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Almost three decades ago, Omri Katz was starring alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood in Hocus Pocus.

The then teenager, already a familiar face having starred in TV show Eerie Indiana, played protagonist Max Dennison in the movie, which has remained popular with audiences, old and new, ever since its 1993 release.

Katz, now 46, doesn't appear in the sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, released on Disney + today (September 30).

READ MORE: Where are Hocus Pocus cast now as Disney announces sequel release date

Director Anne Fletcher explained her "difficult" decision to leave him out to Entertainment Weekly, saying: "We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you're like, how do we make this work?

"It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it, because we did talk about it — painstakingly.

"You're trying to stay on track with story, even if they came in as a cameo. People would say, 'They could be in the background!' and I'm like, really? You're going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You're not going to be satisfied, you're going to be angry."

In the original movie, Max's family had just moved from Los Angeles, California, to Salem, Massachusetts.

The Sanderson sisters had been hung by villagers in 1693 but just before their death, they cast a spell that would resurrect them during a full moon on All Hallows' Eve if a virgin lit the Black Flame Candle in their cottage.

Enter Max, who was a sceptic who didn't believe in superstitions or Halloween at all until he accidentally resurrected them while taking his little sister, Dani, out trick or treating.

To avoid spoilers, the film ends with the sisters’ spell book still alive. In one of the last images, the book's eye on the front opens, suggesting the curse could continue.

After the film, Katz starred in other movies and TV shows including Dallas: J.R. Returns, General Hospital, Freaks and Geeks. His last acting role is thought to be Journey Into Night in 2000.

Some 22 years after retiring from acting, he now has a very different career, which might surprise people.

Katz, who is now a cannabis entrepreneur, owns The Mary Danksters, selling weed-themed T-shirts, hats, hoodies, and more.

In one social media post, he told fans he had been part of the cannabis community for two decades.

In March 2020, he wrote on Instagram: "Lots of people wondering what I’ve been up to.

"Being a member of the cannabis community for almost 20 years now and jumping thru hoops of fire to get here I’m proud to announce our online apparel store will be opening up soon.

"Keep your eyes peeled as we will be announcing our opening date. I’m so proud of what we’ve created so come show your love and support."

The Mary Danksters website says: “We, The Mary Danksters, are ambassadors of the cannabis culture, with deep roots within the traditional cannabis community. We represent positivity, herb and unity.”

Katz may have stepped away from his old job, but he's remained in contact with his Hocus Pocus co-stars.

He even joined Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in 2020 for a virtual event – In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover – for a virtual event benefiting New York Restoration Project.

In Hocus Pocus 2, three young women accidentally bring back the sisters once more.

They're then tasked with figuring out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world.

Katz last month admitted was disappointed not to be in the Hocus Pocus sequel, but added that he thought the movie would be a big success.

He told Entertainment Weekly: "People have been asking, and unfortunately, I'm not in it. I would have loved to be involved.

"I feel bad for the original fan base saying we aren't because I'm sure they wanted to see us reprise our roles.

"I think it'll be good for everyone who loved the original! I hope fans will go see it. I know I will."

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  • Disney
  • Hollywood
  • Cannabis

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