Mean Girls
A redhead in a red top and blue jeans stands with her back to three girls dressed in pink
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Waters
Screenplay byTina Fey
Based onQueen Bees and Wannabes
by Rosalind Wiseman
Produced byLorne Michaels
Starring
CinematographyDaryn Okada
Edited byWendy Greene Bricmont
Music byRolfe Kent
Production
company
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • April 19, 2004 (2004-04-19) (Cinerama Dome)
  • April 30, 2004 (2004-04-30) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$18 million[2]
Box office$130.1 million[2]

Mean Girls is a 2004 American teen comedy film directed by Mark Waters, written by Tina Fey, and starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried (in her film acting debut), Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler and Fey. The supporting cast includes Lizzy Caplan, Jonathan Bennett, Daniel Franzese, and Neil Flynn. The plot centers on Cady Heron, a naïve teenage girl played by Lohan, who navigates her way through the social hierarchy of a modern American high school after years of homeschooling by her parents as they conducted research in Africa.

The screenplay is based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes, which describes female high school social cliques, school bullying and the damaging effect they can have on teenagers. Fey also drew from her own experience at Upper Darby High School, in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, as an inspiration for some of the film's concepts.[3]

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels produced the film. Fey was a long-term cast member and writer for Saturday Night Live. Filming took place from September to November 2003. Although set in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, the film was mostly shot in Toronto, Canada. It marks Lohan's second collaboration with director Waters; the first was Freaky Friday, released in 2003.

Released on April 30, 2004, Mean Girls grossed $130.1 million worldwide and has become an enduring classic.[4] Critics praised Waters' direction, Fey's screenplay, its humor and the performances; especially lauded was Lohan's acting, which earned several accolades including three Teen Choice Awards and two MTV Movie Awards, and in 2021, was listed as the eleventh-best performance of the 21st century by The New Yorker.

A made-for-TV sequel Mean Girls 2, premiered on ABC Family in January 2011. Mean Girls also spawned various adaptations, including a stage musical, which premiered on Broadway in March 2018, with a film adaptation that was released on January 12, 2024.

Plot

Sixteen-year-old homeschooled Cady Heron and her research scientist parents return to the United States after 12 years in Africa, settling in Evanston, Illinois. After an intimidating first day at North Shore High School, Cady befriends outsiders Janis Ian and Damian Leigh, who explain the school's various cliques and warn her to avoid the Plastics, a clique consisting of wealthy but insecure Gretchen Wieners, sweet but dimwitted Karen Smith, and queen bee Regina George. When Cady is invited to sit with the Plastics at lunch, Janis persuades her to infiltrate them.

Cady becomes attracted to Aaron Samuels, a senior in her calculus class and Regina's ex-boyfriend, and learns about the Burn Book, a scrapbook the Plastics fill with cruel rumors about students and faculty. At a Halloween house party, Regina offers to talk to Aaron on Cady's behalf but instead she kisses him in front of her and resumes their relationship. Feeling betrayed, Cady fully commits to Janis' plan to ruin Regina's life, targeting her boyfriend, body, and fellow Plastics. Regina tells Cady that she and Janis were once friends until she accused Janis of being a lesbian and ostracized her.

After their attempts to sabotage Regina's skin and wardrobe backfire, Cady, Janis, and Damian plan to turn Gretchen against her. They make it seem as though Regina has sent candy cane-grams to Cady and Karen while excluding Gretchen. Regina further humiliates Gretchen during the Plastics' dance performance at the Winter Talent Show, leading Gretchen to tell Cady all of Regina's embarrassing secrets. Cady informs Aaron that Regina is cheating on him, prompting them to break up, and tricks Regina into eating Kalteen nutrition bars that Cady purports to be weight-losing, but which in reality cause her to gain weight. After violating the Plastics' dress code rules due to wearing sweatpants, the only thing that fit her, Regina is banished and replaced by Cady as the new "queen bee."

Cady throws a house party while her parents are away and drunkenly admits to Aaron that she has been deliberately failing math class to make him help her, but he rebukes her for becoming as manipulative and image-obsessed as Regina. Janis and Damian confront Cady for lying to them about the party and remaking herself in Regina's image. Cady accuses Janis of being obsessed with her, and Janis declares her a "mean girl," renouncing their friendship.

