October 18, 2008

Want to See HSM3 Early? How's Your French?

Quelle scandale!

While hometown Wildcats fans are waiting until next Friday to see High School Musical 3: Senior Year, audiences in France—France!—get the movie on Wednesday.


A dastardly plot by Old Europe to have Zac Efron all to itself—at least for 48 hours?

Uh, no.

For one thing, says Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, movies in France traditionally open on Wednesdays, not Fridays.

For another thing, Troy Bolton is dreamy in any language.

Yes, the HSM franchise, that all-American saga of young love, basketball and jazz hands, just so happens to have a fanatical following overseas.

"The music and the dancing really does travel," Zoradi says. "Music tends to travel really, really well."

And so do the HSM stars, as they and the paparazzi who worked their recent red carpet premieres in Europe could attest.

"The response was just fantastic," Zoradi says. "It was equal to what we've seen in the U.S. here."

Indeed, the first two HSM movies, both produced for and aired on cable, were watched by a combined 550.7 million worldwide, per Disney Channel stats. Viewers in the U.S. only made up about 20 percent of that audience, compared to 35 percent for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Next weekend, HSM3 will make its theatrical debut in more than 20 countries. Like France, the United Kingdom and Scandanavia will be treated to Wednesday launches.

Americans, take heart. The HSM3 crew was back in the continental home of East High for last night's Hollywood premiere.

France may get to experience Efron and company on the big screen earlier, but the States gets them forever.

Until they take off for Japan in about a week or so.

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