High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Release Date: October 24, 2008

Movie of the Day for Sunday, August 31, 2008
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Troy and Gabriella. Sharpay and Ryan. Chad and Kelsi. Any tween school-age kid is going to be totally familiar with these names even if you are not. These are the key characters from the first two movies in the High School Musical series. Perhaps you've heard of them. If not (and welcome back from your stay in the underground bomb shelter for the past two years), here's a primer.

When High School Musical (the first one) aired on January 20, 2006, Disney had no idea what it had on its hands. It just slotted it in as a one-and-done little show and figured they could move on to other, better things like Cheetah Girls. It had 7.7 million viewers on that first night on the Disney Channel and they kept on coming back as the show aired again and again. By the time the DVD was released, 36 million people had seen it (with 11 million of those being adults). The soundtrack went triple platinum. And in its first seven days of release, the DVD sold 1.5 million copies, making it the fastest selling television movie of all-time. Disney was somewhat surprised by the success, but quickly moved to create a sequel.

High School Musical 2 was a sensation in its own right. The show's premiere on August 17, 2007 brought in 17.3 million viewers in the United States, which made it the highest-rated basic cable broadcast in history (that record has since been broken, but still). Over the debut weekend, it had 33 million viewers, and The Guardian has stated that 179 people worldwide have seen the movie.

Along with the DVDs and airings on Disney Channel, the movie has spawned a massive amount of merchandise, including dolls, video games, room d├ęcor and much more. Disney is fully aware that this is a cash cow they can consistently milk, and believes that they can really clean up by releasing the next film in the series in theaters. And there's no reason so far to believe that they are wrong.

I'm not going to waste a lot of time telling you what High School Musical is all about. Suffice it to say that teenagers act like teenagers, with the typical competition, romance and goofiness that you might expect. And it's all accompanied by song. Time to play basketball? Let's sing! Budding relationship? Sing sing sing sing sing! What you need to know is that traditionally, Troy and Gabriella have been the cute boy and girl who really, really like each other, Sharpay is kind of the mean girl, and Ryan is her theatrically inclined brother. Chad is a main character, too, but that's probably more for his look than anything else.

In High School Musical 3, the kids will be in their senior year, and of course Troy and Gabriella will be going through all kinds of angst over what will happen to their relationship after graduation. Sharpay will probably be superficial and competitive even though in theory she's learned her lesson in both High School Musical and High School Musical 2. And Ryan, well, we're never totally sure about that kid anyway. The stars will surely appear on numerous tabloid covers and sites like D-Listed, and Disney will find itself in ever so uncomfortable a situation. And High School Musical 3 will make money. Lots and lots of money. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Main Cast Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale
Supporting Cast Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, Jemma McKenzie-Brown, Olesya Rulin
Director Kenny Ortega
Screenwriter Peter Barsocchini
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Screen Count 3,623
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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