Like, it pays to be popular, you know.
Lindsay Lohan's PG-13 comedy Mean Girls, which centers around the perils of high-school popularity, went to the head of the class this weekend, pulling in $24.4 million.
The catty caper doused Denzel Washington's R-rated Man on Fire, which fell to second place with $15 million, a 34 percent box-office drop since last weekend, according to final figures released Monday.
Penned by Saturday Night Live's head writer, Tina Fey, who also plays a teacher in the flick, Mean Girls has received plenty of critical kudos for its funny stab at the A-list clique (dubbed the Plastics), and now has the box-office bounty to back it up.
The teen movie, which earned $8,606 per site at 2,839 theaters, also broke the box-office record for what is generally considered the, like, totally lame last weekend in April. In fact, it's the weekend's top opening since 1999's Entrapment, which lured $20 million in ticket sales.
Also appealing to the young at heart was 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garner's wishful-thinking fantasy. While the PG-13 offering dropped more than 50 percent from its opening weekend, it placed third this week, averaging $2,860 per 3,453 screens for a $9.9 million take.
Not exactly a popularity blockbuster, but the romantic comedy proved a solid debut for Garner's first star vehicle, grossing $35.1 million thus far. Washington also proved his staying power with $44.3 million in box-office ticket sales over two weeks.
A trio of new entries pushed their way into the next three slots, including the opposites-attract love story clone thriller Godsend ($6.8 million), upscale comedy Laws of Attraction ($6.7 million) and doofus comedy Envy ($6.2 million).
In the shuffle, The Punisher dropped 45 percent down to eighth place in its third week with just $3.5 million. (But costar Rebecca Romijn-Stamos can console herself with a fourth-place finish for Godsend, also graced by the supermodel.
It was a weekend of modest returns, even with the power of Mean Girls. The overall box-office take was $88 million, down about 38 percent compared to the same weekend last year. But the girl-power theme dominating this weekend didn't have the mass appeal of last year's blockbuster movie X2: X-Men United, which brought in $85.5 million.
Here's a rundown of the top 10 films, according to Exhibitor Relations:
1. Mean Girls, $24.4 million
2. Man on Fire, $15 million
3. 13 Going on 30, $9.9 million
4. Godsend, $6.8 million
5. Laws of Attraction, $6.7 million
6. Envy, $6.2 million
7. Kill Bill: Volume 2, $5.9 million
8. The Punisher, $3.5 million
9. Home on the Range, $2.31 million
10. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, $2.29 million
(Originally published May 2, 2004 at 11 a.m.)