Winter storms and cinema closures in North America did not damper Mean Girls’ opening weekend.
According to studio estimates, the Paramount release, which was adapted from the Broadway musical and the 2004 Tina Fey film, made $28 million in its first three days in theatres on Sunday, January 14.
The Mean Girls competition over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend featured several new releases, including Jason Statham’s action film The Beekeeper and Jay-Z’s biblical satire The Book of Clarence, as well as a slew of awards contenders riding the wave of recent nominations and the Golden Globes.
According to exit surveys, 70 percent of patrons were between the ages of 18 and 34, indicating that it appealed to audiences who were not alive when Regina George was first presented to the globe.
“The property is iconic. Tina Fey is legendary, and her contemporary twist has resonated with audiences, particularly the female audience,” said Chris Aronson, head of Paramount Domestic Distribution.
This incarnation of Mean Girls stars Angourie Rice, Auli’i Cravalho, and Reneé Rap, who plays Regina on stage. It was initially intended to go directly to streaming on Paramount+, but the company changed course following favourable test results. Social media helped spread the word, and Mean Girls spurred groups of friends to go to the movies together. An estimated 40% travelled with two or more buddies.
Fey returns to script and co-star in the new picture, which was directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. and cost an estimated $36 million to make.
Reviews have been mostly good, with a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, but moviegoers gave it a B CinemaScore, which may not auger well for word-of-mouth popularity.
Recent musicals such as Wonka and The Colour Purple scored in the A range. The studio is optimistic after this weekend, however. It also earned $6.5 million in 16 overseas markets.
“It’s no secret that the release calendar is a little light for the first couple of months of the year and because of the reception to this film we stand a chance of broadening this audience. It really is a crowd-pleaser,” Aronson said.
Amazon and MGM’s The Beekeeper debuted in second place, with an estimated $16.8 million from 3,303 theatres. Men accounted for around 62% of ticket purchases, and audiences generally awarded it a B+ CinemaScore.
By the conclusion of the four-day weekend, the studio expects to have earned $19.1 million. Miramax handled the foreign distribution for The Beekeeper, which grossed $20.4 million in 49 nations.