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High School Musical 4 starts all over again

HighSchoolMusical.jpgYou know I wouldn't normally be that interested in anything about High School Musical, but there's something here that is so endemic of Hollywood that it's worth discussing.

You see after a successful three High School Musical films with merchandising galore set to squeeze every last penny out of the parents that Disney pressure through their children, you would have thought it was over. Not so. The franchise starts again with a new set of classmates.

Yes, High School Musical 4 effectively goes back to the beginning of the series and aims to start it all again but just with different actors. The studio executives were probably sitting around worrying about their profits from the merchandising and stage musical spin off's disappearing now that the franchise has seemingly stopped, and just when it had made the leap to the big screen as well.

Then they had the idea. Let's start the entire franchise off with a new set of students, and so they have.

According to Reuters High School Musical has been green lit at Disney and is set for 2010 featuring an all new cast. The story will highlight the East High Wildcats school rivalry with the West High Knights. So school rivalry and a love triangle are promised with plenty of song and dance routines throughout.

I wonder if Disney are hoping to replicate the success of the original, and perhaps return to the cinema screen with the new characters? That's probably exactly what they are thinking, with the films having been seen by hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe and the final story gaining US $250 million worldwide since the release, there's just not way they could pass up on that.

With a few tweaks to the story and a whole new cast of young actors, the series is going to start all over again, and if successful we'll see another trilogy as they make their way through school. More than that Disney will see their merchandising and spin off line return to full strength.

The only thing that stands in their way? The fans of the original franchise. Are they going to be so easy and just leap over to a whole new cast?

It's exactly what Hollywood is about, recycle and reuse. If something has earned good money, don't throw it away, remake, restart, reimagine. Doesn't really matter as long as it's reused. Interestingly though they don't always think of the audience, or if they do it's just about how they can grab them and drag them along, like with High School Musical 4.

However, let's make an interesting comparison, how like this move with High School Musical is what is happening with the Terminator franchise? Sure they haven't gone back to the beginning and started all over again, but this is definitely a complete cast change and a move to a different time and format, however that looks like it will work. Why? Well they've thought about the audience and paid careful consideration and respect to the original franchise.

Are there any other franchises that have taken such a bold move as with High School Musical and survived? Replaced all the cast and started again, even from the beginning? Is there any way that this can work for the audience and not just for Disney?





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