The Walt Disney Company celebrated the premiere of High School Musical: China in Beijing today, marking the big screen debut of the Chinese local co-production film based on the popular Disney Channel franchise. Produced in collaboration with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, the premiere ceremony was led by US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, Rich Ross, exclusive licensee partner Semir, Director Shi Zheng Chen, Producer Janet Yang, and leading stars Zhang Junning, Ma Zihan, Yuan Chengjie, Gu Xuan, Liu Yanchen and Lin Qi.
High School Musical: China has been especially created to appeal to Chinese audiences and represents Disney's third co-produced film in China. With its combination of catchy songs and original dance routines, the film debuts a new genre – the Chinese teen musical – that reflects the positive attitudes and the spirit of self-discovery amongst the Chinese youth today. High School Musical: China tells the story of a group of Chinese teens with a melting pot of personalities and backgrounds in their pursuit of their musical dreams as they participate in an inter-school singing competition. With a healthy dose of teamwork, they overcome the odds and discover their true calling in life.
"We're thrilled to be opening High School Musical: China, a film that we believe will resonate with Chinese moviegoers," said Rich Ross, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, at the Beijing premiere. "High School Musical: China is a perfect example of how our local team has worked closely with our local partners to make a film that is a first for this musical genre in China."
"High School Musical: China is another milestone for the Chinese Walt Disney Company, which again resonates with the local audiences through rich storytelling and innovation. The premiere of this local co-produced film strengthens our commitment to building a family entertainment brand in China. We will continue to focus on local content development and local partnerships to further cement the Disney brand among Chinese audiences," said Stanley Cheung, executive vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company, Greater China.
The Walt Disney Company continues to develop creative local content, which reflects the lives and faces of the Chinese market. High School Musical: China continues the solid track record in locally-produced motion pictures for the company, having previously worked with local filmmakers on the award-winning The Magic Gourd (2007) and Trail of the Panda (2009).
Mr. Li Ruigang, president of SMG said, "High School Musical: China is a perfect example of positive cooperation amongst international, state-owned and private companies. We hope that this co-production will pioneer a new way for the future developments of international cooperation in the China film market."
"High School Musical: China represents a new movie genre for the domestic market," said Dennis Wang, Chairman and CEO, Huayi Media Corporation. "We are honored to grow with Disney and explore the market."
The premiere also welcomed director Shi Zheng Chen and producer Janet Yang, along with famous stars of the film, Chinese comedian Guo Degang and popular pop singer Sun Nan, who appear as a father and a math teacher in the film. Jane Zhang, one of the two leading singers of the title theme song "I Can Fly," also made an appearance in the premiere. Testament to the positive buzz leading up to the premiere, "I Can Fly," produced by China's leading music production team, Peter Kam and Keith Chan, has already rocketed to the Top 10 rankings on various online music sites.
High School Musical: China has seen an unprecedented build up to the launch including several "firsts" for Disney China's marketing initiatives, which featured "flash mob dances" in the major cities of Beijing and Chengdu and an extensive social media campaign, which was themed around the film's universal themes of positive self-expression and following one's dreams, tapping into leading key opinion leaders in Chinese youth culture today. To date, the campaign has generated over 1 million online hits to the suite of surveys, youth key opinion-led articles, trailers and viral videos.
High School Musical: China opens throughout China on August 10, 2010. High School Musical: China merchandise will be available at Disney's Taobao flagship store in late August.