Doug Jones Talks Revisiting Billy Butcherson For Hocus Pocus 2


It’s been nearly 30 years since “Hocus Pocus” came out, and it’s still a beloved classic. Have you noticed how the movie’s legacy has changed from when it first came out to becoming a cult classic to all the clamors of a sequel getting made?

It’s been quite a wild ride over these 29 years because when it came out, it did moderately at the box office. I thought at the time, “Oh, that’s the end of that.” But then, thanks to TV airings and home video collections, all of a sudden the momentum was building over the years. Instead of opening big and fizzling out over the years, it did the opposite. It opened small and has gotten bigger and bigger and snowballed. 

[The] iteration[s] of home video [have] gone from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray to 4K and now streaming on Disney+. It’s on Freeform channel every Halloween, every October in high rotation. The availability of it is so much more than I ever thought possible back in the early ’90s, and with that has come a loyal fan base. They sit down and have an event with “Hocus Pocus.” It’s, get the family together, get your friends together, have the watch party, bring the candy corn, pop the corn, make the brownies. 

That’s the kind of film I had as a kid with “The Wizard of Oz.” That was the sit-down, put-the-family-together movie. But that’s when things aired on TV once a year, and if you missed it, you missed it, so you had to hunker down and watch. In this era of streaming and everything’s available at one touch, it’s nice to know that “Hocus Pocus” has that old-school flare to it, where we sit down together and watch this and enjoy Halloween together. What a thing to be a part of. 

Over the years, the hype of “Hocus Pocus” has gotten so much more. We have a new generation of fans coming up. Our original fans are having kids now, so we have new kids and a new wave of fandom. With it has come merchandising and cosplaying and drag shows, and the list goes on and on [with] the “Hocus Pocus” world and how huge it is. Now that “Hocus Pocus 2” is coming out, more merchandise has been created. There’s even a breakfast cereal available at Target and a Billy Butcherson backpack along with a full life-size head at Spirit Halloween. My tombstone is another big seller at Spirit Halloween that you can put out in your yard to decorate. I never saw this happening back when. It is a lovely ride to be on. 

The sequel [was] rumored and talked about starting about nine years ago: “Hey, we might be doing it.” “Oh, that’s great.” Then fandom creat[es] posters with their great Photoshop skills: “Here we are; this is the new movie.” It goes out on social media, which we didn’t have back in the ’90s either, and all of a sudden I’m getting messages going, “Hey, are you in the new ‘Hocus Pocus’?” This is five years ago. “Well, no, there isn’t one yet. That’s a really great poster someone made.” And I cherish their excitement. That’s what I loved about all the false starts with the sequel — the fandom out there really wanted it to happen, and that was proof. When the official phone call did come with the right voice telling me, “We’re on, they want you back, you’re in the script, here’s our film schedule,” it’s like, “Okay, glory be, it’s about time.”

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