Summer Advisory: A Jonas Front Looms

The scene outside a screening of the movie in New York last week.

By Edward Wyatt
The New York Times
Published: June 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Shooting a rock video poolside at a hilltop mansion in Chatsworth, the Los Angeles suburb that is the unofficial capital of the pornography business, inevitably involves a few staples, including dozens of attractive, nubile women swaying to the beat and making eyes at the handsome boys in the band.

On this particular May evening, however, the women were fully clad and the band members wore “purity” rings, reflecting their stated intentions to save themselves sexually for marriage.

For these were the Jonas Brothers, already one of the Walt Disney Company’s hottest acts and about to be the subject of an onslaught of publicity that might make last year’s Hannah Montana madness look like a warm-up act.

The brothers — Kevin, 20, Joseph, 18, and Nick, 15 — are to be fully unleashed on the American public starting Tuesday night, when a preview of their new movie, “Camp Rock,” will be made available on Disney Channel on Demand, a limited-availability service offered to some Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Verizon customers. On Friday the movie will begin its run on the Disney Channel, with an audio simulcast on Radio Disney, followed by broadcasts on ABC on Saturday and the ABC Family channel on Sunday.

And that is just the start of the Summer of Jonas. Within hours of completing work last month on the video for their new single, “Burnin’ Up,” the brothers departed for Glasgow to begin a 24-date European concert tour. That is to be followed by a 46-date North American tour, beginning July 4 in Toronto — their fourth in little over a year. A 3-D film for theatrical release next year will be shot during the tour, following the richly successful formula set by Miley Cyrus on her recent Hannah Montana “Best of Both Worlds” tour.

The music video, which will be shown for the first time on Friday on the Disney Channel following “Camp Rock,” presages the Aug. 12 release of the brothers’ third album, “A Little Bit Longer.” In the fall, after the tour ends, they will begin shooting their own Disney Channel series, a comedy-adventure spy series titled “J.O.N.A.S.”

All of which — not to mention the piercing teenage-girl screams that accompany their every move — has the brothers’ heads spinning a bit. “We wake up and pinch ourselves most days,” Kevin Jonas said in an interview.

As do, no doubt, executives at Disney’s Hollywood Records division, which signed the Jonas Brothers to a contract in February 2007 after they were let go by Columbia Records. Columbia managed to sell only about 65,000 copies of the brothers’ first album, “It’s About Time,” despite heavy airplay on Radio Disney. Their debut effort on Hollywood Records, released last August, sold more than a million copies in its first four months.

“It was extraordinarily good fortune for us,” Gary Marsh, the president of entertainment for Disney Channel Worldwide, said of his company’s discovery of the Jonas Brothers. “We have so many other opportunities and extensions that we can use to launch and promote a group like this. And given who they are as people, their brand fits wonderfully with the Disney brand.”

'Camp Rock' Disney Channel Original Movie- 4/1/08
'Camp Rock' Disney Channel Original Movie