Bette Midler and the cast of Hocus Pocus finally got a sequel to their cult Halloween comedy nearly 30 years after the original premiered in 1993. But the two-time Oscar nominee is still sad that a follow-up to her hit 1996 comedy The First Wives Club never panned out.
Speaking about how she campaigned for years to get Hocus Pocus 2 made, Midler, 76, recalled how she did the same for Paramount's comical revenge movie costarring Diane Keaton, 76, Goldie Hawn, 76, and in a smaller role, Midler's Hocus Pocus pal Sarah Jesica Parker, 57.
"I used to lobby for First Wives Club too, but there were political reasons they didn't want to do that again. And it always broke my heart," Midler tells PEOPLE. "I really felt that it was a pretty serious diss, because 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."
In The First Wives Club, based on the 1992 novel by Olivia Goldsmith, Midler, Hawn and Keaton played former college pals Brenda, Elise and Annie, who reunite for the funeral of their friend Cynthia (Stockard Channing). They bond again over their own relationship woes and vow revenge on the men who wronged them.
The comedy, directed by Hugh Wilson, grossed an incredible $180 million worldwide.
Hawn spoke out in 2009, telling AARP The Magazine the stars received low-ball offers when it came to their salaries for a potential follow-up. "Diane called me and said, 'We've got to do this.' ... I got a call from the head of the studio, who said, 'Let's try to make it work. But I think we should all do it for the same amount of money.' Now, if there were three men that came back to do a sequel, they would have paid them three times their salary at least."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.
Though Midler, Hawn and Keaton never got to make The First Wives Club 2, they all signed on to make a comedy called Family Jewels, which was announced in 2020. The plot centers around three women, who were all once married to the same man, as they are forced to spend the holidays together with the kids and grandkids after their ex dies.
"The script has to be approved and right now they've just given us another draft, so I gotta read that," Hawn told Entertainment Tonight that November. "So, we're inching our way towards it, let's put it that way."
Midler also told PEOPLE around that time she was looking forward to it. "I think it's funny. When women get together, they laugh harder with each other than they do with men," she said. "I don't know what it is. I guess they feel freer or something like that. Family Jewels is something that people have been working on. Sometimes you get stuck in the scriptwriting process and things don't work out."
Hocus Pocus 2 lands on Disney+ Friday.