Hocus Pocus wasn't a massive hit when it was released 25 years ago, but the film has become a cult classic in the interim. The newfound popularity of the film recently brought the Sanderson sisters, Bette Middler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker, back together to reflect on the experience of making the film. It seems that, while the entire production sounds like it was fun, the three women all specifically enjoyed the bits where they got to fly. According to Bette Middler...
(It was) one of the greatest joys I ever experienced as an actor. It's joyful, it's also a dance, and there's a lot of trying to be graceful while not being sure you weren't going to be turned upside down.
Bette Midler has had a long and wonderful acting career that has included iconic roles and Oscar nominations, so for somebody like her to call flying in Hocus Pocus on the "greatest joys" of her career is quite a statement. While the singer and actress has had dozens of roles over the years, the fact is that most of them have been in fairly traditional comedies or dramas, so she may have simply not had many opportunities to be in fantasy movies where she gets to do things like fly.
Of course, the fact that Hocus Pocus was made 25 years ago, and thus the flying scenes could not have been handled with digital effects, probably had a lot to do with it. The women were all actually suspended in the air to film the scenes, and while Kathy Najimi says she loved it, it does sound like they spent a lot of time in the air to get those shots, but they got to do some really fun stuff once the cameras were ready. According to Najimi....
We would just be hanging up there sometimes for hours until they would swoop us and the faster the better, I absolutely loved it.
Certainly, especially by modern standards, the flying scenes might look a little corny, but that's part of what gives Hocus Pocus its charm and has made the movie still popular after all of these years. Check out some of the flying "action" in the clip below.
The actresses spoke about their time on set as part of the 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash (via EW) which is airing this month on Freeform. The celebration is pretty phenomenal for a movie that grossed less than $40 million at the box office in 1993. Still, the film's continued popularity led both fans, and the actresses themselves, to campaign for a sequel. While the film won't see a return to the big screen, there are plans to bring Hocus Pocus back as a TV movie, which will apparently be a remake of the original. The original film has received a sequel of sorts, in the form of a new book.