‘Mean Girl’ sings its way to top of the weekend box office

‘Mean Girl’ sings its way to top of the weekend box office

  15 Jan 2024

Reporters can always tell when “Mean Girls” is going to win the box office. Well, they can tell when it’s winning.

Paramount Pictures’ adaptation of the Broadway musical — based on the original 2004 film “Mean Girls” that starred Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams — topped the domestic holiday weekend box office, bringing in a projected $28 million in its four-day opening, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

The movie-musical finished well ahead of second-place finisher, Amazon/MGM’s action movie “The Beekeeper,” which punched its way to $16.8 million in its extended debut weekend.

“Mean Girls” performed pretty much as expected according to early box office projections, which had the film hauling anywhere between the high $20 millions and $35 million during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

This new iteration of “Mean Girls” performed slightly above the 2004 original, which had a domestic opening of $24.4 million ($39.8 million adjusted for inflation).

Rounding out the domestic box office top five were Warner Bros.’ family-friendly flick “Wonka,” which cooked up $8.38 million in its fifth weekend for a North American haul of $176.1 million; Sony’s rom-com “Anyone But You,” which scored $6.94 million in its fourth frame to reach a North American cumulative of $55.18 million; and Universal Pictures’ animated feature “Migration” took in $6.19 million also in its fourth weekend to fly to a North American total of $85.75 million.

Another new movie, “The Book of Clarence,” a faith-based comedy/drama with an ensemble cast including LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, RJ Cyler, David Oyelowo, Alfre Woodard and Teyana Taylor, stumbled. The Legendary Pictures production, distributed by Sony, opened to an estimated $2.6 million to finish in ninth place. The film, written and directed by Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”), received mixed reviews, with 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and a B CinemaScore.

Directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., “Mean Girls” — just as its previous incarnations — centers around the story of former home-schooled teenager Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) as she attends a new public school and has to learn about the social dynamics, including dealing with the school bully/cool kid Regina George (Reneé Rapp). Oh, and there’s a lot of singing because it’s a musical. The film also stars Auliʻi Cravalho, Jenna Fischer, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Ashley Park and Jon Hamm.

The PG-13-rated musical scored a middling 70% critic score and a lukewarm 66% audience score on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. It garnered a tepid B grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

“So why does it all feel so laborious and overworked, so frantically self-regarding? It has something to do with the insipid quality of the songs, none of which threaten to lodge themselves in your brain the way the first movie’s lines so effortlessly do,” writes The Times’ film critic Justin Chang in his review of the adaptation.

“For every tune that opens a poignant window into a character’s turmoil (like ‘What’s Wrong With Me?,’ Gretchen’s quavering cry for help), there seem to be at least three or four that feel egregiously padded, underlining story beats that don’t exactly cry out for psychological elaboration. Fey’s original script was, among other things, a model of narrative concision (the movie clocked in at 97 minutes to this one’s 112), and it said more with Cady’s droll voice-over than the musical can manage with a full-blown medley.”

Opening next week in wide release are Neon’s Ava DuVernay film “Origin,” Bleecker Street’s space thriller “I.S.S.” and Mainframe Pictures’ political horror flick “Founders Day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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