LINCOLN, R.I. — Could Rhode Island be visited by the Sanderson sisters once again? It depends on the storyline, and Disney, according to Kathy Hartley.
“Hocus Pocus 2″ was filmed at Chase Farm, originally owned by Hartley’s great, great-grandfather, Benjamin Chase. But the set raised between the rolling hills of the Great Road Homestead was a flashback to the witches’ childhood in Salem, which may not be part of the new story.
Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, told the New York Times on Sunday that a third film featuring the Sanderson sisters — Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) — is in development.
Hartley, president and CEO of Friends of Hearthside, the caretaker of Chase Farm, said so far, she has not received call from Disney about bringing Salem Village Back to Lincoln. Both of the Hocus Pocus films had production sites in New England — in 1993 scenes in Old Salem were filmed at Pioneer Village in Salem, Mass.
“We have not heard anything,” Hartley said. “I’m hearing this morning the same way as you. As far as Salem Village (in Lincoln) goes, that was part of the story of ‘Hocus Pocus 2′.”
Carol Conley, assistant to Rhode Island Film & TV Office Executive Director Steven Feinberg, told the Globe, “This project is in currently in development and Steven has no additional details to share as it would be premature.”
The “Hocus Pocus 2″ cast reunited after 29 years at sites around Rhode Island that included Washington Square in Newport, Carpenter Cemetery in East Providence, and Federal Hill in Providence.
The film streamed directly to Disney Plus and bested the streaming record held by “Encanto” (by nearly 500 million minutes of streaming) with 2.73 million minutes of streaming, according to Nielsen’s weekly report from Sept. 26, 2022 to Oct. 2, 2022. Disney’s “Frozen” had 2.18 minutes streamed, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Hartley said someone must have picked up the Sanderson sisters book of spells, which was last seen at the end of “Hocus Pocus 2.” Another clue about the Halloween comedy’s plot could be found in the sequel’s credits. A black cat resembling the immortal cat Binx from the original appears and curls around a box marked “B.F. #2 candle.” A black flame candle raised the Sanderson sisters in the second movie.
“I think everyone hopes it comes back here,” Hartley said. “It’s almost 2 years to the day they reached out to come to Lincoln,” which was June 2020.
Even if the Sanderson sisters do not return, witches will return to Chase Farm this fall for the “Bewitched and Bedazzled Festival,” which drew close to 4,000 people last year. The event will be held on Sept. 30 and the town has increased the number of people who can attend to 6,000. There are already 80 vendors signed up.
This story has been updated with comments from the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.