On Friday, July 31, Disney unveiled what looks to be the biggest phenomenon since High School Musical: the TV movie Descendants. It's three parts Once Upon A Time and one part High School Musical, and that is a match made in Disney Channel heaven. But what's the buzz all about?
More than 6 million people tuned in for the Friday premiere, and then took to social media to rave about the movie. Descendants was the No. 1 non-sports topic on Twitter Friday, producing more than 2 million impressions from nearly a half-million users, according to Nielsen.
WATCH Disney Channel app subscribers had the chance to watch Descendants before it premiered on the Disney Channel. More than 1 million subscribers - 1.4 million to be exact - took the bait, boosting the show's popularity before it even officially premiered.
In 2006, High School Musical pulled in 7.7 million viewers for its premiere. The soundtrack sold more than 4 million copies, making it one of the top TV-movie soundtracks since Nielsen began recording these stats in 1991. So will Descendants do the same? Maybe it already has. Accounting for the changing platform preference of consumers and taking both the WATCH Disney Channel app numbers and the television premiere numbers into account, Descendants skirts past High School Musical with 8 million pairs of eyeballs.
Ben, son of Queen Belle and King Beast, has taken the throne. His first proclamation as the new ruler of Auradon: bring the children of Disney's most wicked villains from their exiled state, known as the Isle of the Lost, to a sort of fairy-tale prep school in his kingdom.
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens became instant stars through High School Musical. So who are the breakout stars of Descendants? Liv and Maddie starlet Dove Cameron plays Mal, daughter of Maleficent.
You've seen him in Jessie, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 and Eagle Eye. In Descendants he plays Carlos, Cruella de Vil's evil yet cuddly son.
Booboo Stewart is no stranger to the screen. He was Warpath in X-Men: Days of Future Past and had a smallish role in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. In Descendants he is Jay, Jafar's son. Ironically, Jay has an affinity for theft, much like his father's adversary, Aladdin.
Sofia Carson is Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen. Carson appeared on Austin & Ally and Faking It before scoring a role in Descendants.
Last but not least, there's the cute-as-hell Mitchell Hope, who plays Belle and Beast's son, Ben. The Australian actor hasn't appeared in much as of yet, but with his acting chops and dreamy voice he is sure to go far. Watch out, Zac Efron.
Kristin Chenoweth takes on the role of Maleficent, glowing eyes and all. Chenoweth is no novice on complicated TV characters, having previously played Pushing Daisies' Olive, Glee's April Rhodes and GCB's Carlene Cockburn. Further, she is pretty believable as the most evil yet misunderstood villain in Disney history.
Just like High School Musical before it, Descendants comes complete with a bangin' soundtrack featuring the movie's singing stars. As of Aug. 3, the soundtrack was already the 66th top-selling album on iTunes.
You can bet your dowry there will be a sequel. Director and choreographer Kenny Ortega told The Huffington Post, "Sure ... Descendants really is a wonderful place to play in. There are so many more stories we could tell." Indeed, a final image of Mal's eyes flashing green like her mom's confirm that this story is far from over.