October 23, 1996
When it comes to having his finger on the pulse of the public, Scott Rudin seems to have movie-goers right in the palm of his hand.
The hugely successful producer, whose hits include “The Firm,” “Clueless.” The Addams Family” and “Sister Act,” personally gathered
Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn for “The First Wives Club” and convinced the trio that they’d be box-office dynamite together. The PG-rated comedy, about three middle-aged women getting even on the husbands who dumped them, has already soared by the $50 million mark and will more than double that amount before leaving theaters.
“I thought The First Wives Club’ would do well because it’s funny and people would like to see those three women together in a movie,Â Rudin said after a New York screening of his newest production, “Ransom,” a kidnapping thriller that stars Mel Gibson and opens Nov. 8. “I had no idea it would become the hit that it has. I don’t think anyone had any idea.
“If you had said to us all before it opened, “Would you take $50 million right now for the picture?’ The answer would have been, “Yes.’
This film has touched older viewers (baby boomers), and if you make a movie about what they’re going through (in this case divorce),Â that audience is there. People want to see movies that reflect their own experiences, and feeling powerless is a feeling everyone has had.
“I don’t think of it as a revenge movie. It’s a survival movie. That’s why people go to movies like “The First Wives Club’ â€” to get the closure they don’t get in their real lives.”