Hocus Pocus 2 avoids the thing that doomed the first movie

Hocus Pocus 2 arrives just in time for Halloween, avoiding the big release date mistake of the first Hocus Pocus. The story of Hocus Pocus becoming a Halloween classic is an unusually progressive event that takes place after its release in 1993, with Disney comedy underperforming at the time. While the return of Sanderson sisters Winifred (Better Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimi) in Hocus Pocus 2 is greeted with the kind of fanfare one would expect from such an anticipated sequel, the film which hits Disney+ on September 30 shows much better timing than the original Hocus Pocus.


Despite its very overt Halloween-based story and style, Hocus Pocus was released in theaters on July 16, 1993. This turned out to be a very ill-conceived decision on Disney’s part, with Hocus Pocus earning $45 million against a budget of $28 million. With an average performance at best like this, Hocus Pocus looked like a one-and-done, but being such powerful witches, the Sanderson sisters had more tricks in their cauldron.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Hocus Pocus 2

Hocus Pocus became increasingly popular in the years following its release, especially with the help of Halloween cable broadcasts which would eventually make it a staple of the Halloween season. While this belated popularity was what made Hocus Pocus popular enough for Disney to greenlight Hocus Pocus 2 so many years later, the latter’s release date capitalizes on Halloween. This Hocus Pocus didn’t do the same was a weird decision that really hurt him.

How Hocus Pocus’ 1993 summer release hurt the movie

Hocus Pocus is a movie with Halloween written all over it, set in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween, featuring the best Halloween movie witches, the Sanderson sisters as antagonists. With other characters like resurrected zombie Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) and centuries-old talking cat Thackery Binx (Jason Marsden) guiding the story’s young protagonists, Hocus Pocus was clearly designed to debut close to Halloween. Unfortunately, the release Hocus Pocus in July, commercially, was never going to be an immediate success

Having a particular holiday like Halloween attached to a movie’s story makes releasing it during that time not only a smart undertaking, but arguably necessary for it to achieve the greatest possible success. However Hocus Pocus was originally planned to be darker, it was still a Halloween movie central to Disney’s release strategy, greatly hurting its marketability by not taking full advantage of this. However Hocus Pocus eventually became a Halloween tradition for millions of people, but its release on Halloween 1993 could have allowed it to accomplish this much sooner.

Obviously, this error is also a lesson that Hocus Pocus 2 took to heart. Paradoxically, the long gap between Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 feels perfectly meta with the Sanderson sisters returning to bewitch Salem once more on Halloween after many years. Luckily, with more Halloween fun seen in its trailer, Hocus Pocus 2 makes sure it really is Halloween time that they come back to.

Key Release Dates

  • Hocus Pocus 2 Official Poster

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