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Will the writer's strike force production of "High School Musical 3" & "The Hannah Montana Movie" to be postponed ?

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Will the writer's strike force production of "High School Musical 3" & "The Hannah Montana Movie" to be postponed ?

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"What Time Is It ?"

Well, according to the folks who are working on the next installment of Disney's hugely popular "High School Musical" series, it's time to push back the start of production.

Where once this Walt Disney Pictures release was supposed to begin shooting in January, now the word coming out of Burbank suggests that the start of production has been pushed back to April. And even that new start date is said to be tentative, given that "High School Musical 3" 's screenplay is reportedly in very rough shape.


 
The cast of "High School Musical" performs in front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle
as part of ABC's "Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade" special.
Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

As one Mouse House insider explained:

"We had hoped that the 'High School Musical 3' screenplay that was delivered just prior to the start of the strike would be shootable, but this thing is seriously in need of a rewrite. But as long as the Writer's Guild remains out on strike, we're not allowed to change a single word of this script. So right now, we're stuck."

Mind you, the folks at Disney are still moving forward with preproduction of "High School Musical 3." Hoping against hope that the strike that's currently paralyzing Hollywood gets resolved during the first quarter of 2008. Which -- in theory, anyway -- will leave enough time to rewrite and/or polish the HSM3 screenplay before the official start of shooting in April.

And just so you know: "High School Musical 3" isn't the only almost-ready-to-shoot project that's being tripped up by the writer's strike. I've also heard that officials at Walt Disney Studios are concerned about the script for "The Hannah Montana Movie." Which is supposed to begin shooting in Tennessee come April.

As our Mouse House insider continues:

"The same goes for the 'Hannah Montana' screenplay. This film could be a huge hit and really help launch Miley Cyrus's movie career. But only if it gets the rewrite that it needs. Right now, that script is just in too rough a shape to shoot."


 Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Now keep in mind that Walt Disney Pictures was really looking forward to put "High School Musical 3" and "The Hannah Montana Movie" out in theaters. Why For? Well, mostly because the combined production costs of these two motion pictures will still be less than half of what Disney is spending to make "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."

Again that Mouse House insider speaks:

"These two were supposed to be our cash cows for 2008. We hoped to sell movie tickets to every tween in America, get them to download those soundtracks off of iTunes and then -- three months later -- get them to buy the 'High School Musical 3' and 'Hannah Montana Movie' DVDs. But none of that's going to happen next year if we have to put off production because those scripts aren't in good enough shape to shoot."

And let me be blunt here, folks: Disney doesn't want to push back production of "High School Musical 3" or "The Hannah Montana Movie." These folks know how fickle the tween audience is. How even postponing the release of these two movies by just a few months may result in Mickey's target audience losing interest. Moving on to the next big thing. Which is why preproduction on "HSM3" and "THMM" is going forward ... For now, anyway.

But should the writer's strike drag on into March ... Well, it'll be interesting to see what Disney opts to do then. Go forward with production with those not-quite-ready-to-shoot scripts and hope that these films can then be fixed in the editing bay? Or will Mickey just postpone production of "High School Musical 3" & "The Hannah Montana Movie" 'til the WGA comes back to work?

Your thoughts?

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  • Look at it as good news...we might get "Haunted High School Musical" back. And that was probably the only one I would've wanted to see.

    As for "Hannah Montana"...we'd better see the oft mentioned Uncle Earl. I wanna see Will Sasso (Who shows up in "College Road Trip") playing him. Heck, he does a great drunken Kenny Rogers impression. :D

  • Hire freelance writers from a right-to-work state.

    bonk!

  • Scabs? No thanks.

  • Maybe tell Iger and the gang to get off their butts and back to the negotiating table, give the writers their due Internet residuals, and move forward!  Seems pretty easy to me.

  • I bet even the execs could write a better script than HSM2!

  • hey its good

  • Somebody wrote those? I thought there was a machine you could just toss proper nouns into and it spits out the entire script. Isn't that how 90 percent of movies are made these days?

    gurvz: In 10 years, look back at that movie and tell us with a straight face that it's good.

  • <sarcasm mode on> I'm just inconsolably upset by the prospect of not having to put up with throngs of teenieboppers flooding my local multiplex to watch "Hannah" or HSM3". <sarcasm mode off>

    Any chance we can get the WGA to prolong the strike? :)

  • It's already been announced that the film starts shooting in April at East High in Utah.  Also been announced that the cast read and signed off on the script, giving it the thumbs up.  They've also announced an October 2008 release date.  Guess someone must like it.

  • Well if they really wanted to start production they'd tell Iger to get his butt to the negotiating table and make a seperate deal with the writers.  The AMPTP's strategy of throwing a hissy fit and then blaming the writers for wanting to change things isn't exactly working.

    Oh and T.Galvin the fact the actors signed off on the script and and pre-production is in motion means little about the script's quality.  It's actually quite common for scripts to be worked on to get into a shootable form while pre-production is starting...

  • I have a question ... is there any particular reason Jim's avoiding all the actual news there is to report about Disney lately and focusing instead on pointless drivel like this?

    Where's the story on the debacle that is the new Spaceship Earth??

  • It's funny that you say that, considerin I'm sure these two franchises are MUCH higher on Disney readar then Spaceship Earth.

    Also, I've heard only good things about the first half of SSE.

    The bad stuff I've heard has all been on the descent.

  • The new Spaceship Earth is great.  The quiz on the descent just needs a little programming work that they're probably working on right now.

  • Jim gets to the point at the end of the article.  Films are made or broken in the editing.  They could shoot these "rough scripts" and still have plenty of time to fix them up with reshoots by the time the strike ends.  (It can't last much longer.  Neither side can afford it to.)

    As for hiring non-Union work, that can't happen only because it would upset SAG and the Director's Guild, who would (correctly) view it as an attempt to break the guilds.  So then they'd have to find independant directors (they could get Robert Rodriguez!) *and* actors (they would get no one) for their films.

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