With one week to go beforeUniversal's Van Helsing kicks off the summer season, Paramount's high schoolsatire Mean Girls strutted its stuff in fine style, opening top on anunexpectedly high estimated $25m.

The strong bow shunted 20thCentury Fox/New Regency's Man On Fire into second place and eclipseddisappointing debuts by New Line's Line's Laws Of Attraction in fourth on $7m,Lions Gate's Godsend in fifth on $6.9m and Dreamworks' Envy in sixth on $6.1m.

The delightfully irreverentMean Girls sees rising star Lindsay Lohan (Confessions Of A Teenage DramaQueen, Freaky Friday) play a new girl at high school who falls in with a cliqueof spiteful brats. It averaged $8,805 from 2,839 sites on the back of superbreviews.

It was Paramount's secondbiggest opening in almost two years behind The Sum Of All fears, which toppedthe charts on $31.2m.in June 2002.

Rachel McAdams, LaceyChabert and Amy Poehler also star in the picture, which was directed by MarkWaters based on a screenplay by Saturday Night Live head writer Tina Fey.

Man On Fire added $15.2m inits second week for a strong $44.5m running total, while Sony's 13 Going On 30slipped one place to third on $10m for $35.2m in its second week. Miramax'sKill Vol 2 tumbled four to seventh on $5.8m for $52.6m in its third week.

The oldest picture in whatis a relatively fresh-faced top 10, Warner Bros' Scooby-Doo 2: MonstersUnleashed, slipped three to tenth on $2.2m for $79.5m in its sixth week onrelease.

In the romantic comedy Lawsof Attraction, Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore star as a pair of divorcelawyers who embark upon a fateful marriage. Peter Howitt's picture receivedmostly poor reviews and averaged $2,858 from 2,449 sites.

Godsend pairs Greg Kinnearand Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as grieving parents who turn to a cloning expert(Robert De Niro) to bring their eight-year-old son back to life. Directed byNick Hamm, the thriller received dire reviews and averaged $2,970 from 2,323sites.

The knives were also out forEnvy, Barry Levinson's comedy that stars Ben Stiller as a man who growsincreasingly jealous when his friend and neighbour Jack Black invents aningenious device to vapourise dog faeces. It averaged $2,494 from 2,445 sites.

Next weekend sees the startof the summer season with Universal's fantasy adventure tale Van Helsing, starringHugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. Other wide releases include Warner Bros'comedy New York Minute, which stars the teenage Olsen twins Mary-Kate andAshley.

Estimated Top Ten US Apr 30-May 2 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Mean Girls (Paramount) UIP $25m -
2 (1) Man On Fire (Fox/New Regency) Fox International $15.2m $44.5m
3 (2) 13 Going On 30 (Columbia/Revolution)CTFDI $10m $35.2m
4 (-) Laws of Attraction (New Line) NLI $7m -
5 (-) Godsend (Lions Gate) LionsGate International $6.9m -
6 (-) Envy (Dreamworks) CTFDI $6.1m -
7 (3) Kill Bill Vol 1 (Miramax) BVI $5.8m $52.6m

8 (4) The Punisher (LionsGate) Columbia TriStar $3.4m $29.6m
9 (5) Home On The Range (BuenaVista) BVI $2.2m $45.5m
10(7) Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (WarnerBros) Warner Bros Intl $2.2m $79.5m