As a father of a certain age, I admit that I don’t quite understand why the 1993 Halloween-themed Disney comedy Hocus Pocus is the one movie the entire internet adores. That said, I’ve seen enough unsettling Bette Midler memes to understand why last fall’s vague announcement that work was underway on a sequel was Very Big News. And now it looks like my family will have to submit to its witchy wiles, and soon! Because this Hocus Pocus sequel appears to be a thing that is actually happening.
As People reported, Hairspray director and erstwhile MC Skat Kat co-star Adam Shankman has revealed on Instagram that Disney has tapped him to direct the spooky sequel, which is slated for the Disney+ streaming service (because the content engines are always hungry).
That’s… basically everything we know right now. There’s still no official confirmation whether it will be a traditional sequel or a refresh, or if stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy—the original’s sinister trio of witches, accidentally resurrected by a young boy 300 years after they were executed for being, er, a sinister trio of witches—will be involved in any capacity (though all three have expressed enthusiasm).
Like Stephen Spielberg’s lamentable Hook, Hocus Pocus is an early ’90s family flick whose cult status stands in total opposition to its initial reception. Directed by Kenny Ortega (who has since earned my ire for steering Disney’s Descendants franchise) and written by regular Stephen King collaborator Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert, it flopped at the box office and with critics, and only gained a following on home video and via seasonal airings on the Disney Channel.
Whether the movie actually merits a large fanbase—not to mention a 25-years-later sequel—is in the eye of newt of the beholder. I viewed it once at a sleepover at age 12 and it made zero impression on me, but I’m willing to see if it casts a spell over my own kids, who are smack dab in the demo. Because if they like it—and if it and its eventual sequel/sidequel/reboot are available on Disney+—it won’t really matter what I think, will it?