Paramount’s film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Mean Girls” hit theaters over MLK weekend, fetching mixed reactions from critics and shocking some audiences who were unaware it was a musical. While the $28.7 million 4-day opening topped the box office, reviews have been polarized and awareness of the musical aspect seemed low despite prominent marketing.
Mixed Reviews Praise Performances But Question Necessity
The musical movie scored a mediocre 58% on Rotten Tomatoes though some critics praised the performances. Digital Spy called it “sharp and sly” while Roger Ebert lauded the cast’s “energy and pizzaz.” Most agreed the singing and dancing brought a lively spirit, with The Hollywood Reporter noting the directors “dreamed of casting Harry Styles in a classic role.”
However, many questioned if the world needed another “Mean Girls” adaptation. Slate said it was “reduced, reused, but well recycled” and Salon deemed it “unnecessary but decent.” The Atlantic said it “tries too hard to be hip,” while The LA Times felt it “doesn’t have the teeth to justify its own existence.”
Shocked Audiences React to Unexpected Musical Aspect
Despite prominent billing as a “musical movie event,” many audiences were shocked to find “Mean Girls” was a musical. Videos of confused reactions went viral online, prompting discussions about whether Paramount should have better emphasized the music.
Some fans appreciated the unique take. Louis Staples tweeted the songs gave it “a Mamma Mia vibe that works well.” But others felt duped. Forbes reported that data from Screen Engine/ASI showed only 36% of audiences were aware of the prominent musical aspects beforehand.
Box Office Success but Mixed Overall Awareness
Thanks to strong marketing around its release, “Mean Girls” did big numbers its opening weekend. Variety reported it made $28.7 million over the 4-day MLK frame. While a 56% drop is expected next weekend, the $17 million budget means it should be decently profitable.
But the data indicates awareness of key details was mixed. Only 36% of polled audiences knew it was a musical and just 34% were aware it was adapted from a Broadway show. Women over 25 had the highest awareness levels at 43%. Releases targeting Gen Z like “Mean Girls” may need innovative marketing to convey key aspects.
|Awareness Levels of Key Details
|Adapted from Broadway Show
|Women 25+ Awareness
Critical Response Breakdown
Looking deeper into the Critical response based on the provided review URLs:
- Energetic performances praised
- Cast’s singing and dancing skills lauded
- contingent funny moments and cutting dialogue
- Plot and message felt unoriginal
- Some songs and scenes seen as trying too hard to be hip
- Questionable whether story needed another adaptation
- Reviews good not great, indicating a quality musical but non-essential adaptation
- Shocked musical reactions show marketing’s musical emphasis was not sufficient
- Strong opening box office but mixed awareness suggests an opportunity for more innovative outreach to younger demos
- With mediocre reviews but likely profitability, could spark discussions about focus grouping films vs. creative risk-taking
The movie’s middling reception could limit the long-tail box office, though musical fans may turn out in later weeks once word spreads.
It should enjoy a healthy life post-theatrical release like prior “Mean Girls” iterations. Fey has spoken of potential for a shared universe, which this film could launch.
The film could enjoy cult status on streaming, and studios will study awareness issues regarding marketing films to younger demos. But the mixed reviews and shocked reactions suggest “Mean Girls” may struggle to achieve the cultural imprint of its predecessors.
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