Prophecy: High School Musical 3

By BOP Staff

October 17, 2008

Don't worry parents, their relationship is *totally* platonic.

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Scott Lumley: Dear god. Who watches these things?

I understand there's an audience out there, but did we really need a third one? (The cold hard answer to that is, "Of course we do. We're Hollywood. If it's profitable and requires little effort, it will get made.")

At any rate, I see this opening in the $35 million range, and coasting with moderately strong legs to $100 million, possibly more. The audience is obviously there for these films, and they're insanely profitable.

Hell, if Mamma Mia! can make $500 million worldwide, this will do at least $250 million.

David Mumpower: Other than Les Winan's "I know nothing about this so I'll shoot the moon" prediction, I generally agree with most of what has been said here. At the end of the day, the two most direct comparisons are Sex and the City and The Simpsons Movie. Prior to those two releases, there wasn't much precedent for a free (Sex and the City has been free on TBS for a while now) television program making a spectacular theatrical debut. The X-Files movie, Fight the Future (but definitely not I Want to Believe), was a solid performer for its time frame, but High School Musical just feels...bigger.


This more of an event film, sort of what Grease 2 would be were it released as a sequel 30 years later rather than some motorcyle luau nonsense early 1980s release. 250 million people have watched a High School Musical movie. How many of those are willing to debate it is the (hundreds of) million(s) dollar question. I'm inclined to believe that it doesn't sell as many tickets as The Simpsons Movie,a title that had even more ubiquity. Combining that premise with the knowledge that a good portion of the tickets sold will be at children's discount rates, that brings it down into the Sex and the City range in my estimation. I think it opens in the low-to-mid-$50 millions area. And it's certainly possible we are all overshooting this one. I doubt it goes far beyond what everyone (but Les) is saying, though. That would require a perfect storm of movie marketing and under-18 attendance. At the moment, I think it's leggy enough to earn $150 million. $200 million is a possibility.

Calvin Trager: One of the things we haven't mentioned as a significant variable in this discussion is how wide of an opening HSM3 is given. Any thoughts on that? My estimate assumes 3,200 - 3,600 screens. I also want to continue to address the potential appeal of this property, because it seems like with our staff demo we might have a big blind spot about it. I think naturally there will be a lot of matinee action, but from full families - including the dads, including the brothers. To me that evokes Ice Age 2. To refresh your recollection, Ice Age 2 did $17,000 per screen on 4,000 screens opening in late March 2006. I think it provides a good bellweather as a known entity with full family appeal, and it's probably fair to say that Ice Age 2 did "most" of its business through matinees. David, if I plug HSM3 into the same model, ignoring inflation to be conservative and accounting for fewer screens, I get an opening in your range of mid $50s. What I believe HSM3 has going for it that Ice Age 2 surely did not is older teen appeal. I believe evening showings have a good chance to attract the age 16-20 demo in groups. And so, I'm back to my $70 million figure pretty easily.

Kim Hollis: And as a note on the theater count topic, I'm seeing that 3,400+ venues are planned. This will certainly give everyone who wants to see the film ample opportunity to do so, but as Max noted earlier, it does not create the same sense of urgency that Miley Cyrus had earlier this year.

Tim Briody: Right, based on the theater estimates that are being reported, I could see $75-80 million and a ton of repeat business opening weekend, followed by a cliff dive where it's out of the top ten by week three.

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