(Paris) In the family of remakes of cult films and series from the 2000s, ask for Mean Girls: the teenage comedy with feminist overtones written by American comedian Tina Fey returns to the screens 20 years later.
In theaters during the week around the world, the 2024 version is an adaptation of the musical comedy Mean Girls played on Broadway between 2018 and 2020, itself based on the film Mean Girls, of which Lindsay Lohan was the heroine.
The scenario has not changed: after growing up in Africa, a teenager (played by Angourie Rice) joins an American high school and discovers that the law of the jungle reigns there, particularly among other young girls. Infiltrated into the most popular group, “The Plastics” (led by the revelation Reneé Rapp), will she adopt their behavior or will she abolish the hierarchy that divides the students?
Charmed, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Gossip Girl, How I met your Mother (now How I met your Father)… Since the end of the 2010s, remakes of hits from the 1990s and 2000s have multiplied.
Nothing new in Hollywood, where “adaptations have always existed” mainly for economic reasons, but also technological (the transition from silent cinema to talkies, for example), reminds AFP Mehdi Achouche, lecturer in cinema and television English speakers at the University Sorbonne Paris Nord.
“We’ve exploited the 1980s a lot, recently with the series Stranger Things. The producers said to themselves: we just have to do the same thing now with the 1990s,” he continues.
And to play on the “generational aspect”, while children and adolescents from the 2010s-2020s are raised by parents born in the 1980s-90s and have direct access to the classics of previous decades on the internet.
Nostalgia sells, and Mean Girls is expected to gross between $50 million and $105 million in the United States.
Be careful, however, in the face of a “suspicious” public because it is aware of the economic issues, to “really have something new to offer”, warns Mehdi Achouche, who cites as an example the various adaptations of Batman since 2005 and more recently the “reinvention” of the character of the Joker.
Good news for the new Mean Girls, with a much more diverse cast and which incorporates the omnipresence of social networks: musical films are on the rise (Barbie, Wonka, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of the Serpent and the Songbird , released in 2023, or Joker: Folie à deux expected this year).