When you think of Disney Channel Original Movies, you probably don't think about how they stack up from a critical perspective. Lucky for you, we do.
While these direct-to-TV Disney films are full of cheesy lines and sweet stories, we were wondering how non-tweenage audiences felt about them. It lead us to ask, which Disney Channel Original Movie is rated highest by critics? We turned to Rotten Tomatoes to find some answers.
There are over one hundred Disney Channel Original Movies, and we combed through all of them so you don’t have to. While plenty of Disney Channel Original Movies didn't get a tomatometer rating including The Color of Friendship, Princess Protection Program, and Cow Belles, there were nine popular films that earned themselves a score. We're here to let you know how they all rank together.
Grab some popcorn and dim the lights. Here are the most highly rated Disney Channel Original Movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
9 Camp Rock (20%)
The original Camp Rock only pulled itself a 20% on the tomatometer based on five reviews. The consensus was that while the movie was enjoyable, it wasn’t anything spectacular. Furthermore, reviewers criticized it’s bland High School Musical knockoff-qualities, but praised its cast containing Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers.
Despite the low critic score, the average viewer loved this film, with the audience score ranking in at 75%. Yes, it was cheesy, but that was part of its charm.
8 Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (40%)
While the follow-up to Camp Rock won over at least one more critic, earning itself a 40% tomatometer score, viewers found the second film to be a downgrade from the first. The film's audience score landed at 55%.
Critics and casual viewers alike seemed to enjoy the soundtrack but found that the film promoted its music more than its music promoted the film.
The storyline may have been cliche, but the movie was full of tween-targeted energy. And of course, the Jo Bros are still in this one, so it might be worth a second look for that reason alone.
7 Jump In! (50%)
This 2007 Disney Channel Original Movie follows Corbin Bleu’s character Izzy, who trades in his boxing dreams for competitive jump roping. He also may or may not fall in love with his talented team member played by Keke Palmer along the way.
Three critics liked the movie for targeting the right crowd and keeping the energy up, while three others found the storyline to be too predictable and cliche to be enjoyable.
Audiences similarly scored it at 61%. This film was released right after Bleu’s success in the original High School Musical, so it definitely drew in a similar crowd.
6 High School Musical (56%)
Arguably the most iconic Disney Channel Original Movie of all time, High School Musical — while forever remembered by tweens of the 2000s — was not some perfect masterpiece. That being said, it hit all the right notes by combining the things Disney’s target-audience related to including school, music, and sports.
Let’s also not forget the film’s charming sort of cheesiness. The critics’ 56% tomatometer score came from all the films “pop fluff,” but the audience’s 74% came from the film’s likeability — and that was before all the nostalgia set in.
5 High School Musical 2 (57%)
Edging itself slightly above its predecessor is the summer country club follow-up to High School Musical. Critics praised it for its light-hearted magic, catchy songs, and cohesive narrative. Others believed the soundtrack didn’t soar quite as high as the original and that the overall hokiness of the film made it annoying. Audiences decently enjoyed this film, giving it a solid 72%.
High School Musical 2 happened to break Disney Channel Original Movie records by getting itself 17.2 million views upon its first broadcast.
4 Twitches (60%)
Based on the book series of the same name, Twitches' story centers on a set of twin sisters with magic who were born to a witch on Halloween night. Although they were separated at birth, they find themselves reuniting on their twenty-first birthday.
Some critics called it magical and cheesy. Other found that it didn't stand out among other Disney Channel Original Movies, and that it lacked the sparkle it was aiming for. Either way, the audience score is set at 65%. While most have fond memories of this twisted tale, not all share this positive opinion.
3 Descendants 2 (80%)
Descendants, which follows the children of Disney's most popular villans, premiered to commercial success in 2015. Two years later, its sequel did the same.
The musical fantasy-comedy sequel was praised for its strong female roles, a better villain, and a clever setup. Although with less adult characters taking on critical roles as compared to its predecessor, the film cemented itself as a colorful tale for a younger demographic.
Descendants 2 has a 74% audience score, and the third installment in the franchise is due out in August.
2 Teen Beach Movie (86%)
Teen Beach Movie is what happens when you combine suffer kids with '60s biker gangs and some crazy-catchy music. While not everyone loved its intentionally corny lines and quirky characters, its nod to classic beach films and entertaining musical numbers were well-praised. Additionally, the brightly colored aesthetics, dynamic relationships, and time-warp storyline were loved.
The film scored itself a 72% audience score based on 2,684 reviews. It also attracted a hefty Disney Channel Original Movie viewership, attracting 8.4 million viewers during its first run.
1 Kim Possible (100%)
The 2019-released Kim Possible received six critic reviews, all of which were overwhelmingly positive. The film acted as the live-action remake the original series deserved, and lead actress Sadie Stanley was praised for her performance.
The new film has Kim balancing high school and fighting crime alongside a cast of goofy and endearing characters. What more could we ask for?
While an audience score has not yet been released for the film, those have seen it have left glowing reviews despite its low viewership. In fact, its original broadcast attracted only 1.2 million viewers, making it the lowest-viewed Disney Channel Original Movie of all time. Pay no attention to those stats, though. If you liked Kim Possible growing up, you'll be charmed by its newest companion film.