarked for Leonardo DiCaprio) and a young Thora Birch. While it was not a huge box office hit on release, it has long since become near-essential Halloween viewing.
Midler, Parker and Najimy have long spoken of their hopes to make a sequel, something which fans were also keen on – but it seems the powers that be at Disney had other plans. Even so, considering the popularity of the original, it is a little surprising that the remake isn’t at least aiming for the big screen.
No key figures from the original will be involved in the ‘Hocus Pocus’ remake beyond producer David Kirschner. Still in development, the new film is being written by Scarlet Lacey (TV’s ‘The Royals’), with no cast or director in place at present.