(Sadly!!) This thing is going to be huge!!

‘Sky’s the limit’ for ‘High School Musical’ movie
Disney’s popular High School Musical TV franchise matriculates to the big screen this weekend ó most likely with financial honors.
Friday’s theatrical release of High School Musical 3: Senior Year “is an event movie for tweens and teens, and that translates to big box office,” says Gitesh Pandya of industry tracker boxofficeguru .com. “The sky’s the limit.”
Unlike other small-screen series that transitioned to film, the High School Musical franchise is rooted in just two made-for-TV films. But the August 2007 sequel drew 17.2 million viewers on the Disney Channel ó the most-watched non-sports basic cable program ever.
And the global popularity of the 2006 original and sequel have spawned top-selling DVDs, soundtracks, sold-out concert tours and a merchandising empire.
With a huge fan base, savvy marketing campaign and the star power of leads Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Corbin Bleu, HSM 3 could challenge the October weekend box office records of 2003’s Scary Movie 3 ($48.3 million) and 2004’s Shark Tale ($47.6 million). “Based on the strength of the franchise, it has an excellent chance of one of the biggest openings of October,” says boxofficemojo .com’s Brandon Gray.
Disney production chief Oren Aviv is steering away from predictions, but says he’d be happy if it grossed comparable opening-weekend numbers to musicals Hairspray ($27.5 million) and Mamma Mia! ($27.7 million).
“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” says Aviv. “The goal was to have a movie worthy of the big screen ó that meant everything needed to be notched up higher. It was important to deliver on the script, the choreography and the songs. The filmmakers did their job really well.”
Tisdale says fans of the first two will enjoy HSM 3’s 10 musical numbers and the plotline surrounding the graduating Wildcats, which she calls “bittersweet.”
Advance ticket sales at are “easily outpacing pre-sales of Mamma Mia! and Hairspray,” says chief operating officer Rick Butler. “People are looking for good old-fashioned entertainment, and movie musicals are one of the purest forms of escapism,” he says.
With the exception of Saw V, the latest in the horror franchise, there’s little competition for young viewers this weekend, says Gray. Moreover, HSM 3 could have staying power: “Musicals lend themselves to repeat business.”
“The musical numbers are huge, the choreography is intense and the characters have evolved,” says Bleu, en route to Rome to promote the $30 million film. “This is High School Musical on steroids.”