Hocus Pocus is one of the most beloved Halloween movies of all time, and the actresses who brought the Sanderson sisters are absolutely iconic to the roles. It therefore came as a surprise to many when news broke that a TV remake of the movie with a brand new cast is in the works at Disney Channel. Bette Midler played Winifred Sanderson in the original, and she had this to say about the TV remake:
I know it's cheap. It's going to be cheap! I'm not sure what they're going to do with my character. My character is very, very broad and I don't know who they're going to find to play that.
A Disney Channel movie is obviously going to have some key differences from a feature film that had a budget of nearly $30 million back when production started in 1992, so the remake likely will look somewhat cheaper than the original. Then again, special effects have come a very long way since the early 90s, and a remake may be able to pull off some visual effects magic that simply wasn't possible when the original was made. Still, the almost certainly lower budget for the TV movie may be one of the most noticeable ways that the remake quite starkly differs from the original Hocus Pocus.
I'm guessing there are a lot of Hocus Pocus fans who can agree with Bette Midler's comments that it's difficult to image the remake finding somebody else to play the character of Winifred Sanderson. Midler is Winifred Sanderson, and whoever lands the role in the remake will face inevitable comparisons to Midler. Unfortunately for any who have been holding out hope that maybe Midler might reprise her role for the remake despite earlier reports that the cast would be entirely new, Midler shot down the possibility in her chat with People. Winifred Sanderson may be back for Hocus Pocus 2.0; Bette Midler will not.
Given Bette Midler's earlier enthusiasm for starring in a Hocus Pocus sequel, her lack of faith in the remake is really kind of sad. If things had worked out differently, we might have gotten another Hocus Pocus with the original Sanderson sisters. We already know that Midler can still pull off the Winifred look, and both Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy were on board with a sequel. All three scary Sanderson sisters could have come back for a sequel. Hopefully the TV remake finds a way to stand on its own next to the beloved original.
The Hocus Pocus remake is being written by Scarlett Lacey of The Royals fame, and original film producer David Kirschner will executive produce. No director or casting has yet been announced. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and take a peek at our fall TV guide for what you can watch nowadays.