More than 10 years after High School Musical launched, Disney Channel is returning to East High for a fourth installment of the movie franchise, which started on TV with the first two films before transitioning to the big screen with the third chapter.
A nationwide casting search begins today for the project, which will continue the story and introduce new East High Wildcats and their cross-town school rivals, the West High Knights.
Jeffrey Hornaday (Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie) is attached to direct and choreograph the movie, which is being cast by Jason La Padura, Natalie Hart and Kendra Patterson of LaPadura/Hart/Patterson.
“High School Musical is part of Disney Channel’s DNA. It embodies all that we stand for,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. “As a way of continuing to embrace that heritage, we’re excited to announce ‘the start of something new’ — as we launch a search for a new class of East High Wildcats to star in a fourth installment of the High School Musical franchise.”
Dan Berendsen (creator/executive producer of Freeform’s Baby Daddy) and Peter Barsocchini (writer of all three High School Musical movies) are the screenwriters of High School Musical 4. Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush return as the executive producers.
Directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, High School Musical premiered January 20, 2006, drawing 7.7 million total viewers in the U.S.– at the time, the highest ratings for any telecast ever on Disney Channel. It became the first-ever TV movie soundtrack to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and went on to become the #1 album of 2006. Its sequel, High School Musical 2, ranks as the #1 basic cable telecast of all time (18.6 million viewers for its August 17, 2007 premiere). The third movie, Walt Disney Pictures’ High School Musical 3: Senior Year, was released in October 2008 and grossed over $250 million at the worldwide box office. The franchise launched the careers of its young stars, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale.