The Next Big Tween Thing: Teen Beach Movie

Disney Channel had been struggling to recreate a new original movie franchise in the same league as High School Musical. After some trial and error, they finally got the formula correct this past Friday with the premiere of Teen Beach Movie.

What is Teen Beach Movie? It’s the next big tween phenomena. Teen Beach Movie is a movie within a movie.  It features Disney Channel stars that travel back in time and get stuck in a 1960’s beach film titled “Wet Side Story.” When back in time, love mix-ups take place and the characters sing and dance while trying to find a way out of the film and back to the real world.

In addition to being infused with elements of High School Musical, 1960’s beach films, and the West Side Story Broadway musical; Mike Hale from the New York Times also reported elements of Back to the Future, Glee, Lightning Point (Australian TV series), and a lot of Grease.  Mashing together elements of all these productions allowed Disney to create a movie with a nostalgia factor the audience could enjoy. As a result, not only did kids show up to watch the movie, but parents joined in too.

So just how big was Teen Beach Movie for Disney? Humongous! Here are the number breakdowns for Disney Channel and how it compared to broadcast.

Disney Channel:

– #1 original movie premiere in over 4 years in total viewers (6 years when only looking across kids demos 2-11, 6-11, and 9-14).

-8.4 million viewers (High School Musical had 7.7 million)

-1.6 million total adult 18-49 viewers

-#3 original movie ever for Kids 2-11 and 6-11 (Behind High School Musical 2 and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie).

-Led into successful premiere of Liv and Maddie with 5.8 million total viewers (#2 series debut ever)

Across Broadcast:

-Nearly 6 times the amount of viewers than Syfy’s highly buzzed Sharknado

-CBS had the largest prime time viewing crowd with 4.5 million (8.4 for Teen Beach Movie)

-ABC’s lineup led the adults 18-49 demo with a 1.0 rating (Teen Beach Movie scored a 1.5 rating across the same demo)

Disney is poised to capitalize on this new franchise even more so than High School Musical. They created a nostalgia factors in the movie that even adults can enjoy and bear to watch with their children.  Stars went on a worldwide press tour before the premiere to promote the movie, and the album is still #1 on iTunes.  It even beat Disney’s High School Musical franchise launch, which is very promising. Teen Beach Movie is the next big Disney tween phenomena, so expect Disney to promote and capitalize on their new success in the near future.


De Morales, Lisa. “Recordings Rat Race Update: Disney Channel’s ‘Teen Beach Movie’ Attracts 5x As Many Viewers As Syfy’s ‘Sharknado!’; Press Ignores It.” Deadline

Hale, Mike. “Time Capsule in the Sand: ‘Teen Beach Movie’ Goes Back to the Future.” The New York Times

Hall, Gina. “Disney Ready to Capitalize on Tweens with ‘Teen Beach Movie.'” L.A. Biz.

Seldman, Robert. “Disney Channel’s ‘Teen Beach Movie’ Averages 8.4 Million Viewers; ‘Liv and Maddie’ Premieres 5.8 Million.” TV By The Numbers



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