Hocus Pocus Was A Critical And Box Office Failure Until Fairly Recently

By | October 21, 2019

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Everyone loves Hocus Pocus now, but when it was first released, it was panned by critics. Source: (hollywoodlive.com)

As soon as the calendar page flips to October, fans of the 1993 movie Hocus Pocus, which starred the fabulous Bette Midler and equally fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker, clamor for the Disney Channel and other media outlets to begin binge-broadcasting the newest Halloween classic. Hocus Pocus has achieved cult movie status in the quarter of a century since it was released, but back in 1993, few people would have predicted the staying power of Hocus Pocus. It had a dismal box office premier, mediocre ticket sales, and lackluster reviews. How did a movie with such a ho-hum debut turn into one of the biggest, most beloved Halloween favorites? 

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Bette Midler dressed as Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus attends Bette Midler's Annual Hulaween Bash benefiting the New York Restoration Project at the Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom in New York City. Source: (Photo by Rebecca Smeyne/Getty Images)

Hocus Pocus, a Synopsis

Directed by Kenny Ortega for Walt Disney Pictures, Hocus Pocus is a family-friendly Halloween comedy about an awkward teenage boy who accidentally resurrects a trio of witchy sisters who were executed long ago during the Salem Witch Trials. The three witches---portrayed by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker---have an unholy appetite for children, and they must feed on the soul of a child before the Sun rises on November 1 unless they want to return to the realm of the dead. They end up spending their precious evening back on the mortal coil pursuing the teen who brought them back, his would-be girlfriend, and the little sister he is stuck babysitting on Halloween night in their quest for eternal life and youth.