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A Cult Classic Fantasy Thriller That Flopped at the Box Office Returns With a Vengeance on Streaming

Hocus Pocus Disney

Image via Walt Disney Pictures

One of the trickiest aspects of the release of a fresh cinematic project is the chance that it will fall below expectations when it comes to the massive pressure of the box office. And while some of these films allow lackluster box-office performance to tarnish their reputation forever, other movies have been championed during later years to re-emerge as a bona fide cult classic, which is precisely the case for 1993’s Hocus Pocus.

Directed by Kenny Ortega, the fantasy extravaganza stars its trio of leading actresses — Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy — as the Sanderson sisters, who are also sadistic witches that feed on human children to maintain their eternal youth. However, when local teenager Max Dennison unknowingly lights the Black Flame Candle, the witches are resurrected on Halloween after their hanging hundreds of years ago and embark on a quest to feed on the soul of Max’s sister Dani.

A still from 1993 classic Hocus Pocus
via Walt Disney Pictures

In the years following its release, the film has solidified itself as a Halloween staple and is often included in various marathons on television networks around the country during the month of October. However, its original success is surprisingly much less impressive compared to its current legacy. Upon its release, Hocus Pocus received less-than-favorable reviews, which included a mediocre 39 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, the film only grossed $8 million, which effectively cost Disney money at the time.

In recent years, the movie has become universally beloved by Halloween fans across the globe — a sentiment that is echoed by eagle-eyed Disney Plus subscribers, who are seemingly gearing up for the film’s upcoming sequel. As per FlixPatrol, Hocus Pocus has jumped double-digit places to crack into Disney Plus’ Top 30, with the film definitely eyeing up a place in the platform’s Top 10 — just in time for spooky season.

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