Realizing Cady's betrayal, Regina retaliates by distributing the contents of the Burn Book throughout school, inciting chaos among the girls of the junior class. She avoids suspicion by inserting insults about herself, and blame is placed on Cady, Gretchen, and Karen. To restore order, Principal Duvall and math teacher Ms. Norbury gather the female junior students in the gym to apologize to each other. Regina insults Janis' sexuality, prompting Janis to reveal her entire plan to destroy Regina's life, as the students cheer. Regina storms out, pursued by an apologetic Cady, and is struck by a school bus, fracturing her spine.

When Ms. Norbury is investigated as a drug dealer because of comments Cady wrote in the Burn Book, Cady takes full blame for the book. She is shunned by her peers and distrusted by her own parents, but she gradually returns to her old self. In order to earn extra credit, she joins the school Mathletes at the state finals, answering the tiebreaker correctly to win the championship. The team arrives at the Spring Fling dance, where Cady is elected queen, but declares that all her classmates are wonderful in their own ways, snapping the plastic tiara and distributing the pieces to other girls in the crowd, including Janis, Gretchen, and Regina. She rekindles her friendship with Janis and Damian, makes up with Aaron, and reaches a truce with the Plastics.

The Plastics disband at the beginning of the new school year; Regina joins the lacrosse team to channel her anger, Karen becomes the school weather reporter, and Gretchen joins the "Cool Asians" clique. Aaron graduates and attends Northwestern University while maintaining a relationship with Cady. Even Janis manages to make a change, starting a relationship with Mathletes president Kevin Gnapoor. Reflecting on the relative social peace that has taken over North Shore High, Cady notices a trio of new “Junior Plastics” and imagines them being hit by a school bus.

Cast

Production

Development

Mean Girls writer Tina Fey

Tina Fey read Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes and called Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels to suggest it could be turned into a film. Michaels contacted Paramount Pictures, who purchased the rights to the book. As the book is nonfiction, Fey wrote the plot from scratch, borrowing elements from her own high school experience and her impressions of Evanston Township High School, upon which the film's fictional "North Shore High School" is based.[5]

Fey named many characters after real life friends. In a 2014 interview about the movie, she told Entertainment Weekly, "I tried to use real names in writing because it's just easier."[6] Main character Cady Heron was named after Fey's college roommate Cady Garey.[7] Damian was named after Fey's high school friend Damian Holbrook, who went on to become a writer for TV Guide.[8] Minor character Glenn Coco is named after a friend of Fey's older brother; the real Glenn Coco works as a film editor in Los Angeles.[6] Janis Ian was named after singer Janis Ian, who was one of the musical guests on the first Saturday Night Live episode, in which she sang the song "At Seventeen", which can be heard playing in the background when the girls are fighting at Regina's house.[9] The movie was originally going to be called "Homeschooled".[10]

Casting

Fey, Michaels and Paramount's chairman Sherry Lansing wanted to cast Lindsay Lohan after seeing her performance in Freaky Friday (2003). Lohan was originally set to play Regina George, but the casting team ended up feeling she was their strongest choice for the role of Cady Heron, and since executives feared the "mean girl" role would alienate her audience, she eventually agreed to play the lead. Rachel McAdams was cast as Regina because Fey felt McAdams being "kind and polite" made her perfect for such an evil-spirited character and Waters felt Lohan was "a little intimidated" by her which made him like their dynamic. McAdams had originally auditioned for the role of Cady but was deemed "a bit too old" for the character.[11] Kristen Stewart, Michelle Trachtenberg and Mae Whitman were considered for the role of Cady opposite Lohan's Regina George early on.[12] According to casting director Marci Liroff, Blake Lively was the top choice to play the role of Karen Smith, but was told by the producers to keep looking. Amanda Seyfried originally auditioned for Regina, and although director Mark Waters thought she was "fantastic", the producers instead suggested her for Karen due to her "spacey and daffy sense of humor".[13][14] Leighton Meester, Haylie Duff, Kate Mara and Megan Fox were also up for the role of Karen. America Ferrera and Kat Dennings were both heavily favored for the role of Janis Ian.[15] Lizzy Caplan was at first considered too beautiful for that role, for which Waters felt a "Kelly Osbourne-type" was necessary, but Caplan was chosen for being able to portray raw emotion. Evan Rachel Wood was offered a role in the film, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts, a decision she later regretted.[16] Mary Elizabeth Winstead was asked to audition for the role of Gretchen Wieners, but her mother declined as she disliked the script.[17] Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens also auditioned for Gretchen.[15][11] Jonathan Bennett was a last-minute replacement after the actor originally slated to play the role of Aaron Samuels was fired. James Franco had previously been considered for Aaron while Penn Badgley, Jared Padalecki and Max Minghella all auditioned as well.[18][19] Fey's decision to hire Bennett was due to his resemblance to her longtime SNL co-star Jimmy Fallon.[20] Both Lacey Chabert and Daniel Franzese were the last actors tested for their roles. Fey wrote two roles based on fellow SNL alumni, Amy Poehler, whom Fey thought the producers would not accept because of being too young to portray a teenager's mother, and Tim Meadows, and the cast ended up with a fourth veteran of the show, Ana Gasteyer.[9]

