'Hocus Pocus' Puts a Spell on the Box Office
By Matt Chieco
While Disney may be losing a substantial amount of money due to COVID-19, they are emerging as an unexpected winner in one area. Twenty-seven years after its original theatrical release, 'Hocus Pocus' claimed the second spot at the box office this past weekend (October 2nd-4th), raking in $1,925,000. It was only narrowly surpassed by Christopher Nolan’s 'Tenet,' which earned $2,700,000.
The movie, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, was screened in 2,570 theaters across the US. It managed to outshine more recent titles such as 'New Mutants,' 'Unhinged,' and 'Bill and Ted Face the Music.' As film studios continually postpone their releases, many are turning to beloved classics to entice audiences back to theaters and generate revenue during these challenging times. Although 'Hocus Pocus' faced relatively little competition (also considering its multiple TV airings this month), it marks the most impressive box office opening weekend for a rerelease since the start of the pandemic.
Upon its initial release in 1993, the film received mixed reviews and earned just over $39 million at the box office. However, in the era of COVID-19, rereleases have become a prevailing trend. Since March, classics like 'Jaws,' 'Jurassic Park,' 'Back to the Future,' 'Gremlins,' 'The Goonies,' 'Ghostbusters,' 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,' and more have returned to theaters. If there's one thing Hollywood is known for, it's capitalizing on trends. If a strategy proves effective for studios, they tend to exploit it fully. While some rereleases enjoy success, audience fatigue with repetitive content can set in, leading to the desire for fresh experiences. How long will this trend persist?
A sequel to 'Hocus Pocus' is currently in development for Disney Plus, with Adam Shankman set to direct. However, it remains uncertain if any of the original cast members will reprise their roles. Given the success of this rerelease, it's likely that Disney will strive to reunite the Sanderson sisters for another enchanting adventure.