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Monday, February 27, 2017

1993: Cult Classics at the Mouse House


1993 was considered a down year for Disney films. The Lion King was delayed so the year would not feature a feature length animated film from Walt Disney Pictures. The company considered making Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas an "official" Disney film, but the darker subject matter made them skittish. It went out as a Touchstone Pictures film and underperformed at the box office.


Another film that came out that same year was Hocus Pocus. The Halloween film would (oddly enough) get a summer release. As the final movie made by Bette Midler as part of her multi-film contract with Disney, it was seen as a lesser effort. Both films underperformed at the box office.

The movies would not be forgotten by their fans, however. Nightmare Before Christmas would gain a huge cult following, with the limited merchandise offerings from 1993 getting top dollar on eBay. Disney noticed that licensees were clamoring for permission to produce new merchandise. The company fully embraced the characters they had written off just a few years earlier and even handed the keys to DISNEYLAND's famed Haunted Mansion over to Jack for the Halloween and Christmas seasons.
Hocus Pocus had a similar path to re-emergence. Repeated airings on cable television and its huge home video sales during the Halloween season made for a cult hit that had gained millions of fans in the years after its release. The film is now finding its way to the Disney theme parks and merchandise.