Filming

Although set in Evanston, Illinois, the film was mostly shot in Toronto, Ontario, at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute and Malvern Collegiate Institute, as well as at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey.[21] Landmarks include the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall and Sherway Gardens. Principal photography commenced on September 27, and concluded on November 25, 2003.[22]

Soundtrack

Main article: Mean Girls (2004 soundtrack)

Mean Girls: Music from the Motion Picture was released by Rykodisc and Bulletproof Records on September 21, 2004, the same day as the DVD release. The album featured songs performed by the Donnas, Pink, Kelis, Samantha Ronson, Boomkat, Blondie, Katy Rose and Peaches amongst several others.

Home media

Mean Girls was released on VHS and DVD in North America on September 21, 2004, five months after it opened in theaters. It was released in a special collector's edition, in both widescreen & full screen formats, both including several deleted scenes, a blooper reel, three TV spots, the theatrical trailer, previews and three featurettes.[23] A Blu-ray version of the film was released on April 14, 2009. The film was later re-released on a 15th anniversary Blu-ray in 2019.[24] A limited SteelBook edition of the film was released in September 2022.[25] It will be released on 4K UHD for the first time on April 30, 2024.[26]

Reception

Box-office

In its opening weekend, Mean Girls grossed $24.4 million from 3,159 screens[27] at 2,839 theaters in the United States, ranking number one at the box office and averaging $8,606 per venue.[2] The film closed on September 9, 2004, grossing $86.1 million domestically and $43 million internationally for a total worldwide gross of $129 million.[2] Paramount said the audience was 75% female, and 50% was under the age of 18. Over 90% of moviegoers rated the picture either "excellent" or "very good", and positive notices remained strong even outside the target demographic; ratings were over 80% positive from men in their thirties.[28]

Critical response

Lohan's performance in the film was lauded by critics and was listed as the 11th-best performance of the 21st century by The New Yorker.

Mean Girls received largely positive reviews; critics lauded Lohan's and McAdams' performances and labeled the film as Seyfried and Caplan's breakthrough roles. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 84% based on 214 reviews, with an average rating of 6.90/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience."[29] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore, gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[31]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, writing: "In a wasteland of dumb movies about teenagers, Mean Girls is a smart and funny one."[32] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post wrote that it "boasts a one-two-three punch in star Lindsay Lohan, screenwriter Tina Fey and director Mark Waters, and, indeed, it delivers a knockout".[33] The screenplay was highly praised by critics with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calling it "comic gold".[34][32] In April 2004, Mick LaSalle of SFGate wrote, "as in The House of Yes and Freaky Friday, Waters keeps it wild but real", noting that "all the supporting performances go right to the edge of absurdity without crossing the line into random zaniness."[35] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying: "'Fetch' may never happen, but 2004's eminently quotable movie is still one of the sharpest high school satires ever. Which is pretty grool, if you ask me!"[36] In 2006, Entertainment Weekly had also named it the 12th-best high school film of all time: "While Mean Girls is technically a comedy, its depiction of girl-on-girl cattiness stings incredibly true."[37] In 2012, Rotten Tomatoes included the film in its "Top 50 Greatest Teen Comedies" list.[38] In 2021, Marie Claire ranked Mean Girls as the best 2000s movie, calling it "the '00s pop culture staple".[39]

