There’s a new queen bee at the box office. Paramount’s “Mean Girls” musical ruled over the competition with $32 million during the four-day holiday weekend.
Thanks to enduring love for the original 2004 film, an insanely quotable touchstone that turned Oct. 3 into a national holiday, “Mean Girls” is proving the Plastics are still box office draws. The movie musical cost $36 million and was initially commissioned for Paramount+ before enthusiastic test screenings convinced the studio to release it on the big screen.
Ticket buyers gave the film a mixed “B+” CinemaScore, which is possibly because some moviegoers didn’t realize it was a musical. (Paramount intentionally downplayed the song and dance aspect in promotional materials.) Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. directed “Mean Girls,” based on the Broadway version of the 2004 movie. Tina Fey returned to write the screenplay, which has a Gen Z polish but remains faithful to the original story about Cady Heron (Angourie Rice takes over the role from Lindsay Lohan, while Renee Rapp takes on Regina George), who returns to the U.S. from Africa and navigates the terrifying jungle of high school.
“The Beekeeper,” an action thriller directed by David Ayer, opened in second place with an impressive $16.8 million over the weekend and an estimated $19.1 million through Monday. It also opened internationally with $20.4 million from 49 territories for a worldwide tally of $39.1 million.
Moviegoers were more receptive than critics to “The Beekeeper,” which landed a “B+” CinemaScore and 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. Jason Statham stars in the film as Adam Clay, a former operative who sets out to exact revenge after his friend falls for a ruinous phishing scam and dies by suicide. Miramax produced and financed the film, so Amazon MGM (which acquired North American rights) is only on the hook for the cost of booking the movie in domestic theaters.
“This is a strong opening for a new action thriller,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research and believes “The Beekeeper” will be a bigger draw overseas. “Action thrillers perform best in the international markets, and Jason Statham is an established action star throughout the world.”
The weekend’s other new release couldn’t make fetch happen. Sony’s biblical satire “The Book of Clarence” collapsed in ninth place with $3.1 million between Friday and Monday. It’s a terrible start for the film, which carries a $40 million price tag and requires a modest turnout to justify its budget.
Directed by Jeymes Samuel and starring LaKeith Stanfield, “The Book of Clarence” follows a down-on-his-luck man who tries to capitalize on the rise of Jesus Christ by claiming to be a new Messiah sent by God. Ticket sales may struggle to rebound at the international box office. “The comedy and subject matter are a difficult sell abroad,” says Gross.
Several holiday holdovers rounded out box office charts. “Wonka,” a fantasy musical starring Timothée Chalamet as the eccentric fictional chocolatier, claimed third place with $11 million through the four-day frame. The film has been a sweet treat for Warner Bros. and movie theater owners alike, with a healthy $178 million in North America and a sizable $475 million globally to date.
Sony’s R-rated comedy “Anyone but You” landed at the No. 4 spot with $8.5 million over the long weekend. The film, which cost $25 million and stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, has rebounded nicely after starting slow at the box office. It has generated $48 million domestically and $70 million worldwide.
Universal and Illumination’s animated comedy “Migration” glided to fifth place with $6.1 million over the weekend and $8.3 million through Monday. The movie, which was released around Christmas, ended up having legs and has collected $87.8 million in North America and $172 million globally.
More to come…