The question was: Could three Jonases take down one Zac Efron? The answer was yes—and no.
Friday night's premiere of the Jonas Brothers-populated TV musical Camp Rock averaged 8.9 million viewers, the Disney Channel said today.
That's bigger than the original, Efron-led High School Musical, which debuted before 7.7 million viewers. But it's smaller—significantly smaller—than the 17.2 million who turned out for last August's return of Efron in High School Musical 2.
HSM2 stands as the most watched non-sports program ever on cable.
The Camp Rock premiere came at the start of what has been referenced as the summer of the Jonas Brothers. But even the seemingly all-powerful tween dream of a band couldn't find a way around an elemental law of the box office: Sequels, like HSM2, are tough to beat.
Judging Camp Rock's performance against the original High School Musical, meanwhile, is an inexact science. The Jonas Brothers are far bigger stars than Efron or any of his costars were in January 2006, when the first HSM premiered.
The true test of Camp Rock may come in its ability, or not, to play and play and play again, à la the HSM movies, which dominated cable ratings even as relatively aged reruns.
Camp Rock's shelf life gets its first test tonight, when it re-airs on ABC. On Sunday, it comes to ABC Family, and then on a computer near you, starting Monday, via Disney.com.