Bette Midler Reveals Why We Never Got A First Wives Club Sequel

bette midler reveals why we never got a first wives club sequel
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

On September 30, 2022, just in time for the start of the Halloween season, director Anne Fletcher’s “Hocus Pocus 2” premiered on Disney+. Debuting 29 years after the original, the film sees the Sanderson sisters — Winifred (Bette Midler, who hasn’t minced words about “Hocus Pocus 3”), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) — return from the grave to once again wreak havoc on Salem, Massachusetts as only the three iconic witches can. While far from a home run reception-wise, it has proven a fun nostalgia trip for those who adored the 1993 film that started it all.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a second “Hocus Pocus” flick arrived in 2022, bearing in mind that sequels are all the rage these days. It doesn’t matter how old a project is or how loved — or hated — the last entry in a franchise was. If Hollywood believes there’s fan demand and money to be made, chances are a continuation of some kind will come to fruition. However, just because some people want to see a specific sequel doesn’t guarantee it’ll happen. Case in point: the 1996 comedy, “First Wives Club,” which features Bette Midler herself in a leading role.

Despite Midler’s desire to see one, a follow-up to “First Wives Club” never became a reality. Here’s why.

Multiple factors prevented a second First Wives Club movie from happening

bette midler reveals why we never got a first wives club sequel
Paramount Pictures

For those unfamiliar, “First Wives Club” stars Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler as longtime college friends Elise Elliot-Atchison, Annie MacDuggan-Paradis, and Brenda Morelli-Cushman, respectively. When they reunite at the funeral of their friend, they’re alerted to the fact that all of their ex-husbands had taken advantage of them. With that, they take it upon themselves to exact revenge. Overall, “First Wives Club” performed ok at best in a critical sense, though it made a boatload of cash at the box office. Therefore, one has to wonder why didn’t it get a proper sequel.

As Bette Midler told People in 2022, gender biases hurt the chances of “First Wives Club 2” getting made. “There were political reasons they didn’t want to do that again. And it always broke my heart,” she said, adding, “When women have hits, it’s a fluke. But when men have hits, isn’t it great? At least that’s what they told us on ‘First Wives.'” Goldie Hawn corroborated this claim in an interview with AARP, touching on the financials of such a film. Despite the name value of the three lead actresses and the runaway success of the original, the studio offered them disappointing salaries to make the sequel.

Sadly, a couple of frustrating factors ensured a second “First Wives Club” film didn’t come to pass. That’s not to say it can’t happen in the future, but if the modern studio landscape is similar to how it was when the sequel was pitched, it’s still highly unlikely that it’ll happen.

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