Billy Bob Thornton's 'Bad Santa 2' Lands 'Mean Girls' Director (Exclusive)

Mark Waters as Director of Bad Santa 2 - P 2015
Courtesy of Getty Images

Mark Waters has come aboard to direct the sequel for Broad Green and Miramax, while original castmembers Tony Cox and Brett Kelly have closed deals to return alongside Thornton.

Mark Waters is getting in the holiday spirit.

The Mean Girls and Freaky Friday filmmaker will direct Bad Santa 2, the sequel to the 2003 raucous comedy that grossed $76.5 million at the global box office. Broad Green Pictures announced last week it has come aboard to co-finance and co-produce the movie alongside Miramax, with Billy Bob Thornton returning in the title role (the actor has long wanted to make the follow-up).

In addition to the news about Waters, original castmembers Tony Cox and Brett Kelly have closed deals to return. Broad Green will release Bad Santa 2 in the U.S. during the year-end holidays in 2016. Sierra/Affinity is representing international rights and will introduce the project to foreign buyers at the American Film Market this week.

Bad Santa 2 is being fast-tracked, with Waters set to start shooting in January from a script by Johnny Rosenthal, Doug Ellin (Entourage) and Shauna Cross (If I Stay). The sequel, whose producers include Geyer Kosinski, is currently out to a female lead.

In 2004, Mean Girls quickly turned into a hit, grossing $86.1 million domestically and $129 million worldwide. The comedy starred Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey and Rachel McAdams. A year earlier, Freaky Friday, starring Lohan opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, scored with $160.8 million globally. Waters was last in theaters with Vampire Academy and Mr. Popper's Penguins, starring Jim Carrey.

Waters is represented by CAA and Kleinberg Lange. Cox is repped by Industry Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman; Kelly, by Osbrink Talent Agency.