Today in a press release, Disney announced that a large casting call was underway for new for a planned Disney Channel Original Movie with an unoriginal title: High School Musical 4. Even though it has been 10 years since the original movie aired and only one month since the stars of that movie came together for their 10-year anniversary, clearly, there is still a lot of interest in East High, the fictional school featured in the films.
Casting directors from LaPadura/Hart/Patterson, announced a nationwide casting call today looking for both new East High Wildcats, and for the first time, their cross-town school rivals, West High Knights. Information regarding the casting will be posted soon at DisneyChannel.com/opencall.
At this early stage of the game, no storyline, premiere date or information on if any of the previous stars will be make cameo appearances has been announced. However, it has been reported that Dan Berendsen (executive producer of the show Baby Daddy seen on Freeform and writer for numerous other Disney Channel projects) will be writing the screenplay along with Peter Barsocchini who wrote the scripts for the three previous film. Executive producers for the film will once again be Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush.
Unlike the previous films, High School Musical 4 will not be directed by Kenny Ortega as he is busy working on the network’s sequel to Descendants. Instead, Jeffrey Hornaday, no stranger to the Disney Channel, will be taking the reins. Hornady directed both Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach Movie 2.
It may seem strange and/or unnecessary for a 4th installment of the franchise, but given its track record, it is poised to become just as successful as the earlier films. Disney took a chance when it first aired the original High School Musical on January 20, 2006, but the network was pleasantly surprised when it brought in 7.7 million total viewers making it the highest ratings the network ever experienced up until that point. It was also the first TV movie to have a soundtrack to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart as well as the #1 album of 2006. Of course, the movie also help turn Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman into stars with their images plastered on everything from notebooks to t-shirts.
High School Musical 2 actually surpassed the first movie’s numbers to 18.6 million viewers in 2007. It’s soundtrack is triple Platinum and DVD sales of the movie was the studio’s top-selling TV property. The third High School Musical bypassed TV and went straight to the big screen in October of 2008, but it too was a marvel becoming the highest debut ever for a musical and live-action G-rated movie. It made over $250 million in box office sales.
It wasn’t long before amateur productions of the movies made its way into student high school drama programs. And it wasn’t just the viewers who liked these films. The critics praised the films as well. The original High School Musical received two Emmy Awards, the Television Critics Association Award, an Imagen Award, a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack of the Year, an American Music Award and a Producer’s Guild of America award.
In January, Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a recent press release, “Seeing the cast of High School Musical back together again reaffirms what made it special 10 years ago. It’s their optimism, their dedication and their extraordinary talent—as a group—that made this such an exceptional movie and cultural phenomenon. Ten years later, the movie continues to delight audiences around the globe, not just for its memorable song and dance numbers, but for its universal themes that continue to resonate with fans everywhere – express yourself, believe in yourself and always follow your dreams.”
[Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images]