New cast. Same location?
Disney is preparing to film "High School Musical 4," and the state hopes to lure the filmmaker back to Utah with a $1 million incentive.
"It's going to be a whole new cast," said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission. "They're starting with a whole new cast, because in 'High School Musical 3,' the cast graduated."
Sorry, kids, Zac Efron will likely not be part of that new cast.
Moore has not yet read the script, which must be vetted by a state committee before the filmmaker receives money, but he said that the actor and teenage heartthrob, who became famous from his work in "High School Musical," will probably not be in the fourth installment of the movie series, filmed at East High School and other Utah locales.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board on Thursday approved a $1 million incentive to Disney to lure the production of "High School Musical 4" to Utah.
No word yet on whether Disney will choose Utah and East High School in Salt Lake City to film the movie.
"They know the incentive has been approved," Moore said. "I know that they'll make a decision sometime this summer."
GOED executive director Jason Perry said that East High has become a sort of tourist destination.
"We still have hundreds of people every week coming to East High School to come see Zac Efron's locker," Perry said as GOED board members laughed about the hysteria surrounding Efron. "You can't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about."
The tourists aren't in Utah to see national parks and happen to stop by East High, Perry said. The whole goal of the trip is a pilgrimage to "High School Musical."
"These are people who are coming to East High School," he said, explaining that the tourists spend lots of money in the Beehive State.
The $1 million incentive is the first time GOED has taken advantage of new legislation for the film industry. The Legislature this year passed a bill allowing for 20 percent tax credits with no caps on all money a filmmaker spends in Utah, a better incentive for filmmakers than the previous 15 percent tax rebate with a $500,000 cap.
The first two "High School Musical" movies went directly to DVD, but "High School Musical 3" went to theaters, and for that movie, the Legislature allowed a special incentive of $2 million. The first and second "High School Musical" got incentives, too.