In March 2021, Richard Brody of The New Yorker ranked Lohan's performance in the film as the eleventh best of the 21st century up to that point, praising her "blend of charisma and awkwardness, innocence and guile" as well as "faux-casual earnestness" she used for dialogue.[40] In 2022, Rolling Stone ranked Mean Girls as the twentieth greatest comedy of the 21st century, saying: "Tina Fey established herself as one of America's best comedy writers courtesy of this instant teen-movie classic, which boasts one of the most quotable scripts of the past 20 years",[41] while Indie Wire ranked it as the fifteenth best comedy of the 21st century, calling the script "effortlessly funny, but what makes the film truly timeless has more to do with the actors' ability to find the human grace notes amid the absurd high school hijinks (Kälteen Bars, anyone?) and instant-classic one-liners ("That's so fetch"). It's a high school comedy with broad genre humor and specific insight into teenage anxieties, and for that it stands the test of time."[42] In October 2022, The Independent also included Lohan's role in a list of "outstanding performances", stating that she "gives a pretty flawless performance, dexterously balancing the film's irreverent comic tone with moments of occasional pathos."[43]

Cultural impact

On "Mean Girls Day", fans tend to wear the color pink, in reference to a dress code rule made by the Plastics which states that they must wear pink on Wednesdays

Mean Girls has become a pop culture phenomenon.[44][45][46] Fans have made GIFs and memes of the film and posted them on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.[47][48][49][50][51] It is considered one of the most quotable movies of all time.[52][53][54][55] In an interview about the film, Fey noted: "Adults find it funny. They are the ones who are laughing. Young people watch it like a reality show. It's much too close to their real experiences so they are not exactly guffawing."[56] October 3 has been dubbed "Mean Girls Day" on social media, alluding to a line by Cady, the protagonist. People also celebrate by wearing pink based on a line by Karen, another character. Clothing designers have printed quotes and other iconic imagery from the movie onto clothing and other merchandise.[57]

Members of the cast have reunited in video over the years on that day for various causes. In 2017, they created a GoFundMe to raise money for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and the National Compassion Fund.[58] In 2019, they teamed up with the Thirst Project to raise money to fund a freshwater well in Uganda.[59] In 2020, the cast was honored with the Pioneering Spirit Award for their #MeanGirlsDoGood campaign.[60] On October 3, 2020, Katie Couric moderated a virtual cast reunion to reminisce about the film. Organized in collaboration with HeadCount to promote voting in the 2020 United States presidential election, it was the first time the entire cast gathered since the 2004 premiere.[61][62] Paramount Pictures released the entire movie for free streaming on TikTok in 23 snippets to celebrate Mean Girls Day on October 3, 2023.[63] The hashtag "#meangirlsday" was one of the top trends on the platform that month.[64]

American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey has said several times that she is a fan of the film, quoting the film in numerous interviews and TV appearances, including a 2013 episode of American Idol. Carey's 2009 single, "Obsessed", begins with an interlude quote where she says, "And I was like, 'Why are you so obsessed with me?'", a line of Regina George's. Carey's ex-husband, Nick Cannon, revealed that the song was inspired by the film.[65][66] In September 2020, Fey quizzed Carey about the movie to prove how much of a "superfan" she is on Billboard's Quizzed video series.[67] Meanwhile, the British band Wet Leg quotes the film ("Is your muffin buttered?/Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?") in their song "Chaise Longue" (2021).[68]

In August 2013, the White House tweeted a photo of President Obama's dog, Bo, holding a tennis ball and captioning: "Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen".[69][70] Taco Bell made a reply to the White House, also using one of the quotes from the film.[71] In June 2018, the official Twitter account of the Israeli Embassy in the U.S. made headlines when it responded to a tweet by Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, calling Israel "a malignant cancerous tumor", with an animated GIF of the "Why are you so obsessed with me?" quote from Mean Girls.[72] In March 2019, Hillary Clinton tweeted a GIF of the same quote which went viral for being considered a response to Donald Trump.[73] At the 2013 People's Choice Awards, Jennifer Lawrence referenced the film in her speech when she won Favorite Movie Actress.[74] Multiple scenes from the movie have been reenacted and parodied by various celebrities throughout the years following its release, including Ed Sheeran, Iggy Azalea, Amber Rose and Waka Flocka Flame during a 2014 skit for MTV.[75][76][77][78][79][80]

In June 2020, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar referenced the film during a COVID-19 lockdown news briefing. Varadkar stated that "some have asked whether there is a limit to what we can achieve", before drawing upon a line from the film: "My answer is that the limit does not exist." Lord Of The Rings and The Goonies actor, Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, bet the Irish leader "50 quid" to quote Mean Girls in his next speech.[81]

