Launching the careers of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and more, the teen musical rom-com spawned two sequels, including a theatrical release for the third film, which brought in over $250 million worldwide at the box office. An additional spinoff, “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” starring Tisdale, was released straight-to-DVD.
At the time of its premiere on this day in 2006, “High School Musical” marked Disney Channel’s highest-rated telecast with 7.7 million viewers in the states. That record was later broken by the sequel “High School Musical 2,” which brought in 17.3 million viewers in August 2007, topping the original by almost 10 million more viewers, becoming the most-watched TV movie of all time. The film “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” marked the biggest opening day for any musical film at the box office, holding the title until it was topped by “Les Miserables” in 2012.
In 2006, Variety gave “High School Musical” high praise. The first review said, “It’s doubtful that showtunes will ever be cool among teens and tweens, but Disney Channel certainly makes a convincing case for the return of the musical … Featuring an immensely appealing cast and some highly clever, toe-tapping tunes, ‘High School Musical’ should strike the right chord with Mouse fans.”
Since the 2006 TV premiere, Efron has gone onto a successful film career, starring in “17 Again,” “That Awkward Moment” and “Neighbors.” Hudgens, who starred in James Franco’s “Spring Breakers,” “Machete Kills” and starred in Broadway’s “Gigi,” is prepping to play Rizzo in Fox’s live musical event “Grease Live,” which debuts Jan. 31. Tisdale starred on Disney’s “Suite Life with Zack and Cody” and voiced a main character on animated series “Phineas and Ferb.” She is an exec producer on “Young and Hungry,” which has been renewed for Season 3 on Freeform, plus she starred in the short-lived CW series “Hellcats” and “Clipped” on TBS. Corbin Bleu starred in the web revival of long-running soap “One Life to Live,” and has guest starred on “Castle,” “Drop Dead Diva” and “Psych.” Lucas Grabeel stars on “Switched at Birth” and appeared in Sean Penn’s “Milk.” Monique Coleman competed on “Dancing With the Stars” and has guest starred on shows including “Bones and “Stitchers.”
The original six-some will reunite tonight for an anniversary telecast on the Disney Channel. Efron, who’s on a promotional tour for his upcoming comedy “Bad Grandpa,” in which he stars opposite Robert De Niro, will appear on the reunion special in a pre-taped segment. He tweeted a message to his fans, writing, “I have nothing but love for the #HighSchoolMusical cast & fans; wish I could’ve joined the fun in person.”
Here are some more “High School Musical” stats to celebrate the 10th anniversary:
- The premiere telecast delivered 7.7 million viewers in the U.S., which at the time, was the highest-rated Disney Channel telecast
- The soundtrack was the #1 selling album of 2006
- Original “High School Musical” songs, including “We’re All In This Together,” broke onto Billboard’s Hot 100 chart
- “High School Musical” reached over 100 million global viewers in 2006
- “High School Musical” marked the first TV movie to land in iTunes