A Disney executive confirmed Hocus Pocus 3 is happening.
Hocus Pocus came to theaters in 1993 and instantly became a family Halloween classic. Set in Salem, the fantasy comedy introduced the Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) as three villainous witches who were inadvertently resurrected by a teenage boy on Halloween night.
The Sanderson Sisters returned in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+ last year as the trio was once again resurrected by teenagers on Halloween. The sequel was a huge success for Disney+, becoming the service's most-viewed movie, despite garnering a disappointing 48% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Hocus Pocus 3 Officially Announced
Walt Disney Pictures President Sean Bailey was recently interviewed by The New York Times as part of the promotional tour for The Little Mermaid. During the interview, Bailey confirmed to the outlet that Hocus Pocus 3 is now in development at Disney following the 2022 Disney+ original sequel.
Hocus Pocus 2 hit the streamer in late September last year on the run-up to Halloween, with the sequel coming almost three decades after the 1993 original and bringing back the same cast of witches.
Although the Sanderson Sisters returned for Hocus Pocus 2, the young actors who fronted the first movie were notably absent. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the trio of Vinessa Shaw, Omri Katz, and Jason Marsden - who played Max, Allison, and Binx the cat, respectively - discussed a potential threequel.
The actors revealed they were not asked to come back for the 2022 sequel, but would all still be interested in coming back for a third movie.
Shaw (who played Allison in the original film) called the franchise "such a fun story," with the opportunity to reminisce about the experience meaning "the fondness keeps growing:"
"It's such a fun story, and obviously having us reminisce about this makes it that much more fun and the fondness keeps growing."
Max actor Katz added he would be "100 percent down to do it" if the opportunity to return arose, while Bix voice Marsden shared a similar "absolutely" answer.
Of the all-important main trio of witches, the actress behind Sarah Sanderson, Sarah Jessica Parker, revealed to ExtraTV she would only return if the franchise's face Bette Midler were also on board:
"Bette is already starting rumors… I hitch my wagon to her star. If she wants to do a third one… No one says no to the Divine Miss M."
The 77-year-old Midler (Winifred Sanderson) gave a far less certain "maybe" response to E! News when asked if she would partake in Hocus Pocus 3:
"I'm not sure. Everything is weird. I don't know, maybe. Who knows?"
During his 13-year tenure as President of Walt Disney Pictures, Sean Bailey has struggled to create a new franchise for the House of Mouse.
Speaking on the topic of his failures on the franchise front, the Disney executive told The New York Times how creating an original IP can be "really hard to crack" but his division is "going to keep trying:"
“It’s really hard to crack through and get an original, hugely commercial win. We’re going to keep trying.”
Bailey may well be hoping for Hocus Pocus to become that first franchise, having resurrected the IP after almost 30 years for a sequel with development already underway on a third installment just months later.
When Will Hocus Pocus 3 Release?
As Hocus Pocus 3 has only just been announced by Disney through an interview with an executive, the threequel movie is likely very early in development. This is particularly apparent given how the last movie hit Disney+ well under a year ago, and comments from the cast appear to indicate no knowledge of threequel plans.
With regard to whether Hocus Pocus 3 will once again skip theaters to become another Disney+ original, the answer is probably, yes. The last movie was one of the biggest success stories for Disney+ yet, so the studio will likely look to replicate that as opposed to risking theatrical disappointment.
In terms of a release window, Hocus Pocus 3 is far too early in development to predict anything specific, especially given the ongoing writers' strike will have undoubtedly brought any work to a halt for now. When exactly development can resume will hinge on when the studios reach a fair deal with the WGA.
Chances are Disney will look to debut the threequel around Halloween time once again, with 2025 perhaps being the earliest Hocus Pocus 3 could release. But with the strike having likely brought a halt to any work and a writing backlog expected across the board once it ends, the movie is realistically far further out than that.
However, if Sean Bailey is hoping for Hocus Pocus to become the franchise hit he is so desperately seeking, perhaps a threequel could be placed higher on Disney's priority list to get out sooner rather than later.
Hocus Pocus 3 has yet to set a release date.