Monday, May 20

‘Mean Girls’ Adaptation Trailer Inspires Mixed Reactions

Paramount Pictures on Wednesday released a trailer for the film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Mean Girls,” which was itself an adaptation of the beloved 2004 movie about a girl trying to fit in with the popular crowd at her high school. The new film is due to hit theaters on Jan. 12.

In the trailer, large pink-and-white block letters make clear to viewers that “this isn’t your mother’s Mean Girls.” Though the movie is positioned as “a new twist” on the original film, it still appears to include certain key moments, including the “Jingle Bell Rock” dance scene and the infamous pink “Burn Book” full of rumors and gossip about students at the fictional North Shore High School.

The reactions to Wednesday’s trailer, which was posted across social media platforms, were mixed.

It quickly became clear that the original film’s army of fans, who have rewatched, memeified and made costumes in homage to “Mean Girls” over the years, felt the adaptation would have a lot to live up to: One reply on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, with over 2,000 likes consisted of a gif from the 2004 movie in which Regina George, the school’s queen bee played by Rachel McAdams, and her posse look judgmentally at someone offscreen, while the word “Ew” appears onscreen. “Praying this flops,” another fan replied. Other fans panicked that they were old enough to see a mainstay of their youth get remade: “Am I this old that they’re remaking one of my FAVORITE MOVIES!!”

There was some confusion about the lack of musical performances in the trailer, given that the film is being positioned as an adaptation of a musical. One user on TikTok wrote in a comment: “Wait so it’s based on the musical and there’s no music??? YES GIVE IT TO ME.”

At the same time, young commenters on TikTok were thrilled to see that the film focused on Gen Z culture: It stars the actress Renée Rapp, who was in the “Mean Girls” musical as well as the teenage dramedy “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” and features Olivia Rodrigo on its soundtrack. A few called attention to Chris Olsen, an actor who became famous through TikTok. “I’m sorry @Chris Olsen WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE AND I LOVE IT,” one user commented.

Before the trailer was released, a teaser for the film was shown to audiences at Taylor Swift’s concert movie, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.” Those who saw the teaser said on TikTok that it made it clearer than the trailer that the film was a musical.

The new film was produced by Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels, who also adapted the 2004 film into the Broadway musical, which opened in 2018. After 834 performances, Ms. Fey and Mr. Michaels decided in 2021 not to reopen the show, citing challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. The musical is now on a national tour through May.

The 2004 film, based on the self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabees” by Rosalind Wiseman, was an immediate hit and made $121 million at the global box office. Ms. Wiseman co-wrote the screenplay with Ms. Fey, who also portrayed a teacher in the film.

The plot follows Cady Heron, the daughter of zoologists who are moving back to the United States, and her interactions with and anthropological observations of the popular girls at her school. Initially Cady is welcomed by them, but she makes the mistake of falling in love with Regina’s ex-boyfriend, putting her in Regina’s line of fire.

References from the film — including the lines “On Wednesdays, we wear pink,” “Get in loser, we’re going shopping” and “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen” — have been widely quoted and cited, even nearly 20 years later.

Paramount Pictures has helped the film maintain its staying power beyond its original viewership by posting the entire movie in 23 segments on the company’s TikTok page last month, ensuring younger audiences could watch it for free.

Last week, Walmart released a Black Friday commercial that nodded to the 2004 film, and featured three members of the original cast: Lindsay Lohan, who played Cady; Amanda Seyfried, who played Karen Smith; and Lacey Chabert, who played Gretchen Wieners. Walmart plans to release a “Mean Girls”-themed commercial each Wednesday leading up to Black Friday, and the second one was posted hours after the new trailer was released.

The new movie stars Ms. Rapp as Regina and Angourie Rice as Cady. The other members of Regina’s clique, Gretchen and Karen, are played by Bebe Wood and Avantika Vandanapu.

Ms. Fey, who stars in the film, was not available for comment because of the SAG-AFTRA strike, her publicist, Cara Tripicchio, said in an email.