Disney Launches Its Latest Tween TV Movie


Yesterday afternoon I flying back from a shoot, seated next to a girl who seemed about ten, who spent the flight pouring over tween magazine articles about the Jonas Brothers. Between articles chronicling the love lives of the three Jonas brothers and all of Disney Channel's other tween stars she chatted with her mom about how excited she was about this Friday's premiere of "Camp Rock," the Disney TV movie.

I couldn't believe it -- Here sat the source of the Disney Channel's phenomenal success-- in the flesh. Well said tween will get plenty of access to the singing trio that got their start on Hollywood Records, Disney's music label. They'll be pretty much everywhere but the movie theater.

"Camp Rock" premieres at the Disney Channel and Radio Disney at 8 pm Friday, then broadcast at 8 pm on ABC on Saturday, then on Sunday on ABC Family. The Jonas Brothers are finishing up a tour in Europe with Avril Lavigne then this summer are going on a "Burning Up" tour in the US with Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. Then in August they have a new album coming out, a new TV show on the Disney Channel, and in the works, a 3-D movie and a book.

This epitomises Disney's strategy of building up a brand to exploit across all its platforms. And the film is also playing a key role in helping launch the career of Disney up-and-comer Demi Lovato-- just last week Disney CEO Bob Iger told me he has high hopes for her career.

But can "Camp Rock" live up to the standard set by High School Musical--rave reviews and high ratings? I was surprised to see how mixed, and relatively negative the reviews are so far.

In addition to criticism of the predictable plot and cliche characters there was some annoyance that only one of the Jonas brothers was really featured, the others appearing in little more than cameos. I'm wondering if that'll annoy the diehard fans. I'd be curious to hear what my airplane seatmate will think of the film.

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