The sixth episode of the third season of How to Get Away with Murder included several references to the film, including Aja Naomi King's character Michaela Pratt using the line "you can't sit with us", Viola Davis' character Annalise Keating eating her lunch in a toilet cubicle after feeling like an outcast, Karla Souza's character Laurel Castillo using sweatpants on a Monday and Behzad Dabu's character Simon Drake calling several other students "mean girls".[82] In June 2021, actress Aimee Lou Wood mentioned the film scene where Cady broke her Spring Fling crown in pieces and shared it with girls around her.[83] She said: "Now, I said that I'd break [this award] into pieces and share it with everyone, It's solid, Daisy [Haggard], It's solid! So I'll give you a metaphorical piece to everyone in my category, especially Emma Mackey who's the best scene partner and best friend…"[83] The second novel by American author Karen M. McManus, Two Can Keep a Secret includes a reference to a line in the film, where the character Ezra refers to his school's prom committee as looking like "they wear pink on Wednesdays".[84]

In October 2024, the film will be released in North American theaters again by Fathom Events for its 20th anniversary.[85]

Accolades

The film won and was nominated for a number of awards throughout 2004–2005.[86]

Year Ceremony Category Recipients Result
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Movie Actress Lindsay Lohan Won
Choice Breakout Movie Actress Won
Choice Movie Blush Won
Choice Breakout Movie Actress Rachel McAdams Nominated
Choice Breakout Movie Actor Jonathan Bennett Nominated
Choice Comedy Movie Nominated
Choice Comedy Movie Actress Rachel McAdams Nominated
Choice Movie Blush Nominated
Choice Movie Chemistry Lindsay Lohan and Jonathan Bennett Nominated
Choice Movie Fight/Action Sequence Lindsay Lohan vs. Rachel McAdams Nominated
Choice Movie Hissy Fit Rachel McAdams Nominated
Choice Movie Liar Lindsay Lohan Nominated
Choice Movie Villain Rachel McAdams Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Lindsay Lohan Won
Breakthrough Female Performance Rachel McAdams Won
Best On-Screen Team Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried Won
Best Villain Rachel McAdams Nominated
Kids Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Lindsay Lohan Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie: Comedy Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Best Adapted Screenplay Tina Fey Nominated

Legacy

Works inspired by Mean Girls

In early 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema announced a planned release date of May 8, 2015, for a film adapted from another book penned by Rosalind Wiseman. The film was titled Mean Moms, despite not being announced as a spin-off of Mean Girls. Beth McCarthy-Miller was set to direct while Jennifer Aniston was set to star.[87] However, in May 2014, New Line Cinema pulled the film from its proposed release date of May 2015.[88]

Jonathan Bennett, who portrayed Aaron Samuels, released a cookbook inspired by the movie in 2018 called "The Burn Cookbook: Real Recipes to Feed Your Inner Plastic."[89] The following year, he teamed up with Nocking Point Wines to release a limited rosé wine edition inspired by the film.[90] Ariana Grande parodied the film in the music video for her 2018 song "Thank U, Next". The actors Jonathan Bennett and Stefanie Drummond, who were originally part of the film's cast, appeared in the video. A clip of Cady Heron from the movie was featured in a 2020 Discover Card commercial which aired during the Super Bowl LIV.[91] K-pop singer Sunmi named her song "You Can't Sit with Us" after a quote from the movie.

A Mean Girls-themed pop-up restaurant in Santa Monica called "Fetch" was announced in 2020 as well.[92] Primark launched a loungewear range inspired by the film in October 2019.[93] On October 3, 2020, the Young Veterans Brewing Company released a Mean Girls-themed beer called "Army Pants & Flip Flops".[94] Several Mean Girls-themed events, merchandising products and screenings have been often organized and produced in homage to the film.[95][96][97][98][99]

In August 2020, Screen Junkies released a Honest Trailers episode on the film calling it "the best thing to come out of that era," with Screen Rant's Daniel Gillespie saying: "Mean Girls remains entertaining, funny, and, most importantly, accurate. [...] That relevance almost two decades later proves that Mean Girls is deserving of its classic status,"[100] and Slashfilm's Ethan Anderton writing that the "generation-defining high school movie" not only captures the teenage culture of the early 2000s perfectly, "but it's also hilariously clever for being adapted from a non-fiction parenting advice book [...] Mean Girls is great because it captures that cruel teen vibe perfectly, and it tries to deliver a nice wholesome message to fight it, which kids will laugh at, agree with, and then never do anything about."[101] In September 2020, the Pillsbury Company released a limited edition of Toaster Strudel featuring pink icing and Mean Girls packaging to pay homage to its movie-claimed inventor's daughter, Gretchen Wieners.[102] In October 2023, Nestlé's Coffee Mate announced that a limited-edition pink frosting flavored creamer would be available from January 2024 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film.[103]

