High School Musical remade for China audiences

The Walt Disney Company China has announced a local adaptation of ‘Disney High School Musical: China’. This will be Disney Studios third co-production project in China in just two years. The movie should hit theaters in summer 2010. High School Musical continues to be the little property that could for the Walt Disney Company.

Under development for over a year, and created uniquely for Chinese audiences, “Disney High School Musical: China” is the story of a new student who meets a gifted young man with whom she shares a secret passion for singing. With the help of their friends they overcome the odds to win an inter-school singing competition, and discover their true calling in the process.

“Disney’s ongoing commitment to local content development underpins our strategy to connect with new audiences around the world,” said Mr. Jason Reed, general manager, Walt Disney Studios International Production. “Our local team has done an amazing job and we are fortunate to be building on the Disney Channel’s success by working with a world class cast and crew led by our producer Janet Yang and visionary director Shi Zheng Chen.

“The choice of the right stories and best local partners is key to the success of our localization strategy. Shanghai Media Group and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation are leaders in their field and their involvement and contribution to this project is invaluable,” added Mr. Reed.

In 2007, the Studio’s first Disney branded local co-production, the award-winning, “The Magic Gourd” was released, followed by “Roadside Romeo” from India in 2008, “Trail of the Panda” (China 2009) and the feature film, “Book of Masters” (Russian 2009), based on a classic Russian fairy tale which opened in first place at the box office in October. Disney’s sixth local production “Zokkomon” is currently in development in India and is expected to open in 2010.

“Chinese audiences enjoy great storytelling. “Disney High School Musical: China” promotes classic values of teamwork, optimism, friendship, pride and the spirit of self discovery which have made HSM a worldwide phenomenon and further cements Disney’s position as a family entertainment brand in China,” said Mr. Stanley Cheung, executive vice president and managing director, The Walt Disney Company Greater China.

“Disney High School Musical: China” is being filmed in Shanghai and features six new young stars drawn from across China.

Ms. Yang Wenhong, head of SMG’s Film and TV Drama Centre said, “High School Musical is a brand recognized and is beloved by kids and families globally. For SMG, this is a whole new experience to develop a China version by working with Disney and Huayi Brothers. Through our collaboration, we hope we can also bring the musical genre to movie goers here as well.”

“Disney HSM: China is destined to pioneer a new genre for young Chinese moviegoers by seamlessly combining the art forms of dance, music and film together with valuable themes like teamwork, youthful energy and friendship,” said Huayi Brothers Media Corporation President James Wang.

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