Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

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Sister Act 2:
Back in the Habit
Sister Act 2 Back in the Habit film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBill Duke
Produced by
Written by
Based onCharacters
by Joseph Howard
Music by
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited by
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • December 10, 1993 (1993-12-10)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$38 million[2]
Box office$57.3 million (US)[3]

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American musical comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill Duke, and released by Touchstone Pictures, it is the sequel to the successful 1992 film Sister Act. Most of the original cast reprise their roles in the sequel, including Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, and Mary Wickes.[4][5]


Deloris Van Cartier has become a famous performer in Las Vegas since her time posing as a nun to hide from the mob. During her latest performance, she reunites with her friends, Sisters Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, and Mary Lazarus. They ask for her help, reuniting her with the Reverend Mother, who explains that the convent nuns now work as teachers at the St. Francis Academy in San Francisco, which Deloris attended as a child. The school faces closure at the hands of its administrator, Mr. Crisp, unless the school's reputation can be improved. The nuns ask Deloris to reprise her persona as Sister Mary Clarence and become the new music teacher. Deloris reluctantly agrees.

At the school, Mary Clarence meets the school's staff of friars, led by the humble but inept Father Maurice. She attends her first music class, meeting the rowdy teenagers, who are merely there to "pass" just by attending classes. Mary Clarence butts heads with the ringleader, Rita Louise Watson, who walks out when Mary Clarence introduces a firmer hand in class. The other students stay to avoid failure. When they break into spontaneous, synchronised singing, Mary Clarence decides to turn them into a choir, to which the students at first object.

Mary Robert overhears Rita singing, and Mary Clarence convinces her to return to the class. The class and nuns restore the school's decrepit music room and practice extensively, later performing "Oh, Happy Day" before the whole school, led by the preachy but talented vocalist Ahmal. The nuns discover numerous trophies, revealing the school won the All-State Choir Championship multiple times in the past, and decide to enter the choir once again. Father Maurice gives his blessing to the choir's entry, as long as they raise the money themselves and each student obtains parental consent to attend.

Rita's strict but well-meaning mother Florence refuses to let her daughter attend, believing a musical career is a dead end after her husband died trying to make a name for himself. However, Rita forges her mother's signature to go on the trip, but leaves an apology note for her, prompting Florence to drive to Hollywood to see the competition for herself. Mr. Crisp finds a magazine in the school library which has Deloris Van Cartier on the front cover, recognises her as Mary Clarence, and warns Father Maurice of the sham, but the choir has already left for the competition. The friars pile into their old van and race to confront Mary Clarence.

Backstage at the competition, the choir are intimidated by the other entrants, who are seasoned veterans, and consider quitting, but Mary Clarence's commitment inspires them to persevere. The friars arrive, and after Father Maurice decides to support the choir upon seeing their change in enthusiasm, the other friars trap Mr. Crisp in a closet to prevent him from interfering with Mary Clarence. The choir takes to the stage, Rita performing a solo before the choir perform an urban contemporary gospel rendition of "Joyful, Joyful", with hip hop-inspired choreography.

The choir wins the competition. The school's local diocese, impressed with the performance, agree to keep the school open and give the freed Mr. Crisp a promotion—despite his desire for early retirement—with the Reverend Mother claiming that he came up with the idea for the school choir to begin with. Rita and Florence make amends, while the choir learns that Mary Clarence is actually a singer. They ask her if she is a Las Vegas showgirl, to which Mary Clarence claims she has never been such, but is a "headliner".

The end credits feature the choir and their teachers performing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."



Critical response[edit]

The film earned a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 37 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The consensus states: "Sister Act is off-key in this reprise, fatally shifting the spotlight from Whoopi Goldberg to a less compelling ensemble of pupils and trading its predecessor's sharp comedy for unconvincing sentiment."[6] Despite the negative response, Goldberg was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.[7]

Despite the negative reviews, the film gained a strong cult following since its release and became a cult classic among fans. Director Bill Duke said about the reception: "“The reviewers at that time could not really be linked to our communities or the message. As you know, the faces of the reviewers were very different than the viewers. So I was surprised, but not shocked, because they didn’t get us at the time. They didn’t get the message and did not relate on an emotional level.”[8]

Box office[edit]

It was not as successful as Sister Act. The film grossed $57 million in the United States, against a $38 million budget.[9]


The soundtrack album was released on November 23, 1993 by Hollywood Records, it reached #74 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart[10] and #40 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[11] charts and received a Gold certification from the RIAA for shipment of 500,000 copies on March 26, 1996.[12]

