Ten years ago today, Mean Girls was bestowed upon the world. And the world was not all that grateful. The film only grossed $24 million on opening weekend and with a total domestic gross of $86 million, is not considered a blockbuster. However, as is the case with most cult films, a flop at the box office is not an indicator of a movie’s popularity over the long haul. In the case of Mean Girls, a so-so reception in theaters was followed by a decade of (mostly internet) adoration, resulting in Mean Girls lingo becoming a standard of the pop culture lexicon.
“It’s the quintessential high school teen movie for the current generation, just like how Clueless and Carrie were for previous generations,” said Emily Huh of Know Your Meme. Released at a time when films geared towards teens were vapid and unimaginative (The Girl Next Door, anyone?), Mean Girls was different. Tina Fey created a story that managed to be both ridiculous and relatable, providing a fresh take on the tired narrative of the popular kids vs. the geeks.
While the plot as a whole remains relevant to today’s youth, it’s the GIFs and memes that are key to keeping the film alive in current pop culture. Perhaps this is the reason for the slow burn of the film’s popularity; At the time of release, the internet was not the incredibly beautiful cesspool that it is today, and there weren’t an abundance of “On Wednesdays, we wear pink!” GIFs being shared. Once a few years passed, Tumblr provided fertile ground for a fandom to bloom.
Case in point: Lindsay Lohan recently created an internet storm of pure joy in February when she reunited with cast mates Rajiv Surendra and Daniel Franzese (who played Kevin G and Damien, respectively), providing proof that despite personal troubles and career missteps, the star of Mean Girls is still adored a decade later. Though this (sadly) was not an indicator of a Mean Girls sequel, we’ll always have the internet to keep Mean Girls at the cultural forefront. You go, Glen Coco/Internet.
Image via YouTube