Fifteen years ago, in 2004, Britney Spears was a pop queen, Facebook was a new concept, “Nokias” were still a thing, and on April 30, “Mean Girls” came out in theaters for the first time, changing the face of pop culture for years to come. In honor of the movie’s 15th birthday, we’ll take a look back at how “Mean Girls” started out and how the cult classic continues to stay relevant.
During its theatrical run, the movie grossed $130 million and gave a number of actors a boost on the big screen. Lindsay Lohan obviously garnered a lot of attention in her role as the main character, Cady Heron, although she originally auditioned for the role of Regina George. It was because of her role in “Freaky Friday” that Paramount decided her audience would respond to her better as a naive, homeschooled transfer than as the original plastic queen.
Coincidentally, Rachel McAdams was originally considered for the role of Cady before being cast as Regina. Because she was 24 at the time, producers thought she was a little too old to accurately portray the fresh, innocent, relatable Cady.
In addition to helping McAdams and Lohan establish their careers, “Mean Girls” was Amanda Seyfried’s first movie. Although she too was considered for Regina’s part, she was delegated to the role of Karen. This isn’t to say that Karen’s character wasn’t also in hot demand: Scarlett Johansson and Ashley Tisdale were both considered to play ditzy, why-are-you-white Karen.
When the movie first came out, it wasn’t originally expected to perform so well, but Tina Fey’s script, adapted from the self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” while exaggerated, was very relatable to the superfan base that emerged largely from a demographic of teenage girls. Since this initial success, the movie has become so widely watched that everybody recognizes iconic lines. Everyone who sits through calculus classes can take secret pleasure when answering a question in which “the limit does not exist,” in almost any context “you go” can be followed by “Glen Coco” and even the Obama’s White House once tweeted a picture of a dog with a ball in its mouth next to the caption, “Stop trying to make fetch happen.”
Besides the long-lasting culture of memes and quotes that “Mean Girls” left us with, there have been a number of adaptations and spin-offs based on the original film.
The “Mean Girls” musical first showed in Washington D.C. in the National Theater in 2017 before moving to Broadway in 2018, where it was nominated for 12 Tonys.
In 2011, “Mean Girls 2” came out. Like most sequels, this movie was largely a flop, featuring only Tim Meadows (Principal Duvall) from the first film and none of the other original actors.
Besides these official adaptations, fans continue to keep traditions alive, as on Oct. 3, which has been designated “Mean Girls” Day, based on a line from the movie in which Cady reminisces on her meaningless interactions with her crush, Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett): “On Oct. 3, he asked me what day it was.”
While Oct. 3 is a great day to celebrate by wearing pink or watching the flick with a bowl of popcorn, the film’s 15th anniversary is also an excuse to send your friends some “she doesn’t even go here” memes and knock off studying for a couple of hours to remember why you’re glad you’re not in high school anymore.
If you’re looking to watch the movie on its birthday, it will be available to users on HBO and available to rent on YouTube, Amazon, iTunes or Google Play.
Alex Houdeshell is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.