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Monday, August 20, 2007

"High School Musical 2" Aces Summer Test.


Monday August 20, 2007
from Variety
By Rick Kissell and Michael Schneider

17.2 MILLION VIEWERS TUNE IN TO DISNEY TELECAST

Hollywood’s biggest movie draw to close out the season is a sequel -- on television.

Disney Channel averaged a whopping 17.2 million viewers for its premiere of “High School Musical 2” on Friday night, making it the most-watched basic-cable telecast on record.

The average audience for the premiere Friday, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, makes it well more than double the 7.7 million who tuned in for the premiere of the original telepic in January 2006.

Of course, the original pic became a phenomenon, with millions of kids and tweens watching it multiple times over the last 19 months, helping build anticipation for its sequel to a fever-pitch. Disney also picked a great date for the weekend launch of the second pic, timed to the when youngsters were prepping for the return to school as well as the start of the summer cool-down at the box office.

“This was our Super Bowl,” Gary Marsh of the Disney Channel said. “I think we have officially crossed the line from ‘High School Musical’ the movie to ‘High School Musical’ the mania.” {Continued click READ MORE below}


And as big as the numbers are, no one will ever really know how many viewers actually caught “HSM2,” as countless viewing parties across the country put large groups of kids (and their parents) in front of the same set.

Disney-ABC Television Group prexy Anne Sweeney also had reason to smile Saturday.
“It’s very rare in our industry to catch lightning in a bottle creatively, but to do so twice in a row is almost unheard of,” Sweeney said.

“Their efforts have delivered a new important franchise for The Walt Disney Company, and a cultural touchstone for millions of kids and tweens around the world.”

Although Disney Channel doesn’t air commercials, the “High School Musical” phenomenon has already poured $100 million into Disney’s operating income, and has created a ripple effect -- impacting every division, from international channels and home entertainment to theme parks, licensing and merchandising.

More than 170 million viewers worldwide watched the original movie, which has also sold 7.8 million DVDs globally. The first soundtrack also clocked sales of 7 million across the world.

The success of “High School Musical” rounds out what has been a big summer for cable -- and Marsh said broadcasters will have to sit up and notice after looking at these numbers.

“If there wasn’t a wakeup call being sounded before, this was the clarion bell,” he said. “The networks have buried their heads in the sand for a long time. But cable is gaining the attention of audiences everywhere.”

Disney Channel execs were given a hint a few weeks ago that the demand for “HSM2” was pent-up: The 21st run of the first “High School Musical” pulled in 5.8 million viewers in late July.

Marsh said he’s received friendly emails from rivals at Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, one of whom jokingly referred to the telecast as their “Black Friday.” The “High School Musical” franchise is just one part of Disney Channel’s rise as a tween powerhouse, thanks also to series such as “Hannah Montana,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and earlier than that, “That’s So Raven.”

“It’s an overnight success that’s taken five years to achieve,” Marsh said. “A few years back we went after the tween audience that we felt had been ignored. It was a vacuum we decided to fill, with live action shows that represented the hopes and dreams of kids.”

Next up for the franchise, “High School Musical 3” is in the works as a theatrical release. Even though it won’t bow on the Disney Channel, Marsh said they’re still heavily involved in the film’s development and strategy.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117970479.htm

Source: beej from hollybeej, variety


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