D23 Expo: 'Teen Beach Movie' Cast on Big Ratings, Getting Mobbed and Hopes for a Sequel
ANAHEIM -- Teen Beach Movie is not only a bona fide hit for Disney Channel, but it's becoming the gift that keeps on giving.
The network's original movie pulled in 8.4 viewers in its July 19 premiere. After all the Live+7 data became available, that number rose to 13.5 million, making it the No. 2 most-watched movie in cable TV history. The movie's soundtrack is still in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 after three weeks, and the DVD is tracking to be Disney's top seller for the year.
On Saturday, the stars of the movie (with the exception of Maia Mitchell, who was in Australia) appeared at Disney's D23 Expo to sign autographs for fans. When they took the stage, the screams inside the Anaheim Convention Center were deafening.
Afterward, star Ross Lynch -- who plays surfer Brady -- told The Hollywood Reporter: "It's not the first time I've seen this reaction."
Lynch also performed at the D23 Expo with his band, R5, which has an upcoming album, Louder, set for release next month, and tour.
Grace Phipps, who plays biker Lela in the movie-within-a-movie Wet Side Story, said she hasn't yet been able to grasp the movie's success.
"Hearing the numbers and ratings doesn't really make sense at a human, digestible level," she told THR. "But those ratings are very good, which great because it's sort of a higher-concept movie than maybe everyone is used to; there's a lot of plot to digest.
Garrett Clayton, who plays surfer Tanner, said the fan reaction online has bit humorous, at times. He told THR that he once ran across a photo for a fan-created TBM sequel, which was humorously dubbed Teen Beach Movie 2: Under the Sea.
"I sent the whole cast the picture, and there was a lot of texts about it," he said. "We were joking, 'Oh you're the pretty mermaid.'"
Clayton added that the cast is trying not to let success go to their heads.
"We're all really good at keeping each other grounded, but it's still crazy," he said, noting the "ecstatic" fans he encountered at D23. "It's a wild ride, but I'm taking it as it comes, one day at a time."
For her part, Phipps -- whose 1960s character is encouraged to pursue her passion and break out of traditional roles that females were expected to fill during that time period -- has gotten some feedback from parents about the lessons the movie teaches.
"That's part of why I signed on in the first place," she said. "I love the egalitarianism in this movie, and I love the female friendship."
While Disney Channel has not made any announcement on a sequel, Lynch said that he and his fellow cast members are game should executives decide to move forward on a second installment.
"Absolutely -- we're all down for a sequel," he said.