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11.25.2009

disney's making a chinese high school musical

Who is the Chinese Zac Efron? Disney is reportedly making a Chinese version of its wildly popular High School Musical movie, in an effort to reach the millions of teens in the massive Chinese market: Disney takes 'High School Musical' to China.

Disney High School Musical: China will tell the story (in song!) of two friends who overcome odds to win an inter-school singing competition. Featuring six newcomers, the film will be shot in Shanghai and is scheduled for a summer 2010 release.

The film will be a co-production with Chinese companies Shanghai Media Group and Huayi Brothers Media Corp., allowing Disney to bypass China's annual quota of 20 films that foreign studios can share profits in. It marks Disney's third co-produced film in China after 2007's The Magic Gourd and this year's Trail of the Panda.

This all makes a lot of sense. There's obviously plenty of money to be made in China, and the High School Musical has already proven itself as an international smash hit film franchise, airing in more than 30 languages in some 100 countries.

What's most interesting to me is who's directing. Chen Shizheng is better known as a stage director, but his first feature film was the 2007 independent drama Dark Matter, the story of a troubled Chinese astrophysics student studying in the U.S.

I've seen the original High School Musical movie. It wasn't very good -- I'm definitely not the intended audience. But I'll admit, I'm actually mildly curious to see what a Chinese High School Musical looks like. Probably squeaky clean and fantastically cheesetastic, just like in America, only everybody's Chinese.