“Hocus Pocus 2” Filming Gives Federal Hill Business a Boost
PROVIDENCE – As Hollywood film crews directed extras, dressed Bette Midler liners and stretched warning yellow tape around a sprawling section of Atwells Avenue last weekend, markets and restaurants Italians at the edge of the plateau at Federal Hill saw a carousel of customers.
Adriana Veader was behind the counter at Tony’s Colonial, a salumeria her grandparents have owned since 1969, where rows of fine cheeses and meats, herbal-infused olive oils, pasta and specialty packaged foods from Italy line the shelves. Working part-time while earning her masters degree in Boston, she said she hadn’t seen the store this busy in months.
“I really hope that while people travel here to get a preview of the film, they find out about us and become loyal customers,” she said as she helped her family members pour clear plastic cups with it. wine and milk froth for cappuccinos and pass them on to customers. âThe people here know who we are. But maybe it will help us reintroduce ourselves to the next generation of customers.
Directly outside, leagues of people bundled up in down jackets, knitted hats and gloves were crammed with their phones outside, waiting to see – and snap a picture – of one of the Sanderson sisters.
âHocus Pocus 2â began filming on Federal Hill on Friday afternoon and ended around 5:30 am on Saturday, marking the fourth location in Rhode Island where the Disney film was shot. Other locations include Washington Square in Newport, LaSalle Academy in Providence, and Chase Farm in Lincoln, where a colonial-era town was built by crew members.
The film crews had spent every night of the last week through Friday prepping scenes in the Little Italy neighborhood of Providence to turn it into Salem, Mass.
A storefront was disguised as the Odd Meter Coffee Company, and the parking lot at Roma Ristorante turned into a Halloween village with piles of hay and inflatable pumpkin tents.
Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy lookalikes were dressed in green, purple and red dresses and capes all the way to the ground before being hooked up to a cable device for aerial stunts above the Walgreens on Atwells Avenue. They were holding brooms and Swiffers.
At the same time, Alexandra Aubin, who has worked in Roma since 2014, was busy making Italian coffees and hot chocolates and taking pizza orders. Some patrons brought their steaming boxes filled with Roma cheese pizzas back to the crowds, feeding everyone as they waited for a glimpse of the next scene.
âIt’s been busy all night,â Aubin said. “And we’re going to take full advantage of it and stay open later than usual.”
A number of businesses blocked from filming were offered buyouts for undisclosed amounts, which depended on their size and hours of operation, among other details, an owner told The Globe. Several others, who could continue to function during the filming, received an inconvenience allowance.
Across the street, as a crowd of actors moved in sync on the avenue to the sound of a song, Harry’s Burger Bar had sold out. Guests seated at tables near each of the windows watched the cameras hanging over their heads and the crew requested another shot.
Outside Tavolo, a Tuscan wine bar and grill, manager Bill Pinelli slipped his jacket over his shoulders and greeted guests as they entered, just in time for their musician of the night to begin their set.
âSome nights have been slower than others lately. But that is what it is about here. Bring people to Atwells again, âhe said. “Make them happy to be here and remind them why they keep coming back.”