High School Musical sequel scores

HSM 2 a hit in the US with premiere pulling in 17.2 million viewers.
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The High School Musical success story continues for Disney, with the sequel scoring massive audience figures when it debuted in the US at the end of last week.

Friday's premiere drew an audience of 17.2 million, making it the most watched basic cable program ever, according to Nielson Media Research. It more than doubled the viewership of the first movie, which attracted 7.7 million in 2006.

The European premiere of High School Musical 2 is set for September 2nd at The O2.

While the success of the first movie took everyone in the business - including Disney - somewhat by surprise, this time round everyone is more prepared.

"What's different for the second one is that demand is soaring," Rich Ross, president of Disney Channel Worldwide was quoted as saying in an interview. "Every division at Disney has figured out how it makes sense for their products to roll out."

Various merchandising plans are in place, with Disney expecting to have 100 licensed products in US stores by the end of the year, ranging from shoes to backpacks, mobile phones and video games.

Disney is estimating that the High School Musical franchise will contribute an estimated $100 million in operating income in 2006 and 2007 and has also forecast that it will grow to $650 million in global retail sales in fiscal 2008.

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