The official trailer for the Mean Girls movie dropped yesterday (I guess Wednesdays are for pink and new trailers) and made quite the impression. While some fans absolutely fawned over it, others felt personally victimized by the remake. As an avid fan of the original, my opinions fall somewhere in the middle. If I’m honest, it was a great trailer, but there’s one thing that’s totally bothering me: Where’s the music?
If you eat, sleep, and breathe popular culture, you’re probably aware that the 2024 version of Mean Girls isn’t a reboot or a remake. It’s actually an adaptation of the stage musical penned by Tina Fey with music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. But if you didn’t know that, you probably watched yesterday’s trailer and asked yourself, “Isn’t it too soon for a reboot?” At least, that’s what seemed to happen on social media as people flocked to tweet their opinions:
Based on the trailer alone, the movie does look like a reboot. It’s nearly shot for shot to the original with a new crop of popular young adult actors taking on the iconic roles making up the Mean Girls musical cast. It even features Fey and Tim Meadows reprising their roles as Ms. Norbury and Principal Duvall.
What seems to be missing in the trailer is the grand musical numbers that would have made it clear that this is an adaptation of the stage musical, not a Gen-Z remake of the movie. There are 25 original songs in the production that they could have chosen to showcase, and yet they didn’t feature a single one. There’s not even a hint that this is a musical, which is what has so many people confused.
Not only does it seem like an intentional mislead, but it’s also a massive shame. A trailer is supposed to grab people’s attention and make them flock to the theaters. Showing a clip of Reneé Rap, who is reprising her Regina George Broadway role, belting out “World Burn” would have set the internet ablaze in the right way. But no, all we got was an introduction to characters we already knew.
Mean Girls isn’t the only movie to completely ignore the musical elements of the plot. Wonka, one of the most anticipated new movies of 2023, has also failed to promote the musical moments in its slew of trailers. Though to be fair, it seems like everyone in Timothée Chalamet-led film is unsure of what to call it. Director Paul King told Total Film that he sees it as “more like a movie with songs than a musical.” Some noticed this parallel and posted about it:
So, what gives? Are the studios afraid promoting these movies as musicals is going to drive away viewers? Despite what Hollywood might think, moviegoers likely don’t want to see the same old stories over and over again. They want something original. Taking classic movies and characters and turning them into musicals is original, but if they’re not advertised as such, people think they’re just another shameless reboot.
However, Mean Girls still has time to release clips that actually showcase the musical elements. After all, it won’t be hitting theaters until January 12, 2024, making it one of the first movies of the 2024 schedule. Until then, you can stream the original movie with a Paramount+ subscription. You can also catch part of the original cast in a series of Walmart advertisements for Black Friday.