In November 2023, Walmart unveiled its annual holiday campaign featuring much of the film's original cast including Lohan, Seyfried, Chabert, Franzese and Surendra, reprising their roles as adults.[104][105]

Adaptations

Video games

A game for PC was released in 2009 featuring characters specifically created for the game.[106]

In 2010, a Mean Girls video game developed by Crush Digital Media and planned to be published by 505 Games for the Nintendo DS handheld game console was announced, but was canceled before release.[107][108] The DS game was nearly completed before cancellation and was found in 2021 by YouTuber Ray Mona (also known as Raven Simone),[109] who got a file for the game in her email by an anonymous person.[110] A full playthrough was uploaded to her channel on July 15, 2021.[111]

In 2015, Episode launched an interactive animated web story titled Mean Girls: Senior Year. It picks up after the events of the film with the player taking the role of a new student who enters North Shore High School during senior year.[112][113] It was followed by two others stories, Mean Girls: Sorority Rush and Mean Girls: Spring Break.[114]

Musical

Main articles: Mean Girls (musical) and Mean Girls (2024 film)

On January 28, 2013, Tina Fey confirmed that a stage musical adaptation of Mean Girls was in the works. Fey wrote the book of the show, while her husband, Jeff Richmond, composed the music with lyrics written by Nell Benjamin.[115] Directed by Casey Nicholaw, the original production of the musical premiered at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., on October 31, 2017 for a pre-Broadway tryouts.[116] The show later transferred to Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre, with previews beginning on March 12, 2018, and official opening on April 8, 2018.[117]

Its original stars included Erika Henningsen as Cady Heron, Taylor Louderman as Regina George, Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis Sarkisian, Ashley Park as Gretchen Wieners, and Kate Rockwell as Karen Smith. The show received positives reviews from critics, and was nominated for twelve awards at the 72nd Tony Awards, including Best Musical.[118] An original Broadway cast recording was released on May 18, 2018.[119] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show played its final performance on Broadway on March 11, 2020 after one performance with a mostly new cast.[120]

On January 23, 2020, Tina Fey announced that a film adaptation of the stage musical was in active development.[121] The film was directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. in their feature film directorial debut, with Fey returning to write the screenplay and also produce alongside returning producer Lorne Michaels. Richmond and Benjamin also returned to rework their songs from the musical.[122]

The film adaptation was released theatrically on January 12, 2024 by Paramount Pictures, after being originally set to premiere on the streaming service Paramount+.[123] Reneé Rapp, who previously portrayed Regina as a replacement for Louderman in the musical from 2019 until its closure in 2020, reprises her role, while Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles from the original film.[124][125] Ashley Park, who originated the role of Gretchen in the stage musical, makes a cameo in the film.[126]

Novels

A novelization based on the script, by author Micol Ostow, was released in September 2017 by Scholastic.[127] Another novelization written in the style of William Shakespeare by Ian Doescher was released in April 2019, under the title William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Mean Girls.[128]

On September 29, 2020, a graphic novel, written by Arianna Irwin and illustrated Alba Cardona, was released by Insight Editions. Titled Mean Girls: Senior Year, it picks up after the events of the film and centers on the arrival of a new student, Megan Moretti, who want to be the most popular kid at school.[129][130][131]

Sequel

Mean Girls 2

Main article: Mean Girls 2

A made-for-television standalone sequel, titled Mean Girls 2, premiered on January 23, 2011 on ABC Family, and subsequently released on DVD on February 1 by Paramount Home Entertainment.[132][133] The film is directed by Melanie Mayron and stars Meaghan Martin, Jennifer Stone, Maiara Walsh, Nicole Gale Anderson, and Claire Holt, while Tim Meadows reprises his role as the principal Ron Duvall. Meadows is the only original cast member to return in the sequel.[134]

