Tina Fey caused a bit of a stir on social media when a rumour got out that she was going to make a sequel to the 90s Disney film Hocus-Pocus. Turns out, the rumour was wrong, she is working on a witch related project in the vein of Ghostbusters at Disney, but it has no connection to the 1993 movie.
At least not yet.
But cold calculating Hollywood might change that.
The original Hocus Pocus came and went in theatres without making much of a stir, earning about $39 million domestic, but had a popular afterlife as an annual Halloween feature on Disney's cable empire and home video.
Now this is where a sequel might come about.
Disney sees all the nostalgia from the Gen-Ys and the Millennials and think "Oh, there's some interest in that old chestnut."
Then they look at what Tina Fey is working on, then they look at Tina Fey's somewhat lacklustre box office record, and then the ratings she got on 30 Rock, and think "Oh crap, we're investing a lot of money in this project to an actor who, outside of one bit of voice work, cannot crack $100 million in ticket sales and can be a bit of a dead weight with the audience. Even the last Muppet movie sank like a stone after we put her in all the ads."
You see Fey's problem is that she's what I call a "Media Appealer." Her core audience is not the average Joe and Jane who watch TV and buy movie tickets. Instead her biggest fans are people inside the business we call "show."
They can shower her with critical praise, awards, plum roles, big money deals, and keep shows running for 7 seasons while never getting out of the bottom 10 in the ratings, but they can't put bums in seats willing to watch something with her name on it.
Now while the folks at Disney are part of Fey's insider fan-base, they are probably not stupid. Realizing the nature of Fey's "stardom" they might start thinking: "Hmmm. What if her witch-movie was the Hocus Pocus sequel those wacky kids seem to want?"
Then will come demands to re-write the film, finding affordable replacements for Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, which will probably mean hiring them again, and hoping to foist it on audiences by Halloween.
If Tina fights it, then Disney just drops her project and gets someone else to do the one they want. That's the beauty of being a big studio, there's always someone else to do it.
So Fey's best bet would be to try to ride it, and hope that it's a hit, then she might be able to claim an audience outside of Hollywood and the critics and keep her career going just a little bit longer.