Last month, we exclusively reported that Anne Fletcher would be replacing Adam Shankman in the upcoming sequel to 1993’s Hocus Pocus. Today, this was officially confirmed by Disney!
This morning, the official Disney+ Twitter account revealed that Hocus Pocus 2 is officially in production, with a Disney+ release happening in the Fall of 2022. It was also officially confirmed that all three Sanderson Sisters will be returning with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy reprising their original roles.
Shankman had this to say about the directorial change:
“As heartbroken as I am that I won’t be able to direct my friends Bette, Sarah Jessica and Kathy in what is sure to be nothing short of a major event for Disney+ due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn’t be more pleased to be handing over the reins to Anne, who has brought so much laughter and joy into people’s lives with her previous work. I am still grateful and proud to help shepherd this ingenious project as executive producer alongside producer Lynn Harris, whom I have loved and admired as a colleague and friend since she helped get me the job choreographing ‘Boogie Nights.’”
Until recently, Shankman was scheduled to direct both Disenchanted and Hocus Pocus 2. However, director and choreographer Anne Fletcher has taken Shankman’s place as director for Hocus Pocus 2. Fletcher is best known for her choreography work which spans over 25 years, in addition to directing such films as 2009’s The Proposal. Shankman is currently busy getting ready to film Disenchanted, which is expected to shoot so through the Summer. This makes the change not entirely surprising, as the studio is looking to begin production on Hocus Pocus 2 this Summer/Fall.
Fittingly, Adam Shankman and Anne Fletcher have been good friends for years, with Shankman even helping Fletcher make her directorial debut with Touchstone’s film Step Up in 2006. In fact, Fletcher was originally attached to direct Disenchanted until the project was put on hold. Knowing this, it is quite possible that she joined the project per his recommendation.
Anne Fletcher also commented on the director change:
“Now more than ever, people need to laugh. We should be laughing every day, and there is so much fun to be had with these three unbelievable women playing delicious characters from such a beloved film. I am so grateful to be able to play a part in bringing these witches back to life, and to be working with my friends at Disney again makes it all the more special. This is a movie for everyone, from the fans who grew up with the first film to the next generation of viewers, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Hocus Pocus 2 will see the return of all three Sanderson sisters, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy reprising their roles as Winifred, Sarah, and Mary, respectively. This last week, Thora Birch also teased her involvement in the project. The script has been written by Jen D’Angelo of Workaholics fame.
Released in 1993 and directed by Kenny Ortega (The Descendants franchise), the original Hocus Pocus focuses on three witches that were accidentally resurrected by a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts. Together with his sister, the teenage Max Dennison has to try to steal the witch’s book of spells and stop them from becoming immortal. The film also starred Omri Katz as Max, Thora Birch as Dani, Vanessa Shaw as Allison, Jason Marsden as the voice of Binx, and Doug Jones as Billy.