It’s Been 23 Years Since ‘Hocus Pocus’ Premiered And The Stars Look So Different Now

by Lindsey Smith
Lindsey is from Florida and has worked in online and print media. Her happy place is Michaels craft store.

Twenty-three years have passed since the Sanderson sisters returned to life in Salem, Massachusetts, in Disney’s Hocus Pocus.

The Halloween movie has been a staple for families around the globe for over two decades, despite being released in July and having less than stellar reviews when it first premiered.

I was only a toddler when it first came out, but once I was old enough to finally see the Disney flick, I fell head 0ver heels in love with it. And like many, I’ve dressed up as a Sanderson sister for Halloween — I was Winifred!

With Halloween fast approaching, I can start indulging in my favorite fall movie again.

Hocus Pocus is one of those films that gets better and better the more you watch it. I’ve seen it more than 50 times and can probably recite it word-for-word if I put the TV on mute.

With a remake announcement hitting the news lately, and to simply celebrate the movie in all its spooky, witchy glory, we’ve tracked down the main cast to see what they’ve been up to since Hocus Pocus’ arrival in 1993!

Keep scrolling to check out the Hocus Pocus cast then and now, and please SHARE on Facebook!

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / MiamiFilmFestival

The Sanderson Sisters

The Sanderson Sisters

Disney’s Hocus Pocus was released in the United States on July 13, 1993, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters.

Three-hundred years after being hung for witchcraft, the three witches are brought back to life when a virgin in Salem, Massachusetts, lights the Black Flame Candle on Halloween 1993.

Bette Midler

Bette Midler

Winifred Sanderson is played by Bette Midler: the boss and brains of the three sisters.

Between casting spells on a room full of parents and sucking the life out of children, Winifred is one bad witch.

She was so bad that Bette had people near her at all times with a dictionary of old curse words to use when in character.

Since this role, Bette Midler has continued to light up the screen — for 16 more films, in fact.

She also starred in her own sitcom called Bette from 2000 to 2001 and released seven studio albums since her Hocus Pocus role.

Currently, Bette can be seen on Broadway, playing the lead in Hello, Dolly! She says she is more than happy to do a sequel, too!

“I have canvassed the girls, and they are wiling to do it, but we have no say in it, so if you want a HOCUS POCUS 2, ask the Walt Disney company,” she wrote on Reddit.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker played ditzy Sarah Sanderson in Hocus Pocus — which came out five years before her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City.

Sarah was known for being able to sing a sweet song that leads children to the witches so they could suck out their souls, as well as her infamous “amuck amuck amuck” quote!

Now, Sarah Jessica Parker is an acclaimed actress, fashion designer, and author. She won two Emmys for Sex and the City and four Golden Globes.

Sarah is currently starring in the HBO series, Divorce.

There’s no doubt that Hocus Pocus is a cult classic, but Sarah has admitted to only seeing it once, telling Buzzfeed she saw the film “maybe when it came out.”

Kathy Najimy

Kathy Najimy

Mary Sanderson (played by Kathy Najimy) uses her powerful sense of smell to track down children.

The role was originally offered to Rosie O’Donnell. Luckily for Kathy, a huge Bette Midler fan, Rosie turned it down.

After Hocus Pocus, Kathy has gone on to star in shows like Veronica’s ClosetYounger, and Veep, as well as 19 films.

Omri Katz

Omri Katz

Max Dennison is the protagonist of Hocus Pocus, played by Omri Katz.

Max is upset that his family moved from California to Salem and doesn’t believe any of the tales about the Sanderson sisters.

It’s Max who, as a virgin, lights the Black Flame Candle and brings the witches back to life.

Omri only appeared in five more roles before stepping away from acting in 2002.

Omri’s role of Max was originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio, but he turned it down to do What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Thora Birch

Thora Birch

Dani Dennison is played by Thora Birch and is a head-strong little girl who isn’t afraid of anything. Though younger, she’s protective of Max and defends him from bullies and even the Sanderson sisters.

Unlike Omri, Thora continued her acting career over the years and has appeared in over 20 films and TV shows.

She currently has four movies in the works, including The Competition and Public Affairs.

Vinessa Shaw

Vinessa Shaw

Vinessa Shaw played Max’s love interest, Allison. She brings Max and Dani to the Sanderson sisters’ house — which was turned into a museum.

After Hocus Pocus, Vinessa appeared in dozens of shows and movies. Most notably, Vegas and Ray Donovan.

Doug Jones

Doug Jones

Who could forget Billy, the most lovable zombie ever?

While Max, Dani, and Allison first thought Billy was out to get them, it turns out he was on their side the entire time and ultimately helps the kids take down the witches.

Actor Doug Jones portrays the character. Remember the moths that flew out of Billy’s mouth? They weren’t fake!

Doug hasn’t slowed down since coming back from the dead as Billy.

He’s currently playing Saru in the series Star Trek: Discovery — that’s his character on the right side of the photo above.

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