11 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About 'Hocus Pocus'
Since its premiere in 1993, Hocus Pocus has become a Halloween icon—so much so, that it’s scheduled to appear no less than 27 times in Freeform’s Halloween programming, and Spirit Halloween even has a whole costume line dedicated to the movie. While you run amok, amok, amok waiting for the film to appear on your television screen this year (or snag the DVD at Target for $5), catch up on your Hocus Pocus trivia with these surprising facts.
1 It’s Bette Midler’s Favorite Film
Bette Midler, who plays Winifred Sanderson, once said that Hocus Pocus is her favorite movie she’s ever been a part of—even though she didn’t re-watch the movie for at least 20 years.
2 Those Were Real Moths!
The actor who played Billy Butcherson had to hold real live moths in his mouth until it was time for them to be released. Eeek! The production team had to fashion a dental contraption to keep the moths alive and off the actor’s tongue during filming.
3 It Was Originally a Bedtime Story
David Kirschner originally wrote this as a bedtime story for his kids. They loved it so much, he sent it to Muppet Magazine, and it was published there before it was turned in to the movie.
4 There Is a Book Sequel
There’s no update yet on whether the Hocus Pocus movie sequel is actually happening (although we do know it won’t star any of the original lead cast), but there is a sequel in book form. Last year a New York Times bestselling novel titled Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel was released, and we’ll be adding it to our reading lists, ASAP.
5 9 Different Cats Played Binx
According to Humane Hollywood, nine different cats played Binx. It turns out this is a common practice for animals in films; it keeps the animals from getting too tired during the busy filming schedule.
6 Leonardo DiCaprio Almost Played Max
You know him as your favorite 90s heartthrob—but we would have known him as Max Dennison, had Leo not turned down the part for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. After Leo declined, the role was given to Omri Katz.
7 Rosie O’Donnell Almost Played a Witch
Rosie O’Donnell revealed she was offered the part of Mary Sanderson, but she turned it down because she said she was nervous to play a “scary” part. We really can’t imagine anyone other than Kathy Najimy as Mary!
8 The Movie Was a Flop at First
When Hocus Pocus was released, it made $39.5 million and was fourth place in the box office, which is on the low end for a Disney movie at that time. It probably didn’t help that it was released in July, rather than at Halloween like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Addams Family Values, which were released the same year.
9 The Music Is Based on “The Wizard of Oz”
The music from the cemetery fight scene at the end of the movie was based on the Wicked Witch’s theme song from The Wizard of Oz. We love that there’s a connection between these two iconic films.
10 Disney Waited 8 Years to Make It
Disney received the script in 1984, but wasn’t excited enough about the film to actually make it until 1992. We’re glad they changed their minds and decided to make it!