A few weeks after we reported that Disney has greenlit the production of High School Musical 4 as a Disney Channel Original Movie, the media giant has announced more details about this latest addition to the highly successful franchise. In fact, even before the third installment hit theaters in the fall last year, work has already started on High School Musical 4.
Associated Press reports that High School Musical 4 is set to begin production later this year and is slated for a 2010 premiere. The fourth installment will also introduce a new cast of characters, debunking previous reports that Zac Efron will return to East High School despite graduating in the final outing.
Reports surfaced last October that a big money offer had prompted Efron, who's on the lookout for more adult roles, to reconsider.
The plot will reportedly feature a love triangle couched in a cross-town school rivalry against West High Knights. British teenager Jemma McKenzie-Brown will reprise her role, and Bart Johnson will also be back as Coach Jack Bolton. The same team, including writer Peter Barsocchini who penned the first three, will be working on the fourth.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year has grossed over $250 million worldwide since its October 2008 release. The original, meanwhile, drew some 7.7 million viewers in 2006, and the second one reeled in double the original with 17.2 million the following year.
"We are writing High School Musical 4, " Disney Channel Worldwide president Rich Ross said last year.