11 surprising things you never knew about 'Hocus Pocus'

Walt Disney‘Hocus Pocus’ will surely get you in the Halloween mood.
  • Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” was released in 1993 and it has since become a Halloween classic.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio said he auditioned for the film and was offered the chance to play Max, but he turned down the role.
  • Real moths fly out of Billy’s mouth in the film and this was done using special make-up. The actor had to use a pocket to stop the moths from flying down his throat.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more.

It’s been over 25 years since the initial release of “Hocus Pocus,” but the 1993 movie is still a Halloween favourite.

Each October, fans ring in the season of spookiness by re-watching the Disney classic. This year, celebrate your yearly viewing of the film with some hauntingly good film trivia.

Here are some fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about “Hocus Pocus.”


Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned for the film and turned down a role.

AP Photo/Eugene HoshikoDiCaprio was supposed to play Max.

In a 2014 interview with Variety, Leonardo DiCaprio talked about turning down the role of Max Dennison in “Hocus Pocus.”

According to DiCaprio, he declined the role to hold out for a part in 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” which he hadn’t even auditioned for at the time.

“I don’t know where the hell I got the nerve,” DiCaprio said. “You live in an environment where you’re influenced by people telling you to make a lot of money and strike while the iron’s hot. But if there’s one thing I’m very proud of, it’s being a young man who was sticking to my guns.”

Fortunately, he got the role in the other film.


Two actors helped bring Thackery Binx’s character to life.

Walt Disney ProductionsDifferent actors played the cat and human versions of Binx.

“NCIS” star Sean Murray played the human version of Binx and actor Jason Marsden provided the voice of Binx in feline form.

Read More: 14 Halloween movies to watch if you don’t like scary movies


The director of “Hocus Pocus” also worked on other popular Disney films.

REUTERS/Fred ProuserKenny Ortega also directed ‘High School Musical.’

Kenny Ortega, the director of this beloved Halloween film, was also involved in the creation of Disney’s “Newsies,” the “High School Musical” films, and “The Cheetah Girls 2.


Each character had distinct broomstick choreography.

Walt Disney PicturesPeggy Holmes gave each character distinct traits when flying.

According to an archived press release, the film’s choreographer, Peggy Holmes, said each of the Sanderson sisters flew their brooms “in character.”

“Each actress flew in character,” explained Holmes. “Winifred is in charge and much more aggressive than the other two. She’s always leading the way and looking for children. Sarah loves to fly. She’s always lifting up with her mop and can’t wait to get up in the air, whereas Mary is more cautious. Like a good driver, she signals with her hand. Mary is the safe and steady flier.”


Multiple cats were used on set to play Binx.

Walt Disney PicturesYou probably wouldn’t notice the difference between the cats.

Due to the length of the film and the variety of tricks required by Binx’s character, several cats were used on the “Hocus Pocus” set, reported Humane Hollywood.


Vinessa Shaw, who played Allison, said she was close to Omri Katz, who played Max.

DisneyThe cast was close in real life.

Talking to ABC in 2015, Vinessa Shaw said, “Omri’s such a cool dude. We were best buds. We were good friends. He didn’t make me feel nervous at all. Anything that was tension-building, we’d just laugh.”


Real moths fly out of Billy’s mouth in the film.

Walt Disney PicturesThe actor had to use a special pocket to stop the moths from flying down his throat.

The actor who played Billy in “Hocus Pocus” actually had real moths in his mouth.

In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Alterian Inc’s makeup FX master Tony Gardner said a make-up artist created a “mouth rig” to make the moths come out. It was a latex pocket attached to dentures that blocked off Jones’ throat.

“There was a small hole in the very back of the pocket so that Doug could cough some air through it and force the fuller’s earth and the mouths up and out of his mouth. Once the pocket was loaded with the Fuller’s earth, an animal wrangler would place several moths in the pocket with tweezers, under the supervision of a representative from the Humane Society,” he told the publication.


The film was almost called “Halloween House.”

Walt Disney Studios‘Hocus Pocus’ was originally called ‘Halloween House.’

According to the Post Mortem Podcast with Mick Garris, “Hocus Pocus” was originally bought by Walt Disney Pictures in 1984 under the name “Disney’s Halloween House.”


“Hocus Pocus” wasn’t released around Halloween.

Walt Disney PicturesThe movie was released in July.

Originally released in the US in July 1993, the Halloween-centric film wasn’t released in the autumn, which may have contributed to its less-than-stellar box-office performance.


The original trailer features deleted scenes.

fertonan/YoutubeThere are some scenes you might not recognise.

In the original trailer of the film, two scenes were shown that didn’t end up in the final movie. You can still watch the original, grainy trailer on YouTube.


“Hocus Pocus” has a book sequel.

Courtesy of AmazonIn 2017, Disney announced a movie sequel is in the works.

There is a sequel to “Hocus Pocus” in book form.

“Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel” was released for the 25th anniversary of the film and was published in 2018.

And a few years ago, in 2017, Disney Channel announced plans to remake the cult classic “Hocus Pocus” as a TV movie. As of 2019, there has still been no update on this remake.

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