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Mean Girls exec reveals reason film remake wasn’t marketed as a musical

Paramount’s president of global marketing has admitted the studio chose not to explicitly market its new Mean Girls remake as a musical because they didn’t want to “turn off audiences”.

The latest box office triumph sees Reneé Rapp reprise her Broadway role of Regina George alongside The Last Thing He Told Me’s Angourie Rice as Cady Heron.

Following its debut in cinemas on Friday (12 January), several audience members took to social media to express their disappointment in finding out the new film wasn’t a direct remake of the 2004 comedy classic but instead an adaptation of Tina Fey’s Broadway musical.

According to Paramount’s Marc Weinstock, the decision to avoid marketing it as a musical was intentional.

“We didn’t want to run out and say it’s a musical because people tend to treat musicals differently,” he told Variety.

“To start off saying musical, musical, musical, you have the potential to turn off audiences,” he said. “I want everybody to be equally excited.”

Weinstock continued: “This movie is a broad comedy with music. Yes, it could be considered a musical but it appeals to a larger audience.

Cast of the new musical version of ‘Mean Girls’ (Alamy)
Cast of the new musical version of ‘Mean Girls’ (Alamy)

“You can see in [trailers for] Wonka and The Color Purple, they don’t say musical either,” he argued, adding that “we have a musical note on the title, so there are hints to it without being overbearing”.

When confronted with fan disappointment about the film’s world premiere happening on a Monday rather than a Wednesday, Weinstock explained: “That was due to talent availability. It’s a boring answer.”

One of the most famous quotes from the original Lindsay Lohan-led Mean Girls, uttered by Amanda Seyfried’s Karen Smith, was: “On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”

While the new movie debuted with an impressive $33m at the box office, it has divided critics, with The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey calling it “an unsatisfying, culturally irrelevant musical rehash of a teen classic” in her two-star review.

“Most of the cast buckle under the expectation of replicating the steel-cut comedic timing of the original film’s stars,” Loughrey wrote, “while the musical numbers are sunk by what seems like a tight budget.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times’s Manohla Dargis was a bit kinder. “It’s not especially tart and is undeniably over-padded, but its charms and ingratiating likability remain intact,” she wrote.

Mean Girls is in US cinemas now. It will be released in UK cinemas on Wednesday (17 January).