Bright Side

7 Little-Known Facts Behind “Hocus Poсus” That’ll Give You Chills

Hocus Pocus is pretty much the Home Alone of Halloween — would anyone even argue this? It’s been over 27 years since the initial release of this Disney hit, but the 1993 film is still a Halloween favorite. And even if you watch it every spooky season like a true fan, there are a few tidbits of insider information bubbling beneath the surface.

Here at Bright Side, we love Halloween and every spine-chilling tradition that goes along with it — including this legendary film. So let’s take a closer look at the history behind its creation.

1. Sarah Jessica Parker is related to a woman publically accused of being a witch.

In 2010, Sarah Jessica Parker took part in the show, Who Do You Think You Are? and found out that she actually has a woman who was accused of being a witch among her relatives — Esther Elwell was at the famed Salem witch trials. Fortunately, she never made it to the actual trial and avoided being burned since the execution of those accused of practicing witchcraft was eventually abolished.

There’s no information regarding if producers of the film knew about Parker’s ancestors at the time of filming, but the actress herself shared that she had no idea about it during the making of Hocus Pocus.

2. Hocus Pocus originated as a bedtime story.

The story of Hocus Pocus was actually created by screenwriter David Kirschner as a bedtime story for his kids. He and his young daughter were outside and his neighbor’s black cat came by. Kirschner came up with a tale of how the cat was a boy who was turned into a feline 300 years ago by 3 witches.

The story ended up as a script for a Disney movie. As Kirschner shares, Halloween has always been a huge deal for his family. And his story turned out to be thrilling for people all over the world!

3. The famous house isn’t just a set, it’s an actual residence in Salem.

The house where Allison and Max opened the witches’ spell book looks like the embodiment of Halloween. Many viewers also envied Max’s bedroom because of its extraordinary lookout on the top of the house. Unlike most of the Hocus Pocus locations, the house remains a private residence and is closed to visitors.

According to Zillow, the home was built in 1870 and is estimated to cost $492,540 today. While the home remains closed to the public, claims that the current owners are friendly and don’t mind tourists taking pics of its exterior.

4. Hocus Pocus was considered to be a failure at the box office.

It’s almost impossible to imagine it today, but when the movie had just come out in July of 1993 (which wasn’t even Halloween season), it wasn’t an immediate hit and received a lot of criticism. It also wasn’t considered to be commercially successful as it collected $39 million domestically on a $28 million budget. This only proves that Hocus Pocus didn’t become a hit overnight, but today, 27 years later, the whole world loves it.

5. Hocus Pocus shares a fountain with Friends.

True fans have recently discovered that the iconic fountain in the Friends opening credits is the same one that appears in Hocus Pocus. As it turns out, the fountain is stationed on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles and not located in Central Park in NYC (as Friends fans thought), nor is it in Salem, Massachusetts where the Hocus Pocus story took place.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio said he was offered the part of Max for more money than he ever dreamed of.

As director Kenny Ortega shared, the casting crew sent over the actor to play Max Dennison who wasn’t available but “you’re going to fall in love with him” and get inspired. That was actually a young Leonardo Dicaprio! He said he was sorry (despite the fact that he was offered a lot of money) as he had 2 more movies coming, This Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

But luckily, casting figured out what type of spirit they needed and soon found Omri Katz who played Max in the end.

7. Many different cats were used to play Binx, depending on the scene.

There were quite a few cats who played Binx, one of the main characters in the movie. There was a special cat for cuddles, another one was good at jumping, etc. Kids weren’t really happy about it as they needed to get to know a new cat every time they did a scene. There’s a saying that cats have nine lives, but here, it seems like it was the opposite — a bunch of cats had to play one life!

Do you have a Halloween tradition in your family? We’d be happy to see your comments in the section down below!