Disney seems to have finally given up on the idea of theatrically extending the High School Musical franchise, which should be a relief for both the now-twenty-something stars and anyone who hates seeing franchises extended beyond their natural lifespans. A fourth film is in the works, but it will be limited to the Disney Channel and with different stars. But just as Zac Efron will eventually be replaced by some fresher-faced young thing, so will High School Musical be supplanted at Disney-- and it looks like Prom will be the property to do it.

Variety reports that Sydney White director Joe Nussbaum will direct the new film, about nine high-schoolers preparing for the big night. The film is being compared to the John Hughes and Cameron Crowe teen comedies, which is of course what every maker of a teen comedy wants you to believe, but also might mark a bit of a departure from the HSM formula. Those movies, after all, acknowledged the existence of sex and alcohol and drugs, while the kids in High School Musical tended to recoil as soon as a closed-mouth kiss lingered too long. Add in the fact that Prom won't be a musical, and we might have less of a HSM clone than a different beast entirely.

But, then again, Disney knows how they made their money, and I would expect Prom to be just as candy-colored and goofy as that previous franchise-- just maybe a touch more realistic. The studio is still working out exactly how they want to finance the thing and who they want to cast, but those of you with dreams of being the next Efron, the time may be now.

Photo comes from Awkward Family Photos. Please go there if you value your sense of humor.

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