Hocus Pocus 2 sets new streaming movie record

Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus, has just become the most-watched Disney+ movie ever.

As reported by Deadline last Sunday, the sequel’s newest streaming achievement came just three days after it was revealed that the fantasy comedy film set a new record for streaming minutes by a movie on Nielsen’s weekly chart, drawing more than 2.7 billion minutes of viewing from September 26th to October 2nd. The sequel premiered on September 30th, which means only its first weekend counted toward the total.

According to Nielsen, the audience for Hocus Pocus 2 was widely spread out, with the 2-to-11-year-old, 18-to-34, and 35-to-49 age groups each accounting for one-quarter of viewing. Interestingly, about 21% of viewing came in Hispanic homes.

Hocus Pocus 2 beat the previous streaming movie mark set by Encanto. The Oscar-winning Disney animated feature had 2.2 billion minutes of viewing from December 27th, 2021, through January 2nd, 2022.

What is Hocus Pocus 2 about?

Directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Jen D’Angelo, Hocus Pocus 2 is set 29 years after the events of the original film. It follows three high-school students who accidentally bring the Sanderson sisters back to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on the world.

Who returned to Hocus Pocus 2?

Original stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy reprised their roles as the Sanderson sisters. Midler is back as the oldest sister Winnie; Parker as the youngest sister Sarah; and Najimy as the middle sister Mary.

Original cast member Doug Jones also came back for the sequel in the role of Billy Butcherson, an ex-boyfriend poisoned by Winnie on May 1st, 1693, and is brought back to life as a zombie.

Doug Jones as undead Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus 2
Doug Jones as undead Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus 2

In a recent interview with Collider, Jones shared what his reaction was when he found out that he would be back for the sequel. “When that call came, I was excited to get to do all of that again,” the Star Trek: Discovery actor recalled. “I got to reunite with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, which was so dreamy.”

Jones continued, “The difference between 30 years, working with them, is that I was starstruck the first time. I was such a huge fan of Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, who had done The Kathy & Mo Show and Sister Act, at that time. They were all huge, in my world. I was just like, ‘I can’t believe I’m on the same set with these people. Oh, my gosh!’ Coming back, you never lose your starstruck-ness, really, or I don’t. I was still like, ‘Oh, my gosh, there they are again.’ But now, with the 30 years that have passed, my career has gone places, and thankfully, I’ve been very blessed with what’s happened in my life, that they were treating me, and we were interacting more as peers. That was a big difference that I noticed, and was very happy about. We’re all 30 years older, and have matured and come through a lot of life in that time, so there was a lot to chat about on set. It was really quite lovely.”

Who are the new Hocus Pocus characters?

Becca, Cassie, and Izzy, a.k.a the three high-school students who try to stop the plans of the Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus 2, are portrayed by franchise newcomers Whitney Peak (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Lilia Buckingham (Dirt), and Belissa Escobedo (The Baker and the Beauty), respectively.

Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, and Belissa Escobedo as Becca, Cassie, and Izzy in Hocus Pocus 2
Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, and Belissa Escobedo as Becca, Cassie, and Izzy in Hocus Pocus 2

Other franchise newcomers include Hannah Waddingham as Mother Witch, Tony Hale as Mayor Jefry Traske, Sam Richardson as Gilbert, and Froy Gutierrez as Mike.

RuPaul’s Drag Race queens Ginger Minj, Kahmora Hall, and Kornbread Jeté also portray drag versions of Winnie, Sarah, and Mary in the sequel.

Hocus Pocus’ original script

Written by Jen D’Angelo, Hocus Pocus 2 does have the same comedic feel as the original. But do you know that the original script for the first film was much scarier than what moviegoers saw in theaters 30 years ago?

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Vinessa Shaw, who played Allison, one of the three kids from the original movie, revealed that 1993’s Hocus Pocus, was almost a straightforward horror flick about witches sucking the lives out of little children.

“I remember reading an original draft that was much scarier, and that was the draft we auditioned with,” Shaw told the news outlet. “When we started shooting, it became a funny version, much lighter. It had the female Three Stooges element in it, and all the choreography that was added lent itself to a much more comedic movie bringing out the strengths of the [lead] actresses.”

“I think that’s why the movie is beloved,” Shaw continued. “Obviously, the witches and what they’re doing — sucking the lives out of children — is scary, but the fact that it’s done in a comedic fashion is palatable.”

Hocus Pocus 2 trailer

Haven’t watched Hocus Pocus 2 yet? Check out the trailer for the sequel below:

Sources: Deadline, Collider, Entertainment Weekly

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