"You don't own me..."
Nineteen years ago, The First Wives Club proved that a movie starring self-proclaimed “women of a certain age” could not only become a huge cultural phenomenon, but could also be a box office success.
So why didn’t the instant classic (which cost $30 million to make but grossed $181 million) get a sequel? In a recent interview with Harvard Business Review, Goldie Hawn says that we can thank Hollywood’s notorious gender pay gap:
The big money goes to kids and young men—big tent-pole movies, which are expensive but have a great return. The smaller movies aren’t being made as much. For instance, First Wives Club. We were all women of a certain age, and everyone took a cut in salary to do it so the studio could make what it needed. We all took a smaller back end than usual and a much smaller front end. And we ended up doing incredibly well. The movie was hugely successful. It made a lot of money. We were on the cover of Time magazine. But two years later, when the studio came back with a sequel, they wanted to offer us exactly the same deal. We went back to ground zero. Had three men come in there, they would have upped their salaries without even thinking about it. But the fear of women’s movies is embedded in the culture.
While it’s certainly disappointing that there was never a Second Wives Club, it’s good to know that Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Hawn took Lesley Gore’s mantra to heart: