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MouseStation 43 - The High School Musical Phenomenon

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In this week's feature, since the sequel debuts in just two days, Mike and Mark spend this show discussing High School Musical.


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The original movie wasn't expected to be anywhere near as successful as it was, but it has now inspired all sorts of spin-off industries:

  • Multiple DVD versions;
  • Multiple soundtrack versions;
  • A concert tour;
  • The concert tour DVD;
  • A licensed high school show script;
  • A touring stage musical;
  • An ice tour;
  • Theme park shows;
  • Foreign-language remakes;
  • A series of books;
  • Video games;
  • Dolls;
  • An Uno game;
  • A Magic 8 ball;
  • Many clothing lines;
  • A themed flat-screen TV;
  • A themed iPod speaker system;
  • and more!

Of course, there's also the synergy. Mike mentioned the episode of "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody" on the Disney Channel from last Sunday where their high school was doing their own version of "High School Musical" where Maddy (Ashley Tisdale) claimed that everybody said that she looked like Sharpay (played by Tisdale in the TV movie), and she did horribly in the audition.

Mark noted the absurdity of a Disney Channel show promoting the stage version of the show, which promotes the TV movie, but the underlying reason is to promote the sequel to the original TV movie.

Mike saw the stage version at the Children's Theater of Minnesota and really liked it. He even thought that it works better on stage than on TV.

When Mark first saw High School Musical, he thought that it was a cute, fun little nothing movie with catchy songs and a nice upbeat, reinforcing message. It was one of the more fun Disney Channel shows that he's watched with his son and wife. He really had no idea that it was going to hit as bit as it did, though.

Mike enjoyed it when he first saw it, as well. He thought is was one of the better Disney Channel original movies, but he didn't realize that it was going to rule the world.

The High School Musical Pep Rally was originally a set-location stage performance at Walt Disney World, but was then turned into a caravan-type show, winding its way through the Disney-MGM Studios (soon to be Disney's Hollywood Studios) and Disney's California Adventure. Both editions of the caravan show will soon be replaced by a new caravan show called "High School Musical 2: School's Out!"

Mike thinks that all of this promotion will kill the brand. Mark agrees that they've been milking it, but ios not sure that they are killing it yet. If there's a quality fall-off with the sequel, or if it's perceived as inferior to the first one, then Mark thinks that there could be serious brand erosion. They're certainly not killing it the way that they did to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, where they ran the game show four nights a week every week until it lost its specialness and nobody cared about watching it any more.

Mark figures that they're going to be careful not to burn it out. It disappeared off of Radio Disney for a while to keep it from burning out, but then they're starting to play it again over the last few weeks, in addition to solo numbers from the movie's stars and the early tracks from the High School Musical 2 soundtrack to help to build anticipation for the premiere on Friday.

Mark things that they're trying to cash in on it for as much as it's worth because they're not sure if it's going to turn in to an evergreen brand like the classic animated features. If it does turn out to have evergreen appeal, then they'll adapt their strategy not to burn through all of the good will up front. For now, though, they're going to get as much as possible out of it before it burns out.

Mike wondered if Ryan was too effeminate for a Disney movie. Mark didn't think that it was too over the top for Disney. He also remarked that, based on his community theater experience, the guys that you find in theater – especially musical theater – are not typically the burly, macho type, with few exceptions. He doesn't think that Ryan will raise eyebrows.

Mike wasn't overly impressed by the preview videos for the songs from the soundtrack, and he thinks that the viewers are in for a letdown. He thinks that the original was a fluke, and that by trying to recreate the lightning in a bottle, Disney is trying too hard and won't be successful this time. While the fanboys and fangirls will love it, it's the rest of the population that will eventually determine the success of the movie.

Mark thought that the songs that he's heard on the radio when listening to Radio Disney with his son were not overly impressive or different. But he's not a great judge because he's 43, not 12.

From watching the High School Musical concert on the Disney Channel, Mike didn't think that it was too great.

For premiere weekend, the movie will be seen three nights in a row (all times EDT, check local listings for schedule in your time zone):

  • Friday, 8 p.m. – High School Musical 2 (standard edition)
  • Saturday, 8 p.m. – High School Musical 2: Wildcat Chat
  • Sunday, 8 p.m. – High School Musical 2: Sing-Along

Mike predicts that the following weekend will feature a Dance-Along version the following weekend.

Mike talked Mark into taking the "Make Your Predictions" quiz on the High School Musical 2 web site. For humor purposes only, here are their answers/predictions:

  1. Mike and Mark both think that Troy will give Gabriella a framed photo of their stage debut on the last day of school. (Mark's second choice was a varsity jacket).
  2. Mike thinks that Sharpay's vanity license plate is "GR8STAR". Mark went with "FABULOUS".
  3. Mike and Mark agree that most of the kids will work in the kitchen.
  4. Mike and Mark also agree that Taylor will get a job in Employee Relations (for better plot resolutions).
  5. Mike thinks that Ryan will get a crush on Kelsi. Mark thinks that it could either be Kelsi or Martha. (After all, Martha is a dancer.)
  6. Mike and Mark have no idea and really don't care whether Troy considers shooting hoops with the Comets, Red Hawks, Rockets or Lancers.
  7. Mike and Mark both think that Gabriella will lead water aerobics.
  8. Mike and Mark also agree that Troy's show-stopping talent show debut will be "You Are the Music in Me".
  9. Mike thinks that the winner of the Star Dazzle Award will be Ryan. Mark has no idea, but went with Gabriella.
  10. Mike and Mark agree that Troy and Gabriella will finally kiss in the movie.

Mike told Mark that he needed to watch it three times this weekend. Mark argued that he only had to watch it once, explaining that he got a discount because he's 43.

So what do you think of High School Musical? What are your expectations going in, and what do you think after you see it? Let us know by sending an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278) and let us know what you think!

Wrapping up

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).