Hocus Pocus Trivia
During a February 10, 2008 interview on the BBC show “Breakfast”, Bette Midler stated that out of all of her films, this was her favorite.
The script was written as a Disney Channel Original Movie; however, it caught the eyes of a few bigger studio heads at Disney, and they felt it was strong enough to carry a good theatrical performance.
In this film, Sarah Jessica Parker plays a witch who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600s. While researching her family history for the show Who Do You Think You Are? (2004), Parker was shocked to discover that her 10th great-grandmother Esther Elwell was arrested in Salem in the late 1600s for committing “sundry acts of witchcraft” and choking a neighbour to death. Esther’s case never went to court, she escaped with her life and the accusation ended the Salem Witch Trials. Parker said: “It has changed everything about who I thought I was.”
During a 20th anniversary screening of Hocus Pocus, Doug Jones (“Billy Butcherson”) revealed the moths that come out of his mouth at the end of Hocus Pocus are real and not CGI.
Several scenes appear in the original trailer that are not included in any theatrical, VHS, or DVD version of the film. They include the kids attempting to push the witches into a pool, the witches being surrounded by trick-or-treaters holding out their hands, and Mary snacking in a grocery store only to be dragged out by Winifred.
The film grossed $39,514,713, although it became more popular over the years. Not only is it a cult favorite but it also can be viewed regularly on television during the month of October.
The role of Max Dennison was originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio, but was given to Omri Katz when DiCaprio turned it down to appear in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
Sean Murray played the human Thackery Binx, but was dubbed over by Jason Marsden, voice of the cat Binx, for consistency.
Omri Katz was unwell at the time of his first audition, and was initially rejected for the role of Max.
Strangely, the film was released in the Summer of 1993, rather than in the Fall.
It is often incorrectly reported that the song Sarah Sanderson sings from the sky was written by Edgar Allan Poe. It isn’t by him, nor does it carry the style or meters he would have used. It was written specifically for the film.
Brother and sister Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall play husband and wife. He’s the one dressed as Satan.
When Bette Midler takes the stage at the town Halloween Party, she says “Hello Salem, my name is Winifred. What’s yours?”. This is a take-off of the famous line, “Hello world, my name is Rose, what’s yours?” that is spoken by Mama Rose in the musical “Gypsy”. Midler played Mama Rose in the television version, Gypsy (1993), the same year this film was released.
Rhythm and Hues, who created the CGI Thackery Binx, went to great detail to ensure that his facial features were a realistic representation of a cat. However, when the studio saw what Rhythm and Hues had created, they found that it was too realistic, notably the fangs and teeth, and felt that he might be too scary for certain members of the audience, as well as appearing slightly sinister. So R & H made his fangs smaller and less pointed in order to make him appear friendlier to the audience.
Rosie O’Donnell was originally offered the role of Mary Sanderson, but it was ultimately given to Kathy Najimy. O’Donnell claims on her blog that she turned down the offer to work with the Divine Miss M (Bette Midler) because she didn’t want to be a “scary witch”.
During the final fight in the cemetery, the background music imitates Miss Gulch’s (the Wicked Witch) theme from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Charles Rocket acquired a certain notoriety for swearing on live television during the final moments of the 21 February 1981 episode of Saturday Night Live (1975). There’s an in-joke in connection to this, where he says to Max, “Watch your language!”.
The three little girls who steal the witches’ brooms from in front of the house are dressed as the sisters themselves: Winifred with red hair and green cape, Mary with black hair and red cape, and Sarah with blond hair and purple cape.
When taking photos on the steps before trick-or-treating you see a painting of the Dennisons’ house behind them.
The ballad hit “Almost Unreal” by Swedish pop duo Roxette was originally meant to be included in the movie’s soundtrack, but it was dropped and used in Super Mario Bros. (1993) instead.
A kid wearing a Michael Myers Mask and Clown Suit was seen out the front of the “Devils” house.
Mrs. Potts from Beauty & the Beast (1991) can be seen as a trick-or-treater in front of “Satan’s” house.
The commercial playing with the baby in “Satan’s” house is actually a commercial for stain resistant Carpet.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler co-started together in the movie First Wives Club. Parker’s character played the younger woman Midler’s husband left her for.
Neither Omri Katz nor Kathy Najimy were originally supposed to appear in the film. Those roles were originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio and Rosie O’Donnell, respectively.