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Monday August 20, 2007 2:37 pm

Disney’s Musical Scores Big

Posted by K.C. Morgan Categories: Music, Prime Time, Cable, Ratings,

High School MusicalIt would be almost impossible to count the number of TV movies the Disney Channel has premiered. From Halloweentown to Surf Girls, Disney knows how to appeal to the tween and teen set. But even this huge, money-making cable channel couldn’t predict the runaway success of High School Musical, which drew more than 6 million viewers the second time it aired. The soundtrack became a number one album, and the DVD sales went through the roof. Disney did what any cable network would have done – they ordered a sequel.

High School Musical 2 dominated Disney all weekend, airing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And this time, Disney’s original movie set a viewership record. No less than 17.24 million viewers tuned in to see the sequel of the much-loved musical flick. Seventeen million – those numbers are even better than last season’s American Idol, the number one network show. With this amount of watchers, Disney’s movie became the most-watched cable broadcast of all time. The original Musical has already been viewed by more than 200 million in 100 different countries.

On Saturday, I decided to see what all this hype was about. I went to the video store and rented their only remaining copy of High School Musical, then sat down on my couch to find out what all the fuss is about. I was prepared to keep my nose turned up. After all, it’s just another Disney movie, right?

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But, I must admit, the Grease-like charm of the flick won me over right away, and for once Disney’s original compositions were quite catchy and singable. I was right there with the movie right up to the end. Then, shock and dismay. I stared at my screen in confusion. Wait a second. Did Disney seriously just make a movie about a High School Musical…and then not even show the actual musical from the title? How did this become such a phenomenon?
Then, I watched it again. Though the title felt a little misleading, at its core the movie is about trying new things, accepting others, and finding true friendship. Not a bad message for the tween-teen set, right? I went on to watch High School Musical 2, convinced that Disney would be unable to capture the fun spirit of the first film.

The main cast of the first movie returned for the sequel, including leading stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens and the villainous Ashley Tisdale. This time, the group finds themselves at a country club, in a summer that tests all loyalties and the bonds forged in the first flick. The music, the spirit, and the feeling were all classic Disney, and true to the magic that made the first film such a hit. By the way – the movie became the most-watched Friday telecast in five years.

Want more Musical? Don’t worry, the Disney machine is already working on a third installment, to be released in 2008.



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