In my previous post, "High School Musical 3: The Gayest of Them All," I briefly mentioned how the theater I was in was packed with young girls who screamed with religious-like fervor at Zac Efron at many points throughout the evening—when he appeared in the pre-movie trailer for 17 Again; when his close-up, sweaty face faded in as the first shot of the film; when he sang and danced, particularly in that borderline-obscene "Scream" solo number; when he made out with Vanessa Anne Hudgens, who became the audience's surrogate; and especially when, with his rear to the camera, he took off his shirt in a locker room, revealing a delicious back you just wanted to lick like push-up ice cream. (The accompanying photo is not from the movie, but from your friendly neighborhood paparazzi.)
The Los Angeles Times just published an article that demonstrates that screaming girls were not unique to my experience. At the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood:
As movie attendant Desiree marked everyone's tickets, she notified those in line that earplugs would be available inside.
"Earplugs?" asked a befuddled movie-goer.
"Yes. The girls scream, sir," she replied....
Once inside, it was as if the movie screening in the ornately decorated theater had been transformed into a pep rally at the Wildcats' gymnasium. Hundreds of shrieking fans cheered their favorite scenes in the movie. It's no surprise that the most deafening screams were for teen "dreamboat" Efron, who whether shirtless or sporting a ridiculous bandanna around his head managed to elicit such cries as "You're so hot!," "I want you!" and "Marry me!"
Never underestimate the power of tween-girl fanaticism. High School Musical 3: Gradu-Dancin' grossed $42 million over the weekend, which made it the best opening for a musical ever, as well as the best for a live-action, G-rated film. All this means that HSM3 is well on its way to becoming the highest-grossing gay movie of all time—even Brokeback Mountain only grossed $83 million during its entire run.
I should also point out that it actually wasn't just tweens and teens that turned out in (frightening) droves. As LAP wrote in the comments section, "Besides the other moms, I would say 10 was the top of the age range for attendees." I noticed that in my theater too—the audience skewed really young—I'm talking, six, seven, eight. Man, HSM indoctrination starts early.