Why you won't be able to view 'Hocus Pocus 2' at the Newport theater featured in the movie

NEWPORT — Keen-eyed viewers of the upcoming Disney film "Hocus Pocus 2" might be able to spot a few glimpses of Washington Square and the dressed-up marquee of the Jane Pickens Film & Event Center in the background.

But the famed theater itself will not be able to screen the film on its premiere date, Sept. 30.

“I believe we will (be able to see our theater in the movie), but I haven’t seen it yet,” Jane Pickens owner Kathy Staab told The Daily News in a phone conversation Wednesday. “It’ll be interesting. Anytime we can promote our theater, we’re happy about it. It was a great experience, pretty much, the whole filming and everything. The square was pretty crazy that week.”

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Jane Pickens is one of several local businesses on Washington Square used as a part of the set. The production for "Hocus Pocus 2" also rented out the theater for the crew to use during its week of filming in Newport.

Production crew members for the film 'Hocus Pocus 2' set up for the first day of filming on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
Production crew members for the film 'Hocus Pocus 2' set up for the first day of filming on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

Since the film is only available by streaming on Disney+ during its premiere, Jane Pickens was unable to secure the rights to show it. But that does not necessarily mean the theater will be without Disney magic this Halloween season. The theater plans to show the original "Hocus Pocus" movie from 1993 on Oct. 25.

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Jane Pickens, like most theaters, uses a booking agent to acquire the rights to show movies. While Staab can’t say for certain whether they will ever be able to get the rights to show "Hocus Pocus 2" in her theater, she said she might try sometime in the future.

“There may be a time when we can,” Staab said. “It’s always a negotiation.”

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The theater was closed for 17 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, then again last spring as the variants of the virus swept through the country, but Staab said the theater is bouncing back well and is coming off a strong summer season.

“We’re feeling positive and we’re doing a different mix because we’re doing more live events, which is wonderful actually,” Staab said. “It’s been working out really well. We’re not too worried. We’ll figure it out.”

This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: Hocus Pocus 2: Jane Pickens Theater, Newport RI, eager for premiere