Dear Paramount: Stop Trying to Make TikTok Movies Happen, They’re Not Going to Happen

Dear Paramount: Stop Trying to Make TikTok Movies Happen, They’re Not Going to Happen

On October 3, I asked my editor what day it was. “It’s October 3,” he replied. October 3 has been crowned “Mean Girls Day” in reference to a scene in the hit 2004 teen comedy. To celebrate, Paramount has made the decision to upload the entire movie to TikTok in 23 parts, in a classic “how do you do fellow kids?” fashion.

The studio uploaded the movie to the official Mean Girls TikTok account today, just in case you’re interested in watching a nearly 20-year-old movie in chunks anywhere from two to seven minutes long. As noted by Variety, the movie is also available to stream in its entirety on Paramount+.

Paramount’s decision to upload the film to TikTok likely speaks to an attempt to cash in on a larger trend of entire movies or episodes of TV being uploaded to the platform. These clips are almost always devoid of the title of the program and/or are uploaded out of order to engage commenters to interact with the plot. The trend has even evolved to include posts to Reddit’s r/AmITheAsshole read off with robotic voice-over clips of a video game like Minecraft. These tactics see these kinds of videos getting massive engagement and virality on TikTok, something Paramount is likely trying to target with Mean Girls, which has in itself become a highly-quotable and memed movie.

The buck doesn’t stop there, however, as Paramount’s social media campaign for the movie could be a sneaky way to rip off some writers. Writers Guild of America member and strike captain Van Robichaux posted to Twitter (now known as X) that uploading the movie onto TikTok is a sneaky tactic that may allow studios to leap through a loophole in the WGA’s collective bargaining agreement. The WGA ended a nearly five-month-long strike against studios at the end of September, during which streaming residuals was one of the top issues.

“If they posted the whole movie in one post they’d have to pay a residual to the cast & writer & director,” Robichaux tweeted today. “By breaking it into short chunks, even still posting it all, they can abuse a contract loophole intended for playing clips on talk shows.”

WGA did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for confirmation.

At best, Paramount is pulling a shameless plug to go viral. Mean Girls has already been the centre of a viral campaign, with video references to the film’s Halloween costume monologue showing up every October. It’s cringey, but hardly anything groundbreaking—looking at you DuoLingo. At worst, however, Paramount is knowingly ripping off the people that made Mean Girls the meme-able sensation it is today.

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