Disney's phenomenally successful "High School Musical" franchise will graduate to the big screen in 2008 with Haunted High School Musical, an all-new musical adventure, it was announced today by Oren Aviv, president of production for the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. The original High School Musical, an Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered in 2006, went on to reach over 100 million unique viewers worldwide. In the U.S., the movie's soundtrack was the #1 album of the year in 2006 (certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA) and is a top-seller in international territories. Additionally, 6.5 million DVD units have been sold to date around the world. The success of the movie led to a sold-out 42-date arena concert tour featuring cast members Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, and special guest star Drew Seeley (Zac Efron was unavailable due to his movie production schedule). Additionally, Disney Theatrical has licensed the script for local school productions, and it is anticipated that 2000 schools will produce stage versions in the first year alone. High School Musical 2, reuniting the film's original cast with director Kenny Ortega, will premiere on Disney Channel this summer.
Commenting on the announcement, Aviv said, "Given the enormous universal appeal and phenomenal popularity of the 'High School Musical' franchise, we wanted to bring that same energy, excitement and entertainment to the big screen with a unique and original idea. We're now ready to transform 'High School Musical' into a memorable theatrical musical experience with Haunted High School Musical.
Rich Ross, president, Disney Channel Worldwide, added, "When people think 'big screen' for a TV movie, they generally don't think this big - but no plasma TV could contain our plans for 'High School Musical 3,' thanks to the Walt Disney Studios."
Gary Marsh, president, entertainment, Disney Channel Worldwide, commented, High School Musical exploded off the TV screen and into the lives of kids and families everywhere. It skyrocketed to heights never before achieved by a TV movie, so it's only fitting that its next incarnation should be as a major motion picture. Now, millions of kids and families can 'get their heads in the game' one more time -- and continue to experience this cultural phenomenon."
High School Musical premiered on Disney Channel on January 20th, 2006, and went on to become the highest rated original movie up until that time. It won the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Children's Programming, and received two Emmy Awards (of its total 6 nominations), a DGA Award, and an Imagen Award for Best Children's Program, and a Humanitas Prize nomination. The soundtrack received a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack of the Year, and was nominated for an American Music Award in the Favorite Album (Pop/Rock) category. The film even earned an entry in the Guinness World Record Book as the first TV movie to deliver nine concurrent singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Internationally, High School Musical has aired on Disney Channels (26 worldwide) and free-to-air broadcasters, reaching over 100 countries. For the September 2006 premiere in India, the music was re-recorded in Hindi with Indian instrumentation and more rhythmic beats to achieve a "Bollywood" sound.
Adding to its success, High School Musical has spawned a #1 New York Times bestseller - "High School Musical - The Novel," which has sold over 1.2 million copies. "High School Musical" was also the first TV movie to be offered on the iTunes Music Store. "High School Musical" themed shows have also proven to be popular at the Disney Theme Parks and Resorts, including Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and an upcoming production at Disneyland Paris.