Potential sequel

In late September 2014, discussions arose that Lohan had pitched an idea to Fey for a sequel. Later that year, Lohan, along with other cast members of the original film, asked Fey to write a screenplay for it. The idea was brought up during a 10th anniversary for the film in Entertainment Weekly, with Fey declaring she regretted not doing a sequel closer to its original release: "At the time we did want to start the conversation about the sequel, and for whatever reason I was like, 'No!!! We shouldn't do that!' Now I look back and I'm like, 'Why?' But now, no—it's too late now."[135] Seyfried had previously said she was "really willing to pursue" a sequel and was unsure why it had not happened.[136] In December 2016, Lohan mentioned she was still trying to pitch a sequel, with the hopes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Jimmy Fallon appearing in the film.[137][138] She said she knew Fey, Michaels and Paramount were busy, declaring: "I will keep forcing it and pushing it on them until we do it."[139] In October 2018, Seyfried said people needed to start a campaign for it to finally come into fruition.[140] In January 2019, Lohan was interviewed by Howard Stern who wondered whether the sequel would ever happen. Lohan repeated her interest in revisiting the role and confirmed she had spoken to Fey about it, also saying sequel plans were not currently in the works, "I think they can't do it right now. I've spoken to her [Tina], but it can't happen without her and all of the cast. [...] Sometimes you're like, 'It's just too soon to do it.' But it's been 15 years."[141] In October 2019, Chabert was asked if a sequel would be happening to which she replied: "I don't know. I wish I had an answer for you, I feel like you need to start a petition," while saying she would "of course" revisit the character if given the chance as "it would be so much fun to revisit these women and see where they are now."[142][143]

In April 2020, Lohan was once again asked about the sequel by David Spade and confessed she had been hanging on to the idea of coming back to doing movies with that project "for a really long time" but that it was out of her hands. "To work with Tina [Fey], and the whole crew again, and Mark Waters. That was really what I wanted. I was excited to do that. But that's all in their hands really," she concluded.[144] A few days later, McAdams also expressed interest in reprising her role in a sequel,[145] after having declared in previous years she would be up for it as long as Fey was on board, "She's our master-in-chief on this one. So, if she's into it, then I'm into it."[146][147] Bennett then reacted to his co-stars by saying, "I was extremely excited when I heard Rachel [McAdams] say she'd love to play Regina George again because I've talked to over half the cast, including Lindsay [Lohan], and we all feel the same way", continuing, "We'd love to bring these beloved characters back to life at some point."[148] In an August 2020 interview on the podcast Unspooled, director Mark Waters discussed an idea for a sequel where the main characters from the original movie would now be young mothers serving together in a parent–teacher association, adding that its development is entirely up to Fey wanting to write a screenplay.[149] A possible sequel was also questioned by Katie Couric while moderating a virtual reunion with the film's cast on October 3, 2020.[150] Bennett then said in an interview he thought the virtual reunion "opened the door" for a sequel.[151]

In August 2022, Franzese talked about a potential sequel or reboot, "I would absolutely love it. And I would do it in any form whatsoever. This movie brings people so much joy. [...] I mean, I want to do a whole movie with the whole cast. We all play different characters. People would love that, you know? Tina Fey's got that power and she ain't pulling the trigger. So I don't know who else could do it." He revealed he was writing his own script and would try to pitch it to Fey as they approached the film's 20th anniversary.[152] In November 2022, Caplan was asked about a Mean Girls reboot and, although she was unsure about what was left of the story, she stated she would "of course" want to be a part of it: "I would be an idiot not to join."[153] That same month, Seyfried interviewed Lohan for Interview magazine and expressed again their desire to work on a sequel but found it unlikely to happen at that moment due to the development of the movie musical.[154][155] Meanwhile, during an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Chabert also shared a pitch where their characters' kids would become the "new mean girls".[156] In early 2023, Seyfried stated all four actresses would like to reunite on set, suggesting potential roles as the mothers of their characters in the movie musical.[157][158][159][160] In January 2024, Fey said they tried to bring back all four actresses for the movie musical but "it didn't come together". When asked about a possible sequel, she responded: "I have a feeling Paramount would love that. I have not really thought much about that. To me, part of why the stakes are so high in the story is because everyone's so young and feelings are huge, love is huge and friendship is huge in a way [that it isn't with] middle-age moms. I love writing about middle-aged people, but I don't know."[161]

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Further reading

  • Armstrong, Jennifer Keishin (2024). So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls (And Why We're Still So Obsessed with It). New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 9780063276161.