Welcome to the future. because, like it or not, this trite teen tale — basketball-playing boy (Zac Efron) and brainbox girl (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) find squeaky-clean young love while singing pop tunes — is going to change the movies.
The film, directed by Dirty Dancing choreographer Kenny Ortega, aired on the Disney Channel in America and got the highest-ever ratings for a TV movie. Swiftly a marketing plan whirled into gear; album sales broke records and you could even put on your own stage version, something 1,260 US schools have done to date. But the real work was done by the tweens themselves, who set up YouTube fansites, bluetoothed clips via their mobiles and felt they owned the phenomenon. Nearly two million tuned in in the UK, and they’ll be rushing out to buy this. Beware: the sequel, as well as Bollywood and Brazilian remakes, is already in the can.