  1. Greatest Medley Ever Told – Whoopi Goldberg & The Ronelles
  2. Never Should've Let You GoHi-Five
  3. Get Up Offa That Thing/Dancing in the Street – Whoopi Goldberg
  4. Oh Happy Day – St. Francis Choir featuring Ryan Toby
  5. Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) – Whoopi Goldberg & the Sisters
  6. His Eye Is on the Sparrow – Tanya Blount & Lauryn Hill
  7. A Deeper LoveAretha Franklin & Lisa Fischer
  8. Wandering Eyes – Nuttin' Nyce
  9. Pay Attention – Valeria Andrews & Ryan Toby
  10. Ode to Joy – Chapman College Choir
  11. Joyful, Joyful – St. Francis Choir featuring Lauryn Hill
  12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough – Whoopi Goldberg & Cast

The finale performance of "Joyful Joyful" was produced and arranged by Mervyn Warren, noted jazz and gospel musician who is best known as an original member of a cappella vocal group Take 6. The arrangement also includes rap lyrics written by Ryan Toby, and a bridge adapted from the chorus of Janet Jackson's 1986 single, What Have You Done for Me Lately.

Home media[edit]

The all-region Blu-ray, including both Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, was released on June 19, 2012 with both films presented in 1080p. The 3-disc set also includes both films on DVD with the same bonus features as previous releases.[13]


When asked in 2013 about acting in a sequel, Whoopi Goldberg initially refused,[14] but by 2015 changed her stance to a maybe.[15] After a Broad City cameo, in 2016 Whoopi expressed doubts about a sequel based on missing cast members, but said she thought it would be fun and likeable.[16] In May 2017, she affirmed her desire for the third film to happen,[17] adding in July that she would like to direct it and had confidence it would be made.[18] On December 7, 2018, it was confirmed that Regina Y. Hicks and Karin Gist were hired to write the script to Sister Act 3 for a release on Disney+.[19] In December 2020, it was announced that Goldberg would be reprising the role of Delores and serve as a producer alongside Tyler Perry.[20]


  1. ^ "SISTER ACT 2 : BACK IN THE HABIT (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. December 20, 1993. Archived from the original on October 14, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  2. ^ Jones, Vanessa (January 7, 1994). "'Sister Act 2' May Become Breakthrough For Filmmaker". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Dutka, Elaine (December 5, 1993). "Back to School for Inspiration : How necessity and compromise turned 'The Iris Stevenson Story'--a drama about a passionately committed Crenshaw High School music teacher--into 'Sister Act 2'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Billiter, Bill (December 9, 1993). "Chapman Choir Gets Its 'Sister Act' Together : Movies: Singers cast on short notice for the Whoopi Goldberg sequel. The experience is divine". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  7. ^ "MTV Movie Awards 1994". MTV. June 9, 1994. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Fox, David J. (December 13, 1993). "Wayne, Garth Party On at the Box Office Movies: 'Wayne's World' sequel pulls in an estimated $14.2 million to push "Mrs. Doubtfire" into second place. "Sister Act 2" opens in third". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  10. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard. September 17, 1994. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. April 16, 1994. Retrieved May 29, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit". Gold & Platinum. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Sister Act: 20th Anniversary Edition - Two-Movie Collection (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1992)". Amazon. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "After Show: Is 'Sister Act 3' Happening?".
  15. ^ "Oh Happy Day: Whoopi Goldberg Says She Wouldn't Say No To "Sister Act 3"". December 17, 2015. That's not to say I wouldn't do it, but it feels like there's a new generation for Sister Act and so maybe I can be a nun now.
  16. ^ "Whoopi Goldberg on Weed, Being an Ally, & Sister Act 3". September 20, 2016. On Sister Act 3: WG: So many of my nuns are gone. I would love to do it, but we sort of sent it out on stage—world domination, it's in all these different countries. But should they ever make a three it would be lots of fun, I think people would like it.
  17. ^ "Whoopi Goldberg wants Sister Act 3 to happen". May 30, 2017.
  18. ^ "Whoopi Goldberg wants to direct Sister Act 3 and is confident the movie WILL happen". July 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 7, 2018). "'Sister Act 3': 'Insecure' Executive Producer, 'Star' Showrunner to Write Sequel". Variety.
  20. ^ Jackson, Angelique (December 10, 2020). "Whoopi Goldberg to Return for Disney Plus' 'Sister Act 3,' Produced With Tyler Perry". Variety.

External links[edit]