High School Musical "Soaring and Flying" to the Big Screen
Disney plans a second sequel for theatrical release
Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens, High School Musical
Before a single frame has been shot for the sequel to the Disney Channel's megahit TV-movie High School Musical
, plans are already under way for a third film. But this one will be for the big screen. Disney has announced plans to have the yet-to-be-titled second sequel premiere in movie theaters by the fourth quarter of 2008. The release will be timed for Halloween and have a story set in a haunted high school, Disney Channel chief Rich Ross told the Biz.
"The bigness of the idea we're working on would require a budget that would far outstrip what we've spent on other Disney Channel movies," said Ross, citing the reason for going the theatrical route first.
Ross said the cast has been alerted of plans to go ahead with a third High School Musical
, but none have been signed as of yet. They will all reprise their roles in High School Musical 2
, which begins production in March.
Disney has plenty of reasons to feel confident that there will be enough of an appetite for HSM
to plan another chapter so far down the road. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Wall Street analysts have been told that High School Musical
will generate a $100 million to the company's operating income over 2006 and 2007.
Shot in Utah with a budget of just over $4 million, HSM
was an immediate hit on the Disney Channel after its Jan. 20, 2006, premiere. It went on to become a worldwide sensation — 100 million people around the world have seen it on television.
The soundtrack was the No. 1 album of the year, selling 6.3 million copies worldwide. The DVD has sold 6.5 million copies around the world. An arena concert tour featuring cast members Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Corbin Bleu sold out its 42 dates. A novelization of the movie, High School Musical: The Novel
, sold 1.2 million copies. Let's not forget theme-park shows, school supplies, a DVD board game and sheet music.
But here's one of the most interesting numbers: This year there will be 2,000 theatrical presentations by schools and other groups around the world. Rather than turn it into a Broadway stage attraction (never say never), Disney's theatrical division has been taking a grassroots approach by licensing the show to theater programs at junior colleges and high schools. Groups pay a nominal fee for the rights, but the real returns are in the explosive demand it creates for the show.
"You've created a movie about kids expressing themselves and being able to break through the status quo to do it," said Ross. "What would be more appropriate than putting this message and content into the hands of kids themselves? We really felt by bringing it into the schools it would grow like a tree."
Make that a money tree.