Billboard Latin Music Awards

'High School Musical' Was a Chart-Topping Phenomenon 10 Years Ago

Jason Merritt/FilmMagic
Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale of "High School Musical" at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards Dec. 4, 2006.

When Disney Channel’s TV movie High School Musical premiered on Jan. 20, 2006, it was a ratings blockbuster that immediately translated into massive success on Billboard’s music charts.

There were 7.7 million viewers who tuned in to the first broadcast of the musical (a then-record for any Disney Channel telecast), which then led to many repeated airings on the network and further ratings wins. All those eyeballs watching the movie turned to buying and listening to music from the film, which propelled High School Musical up the charts.

Ahead of the High School Musical 10-year reunion special on Wednesday (Jan. 20), here are some chart highlights registered by the first High School Musical movie, and its two sequel films:

-- The High School Musical soundtrack album was released on Jan. 10, 2006, and debuted at No. 143 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 6,000 copies in its first week in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The album, issued by Walt Disney Records, would then see 13 consecutive weekly sales gains as Disney Channel aired encore presentations of the movie. The set sailed up the chart, jumping into the top 10 in its third chart week, and then to No. 1 in its seventh frame (the chart dated March 11, 2006).

-- High School Musical was the first TV soundtrack to hit No. 1 since Miami Vice in 1986. High School Musical also marked the first album from either a cable channel or from any made-for-TV movie to rule the chart.

-- High School Musical spent a total of two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was the top selling album of 2006 according to Nielsen Music (with 3.7 million sold that year). It has sold 5 million to date

-- The set even garnered the 2006 Billboard Music Award for soundtrack album of the year, thanks to its chart success. On hand to accept the trophy onstage at the Dec. 4 show was the primary cast of the film: Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Zac Efron, Lucas Grabeel, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale.

-- High School Musical’s success on the charts wasn’t limited to the Billboard 200. Nine of its songs entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including one that reached the top 10: “Breaking Free,” which peaked at No. 4.

-- The 2007 sequel film High School Musical 2 saw its companion soundtrack debut straight in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with a whopping 615,000 copies sold in its first week. The set would spend four total weeks at No. 1 and close out 2007 as the second-biggest selling album of the year (2.96 million), behind Josh Groban's Noel (3.67 million) Christmas album. The High School Musical 2 album has sold 3.4 million to date.

-- High School Musical 2 spun off eight Hot 100 hits, including the top 10-charting track “What Time Is It” (which peaked at No. 6).

-- The series continued to hit high notes on the charts with the theatrically released High School Musical: Senior Year. Its soundtrack debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in 2008 and has sold 1.5 million.

-- Collectively, the three albums have sold 9.8 million copies, while their respective tracks have combined to sell a whopping 8.8 million downloads.

The High School Musical reunion airs on Disney Channel Wednesday (Jan. 20) at 8:00 p.m. EST/PST.