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Disney's 'Haunted High School Musical' to be released in theatres in 2008

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MUMBAI: Walt Disney Motion Pictures president of production Oren Aviv has announced that the High School Musical franchise will hit the big screen in 2008 with a musical feature titled Haunted High School Musical.

The Disney musical has received global recognition and has become a phenomenon among youngsters across the world. Aviv states, "Given the enormous universal appeal and phenomenal popularity of the 'High School Musical' franchise, we wanted to bring that same energy, excitement and entertainment to the big screen with a unique and original idea. We're now ready to transform 'High School Musical' into a memorable theatrical musical experience with 'Haunted High School Musical."

The Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel original movie premiered in 2006 and went on to reach over 100 million viewers worldwide. In the U.S. the movie's soundtrack was the No. 1 album of the year in 2006 (certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA) and is a top-seller in international territories. Additionally, 6.5 million DVD units have been sold to date around the world, states the company.

High School Musical 2, reuniting the film's original cast with director Kenny Ortega, will premiere on Disney Channel this summer.

As a take off from the movie, the 42-date arena concert tour featuring cast members Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman and special guest star Drew Seeley (Zac Efron was unavailable due to his movie production schedule) was sold-out. Additionally, Disney Theatrical has licensed the script for local school productions, and it is anticipated that 2000 schools will produce stage versions in the first year alone.

Internationally the High School Musical aired on Disney Channels (26 worldwide) and free-to-air broadcasters, reaching over 100 countries. For the September 2006 premiere in India, the music was re-recorded in Hindi with Indian instrumentation and rhythmic beats to achieve a "Bollywood" sound.

In India the HSM phenomenon spread to a multi-city on ground activity tilted 'My School Rocks,' giving an opportunity to twinkle toed kiddies from across the country to represent their schools by auditioning to the music of the local adaptation of the musical.

Disney Channel Worldwide president Rich Ross stated, "When people think 'big screen' for a TV movie, they generally don't think this big - but no plasma TV could contain our plans for 'High School Musical 3,' thanks to the Walt Disney Studios."

Disney Channel Worldwide president - entertainment Gary Marsh commented, "'High School Musical' exploded off the TV screen and into the lives of kids and families everywhere. It skyrocketed to heights never before achieved by a TV movie, so it's only fitting that its next incarnation should be as a major motion picture. Now millions of kids and families can 'get their heads in the game' one more time -- and continue to experience this cultural phenomenon"

High School Musical premiered on Disney Channel on 20 January 2006, and went on to win the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Children's Programming, and received two Emmy Awards (of its total six nominations), a DGA Award, an Imagen Award for Best Children's Program and a Humanitas Prize nomination. The soundtrack received a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack of the Year, and was nominated for an American Music Award in the Favorite Album (Pop/Rock) category. The film even earned an entry in the Guinness World Record Book as the first TV movie to deliver nine concurrent singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Additionally, High School Musical has spawned a No. 1 New York Times bestseller - High School Musical - The Novel, which has sold over 1.2 million copies. High School Musical was also the first TV movie to be offered on the iTunes Music Store, adds the release.

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