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‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Review: Bette Midler and Sisters Conjure More of the Same in Decades-Later Disney+ Sequel
Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic What strange sorcery is this that “Hocus Pocus” — a so-so comedy turned campy cult favorite starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as absolutely fabulous Salem witch sisters — should be getting a sequel nearly three decades after its 1993 release? At the time, Variety speculated that, were it not for the film’s three stars, “‘Hocus Pocus’ wouldn’t seem out of place on the Disney Channel, and perhaps belongs there.” (Its director, Kenny Ortega, would go on to helm the “High School Musical” franchise for the cabler.) In a sense, that’s what’s happened with this follow-up, aimed to breathe some life into the graveyard that is Disney+. The sequel’s existence owes less to popular demand (the original earned a respectable $39.3 million stateside and went on to become a Halloween season staple) than the realization that the film had tapped into preteens’ fascination with witchcraft before Harry Potter came along. It can be no coincidence that the new feature lifts so much of its look and feel from that franchise — with eye of newt, a dead man’s head and some aspects of “The Craft” tossed in for good measure. In “Hocus Pocus 2,” the three teens called upon to save Salem from the Sanderson sisters’ return are themselves budding witches, which means the movie is less about scaring kids away from magic than indulging their post-Potter junior wizarding fantasies.
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ spin-off in the works from ‘Cobra Kai’ creators
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is reportedly in the works at Paramount Pictures.According to a new report from Deadline, the spin-off will be helmed by Cobra Kai creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald, with Bill Posley set to write the script.Titled Sam and Victor’s Day Off, the new movie will “follow the same-day adventure of the titular valets who took the Ferrari on a joy ride in the Matthew Broderick-starrer.”Others included in the new project are Paul Young (producer), Devon Young (executive producer) and Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman and Scott Yacyshyn (associate producers).During the first COVID lockdown in 2020, the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off reunited as part of Josh Gad’s web series ‘Reunited Apart’.The Frozen actor spent his lockdown bringing the casts of famous movies back together for a series of lockdown webcam specials, including The Goonies, The Lord of the Rings and Ghostbusters.For the final one in the series, Gad united Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and Jennifer Grey from the John Hughes cult classic.Also joining in on the reunion were Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett, who portrayed Bueller’s parents, as well as economics teacher star Ben Stein, as the cast talked about their memories from the film.
Hocus Pocus 2 WRAPS and producer Adam Shankman says Disney+ film will premiere Halloween
Hocus Pocus 2 producer Adam Shankman revealed that filming on the sequel has wrapped, and that it will debut on Disney+ on Halloween.'SISTAAAAAHHHHSSS! Aaaaand that's a WRAP!!! #hocuspocus2' Shankman, 57, said in an Instagram post Friday accompanied by a picture of a silhouette of the three witches in the film, played by Bette Midler, 76, Sarah Jessica Parker, 56, and Kathy Najimy, 64, on a shaggy surface.He continued: 'Congratulations to the amazing team @bettemidler @sarahjessicaparker @kathynajimy @567and8 @mrsleshem and the WHOOOOLLLEEEE cast and crew!!! Coming to you #halloween #2022 on @disneyplus.' The latest:Hocus Pocus 2 producer Adam Shankman, 57, revealed in an Instagram post Friday that filming on the sequel has wrapped, and that it will debut on Disney+ on Halloween The original motion picture was directed by Kenny Ortega, and hit theaters in July of 1993.It cast the trio of stars as the Sanderson Sisters, three witches who had been executed in the 17th century in Salem, and are inadvertently awoken on Halloween of 1993 by a child named Max (played by Omri Katz), who lit the Black Flame Candle. The storyline of the sequel sees the return of the witches to Salem, and the efforts of three teenage girls, played by Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, and Belissa Escobedo, to stop them.Anne Fletcher directed and Jen D'Angelo wrote the forthcoming film, which also stars Doug Jones, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Hannah Waddingham, Juju Brenner, Froy Gutierrez, Taylor Henderson and Nina Kitchen.