The film tells of how Hannah Montana's popularity begins to take over Miley's life. Her father forces her to take a trip to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee to get some perspective on what matters most in her life.
Filming began in April 2008, much of it occurring in Columbia, Tennessee and Los Angeles, California, and was completed in July 2008. The film was released theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures on April 10, 2009 in the United States and Canada. As the teen sitcom originated on Disney Channel, the network premiered a teaser trailer of the film during their shows. The film achieved commercial success, grossing $155 million in worldwide box office revenue, and receiving mixed critical response.
Miley Stewart is struggling with alter-ego Hannah Montana's popularity and keeping her double-life a secret from the media, but Oswald Granger, a sneaky undercover journalist for UK celebrity magazine BonChic, vows to uncover her secret. Miley (as Hannah) ends up in dispute with Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes she wants to buy for Lilly's birthday present. When Oswald follows her to the party, Miley is forced to attend as Hannah instead of herself, taking the focus of attention away from Lilly – especially when Hannah is accompanied by Steve Rushton and Days Difference in a performance of "Let's Get Crazy". Oliver Oken and Rico Suave try to stop Lilly from leaving, but the party is ruined by Rico's exploding "Happy Birthday Lilly" cake. Upset, Lilly accidentally tells Oswald that Hannah is from Crowley Corners, Tennessee, unaware that he is a journalist.
Robby Ray Stewart is furious over newspaper reports of Hannah's fight with Tyra Banks and her general behavior. He tells Miley that Hannah is out of control and Miley needs to remember who she truly is. Leaving for an award show, the Stewarts instead arrive in Crowley Corners for Miley's grandmother Ruby's birthday. Miley is angry at her father for the switch but Robby Ray points out that this is the life she could have had. Despite Miley's protests, Robby Ray decides to spend two weeks in Crowley Corners and falls in love with a woman named Lorelai. Miley eventually warms to her hometown when she rekindles a connection with childhood friend Travis Brody.
Nevertheless, Miley is eager to resume her Hannah duties and becomes chastened after Ruby snaps that she seems to prefer being Hannah Montana over spending time with her family. Miley tries to write new songs but Travis ignores her and she develops writer's block. Meanwhile, conflict grows between residents and land developer Mr. Bradley, who wants to destroy part of the town to build a shopping mall. At a barn party, several singers contribute to a charity to save Crowley Corners, singing "Back to Tennessee" and "Crazier". Miley sings as herself with "Hoedown Throwdown" until Mr. Bradley arrives to tell the townspeople they will not stop him. Travis suggests that Miley ask Hannah Montana to make an appearance, unaware that Hannah is Miley's alter ego.
Miley does not know what to do until Lilly arrives, disguised as Hannah, offering to help. As the two make up, Miley confides her difficulties, adjusting to farm life while trying to be herself and Hannah. Oswald takes pictures of the girls, believing Lilly to be Hannah Montana, and Lilly realizes she inadvertently led Oswald there and apologizes. The town is overjoyed to have Hannah Montana but Travis is unimpressed and admits to Hannah that he has a crush on Miley. As Hannah, Miley urges Travis to ask Miley out and he does, but Miley has already been invited to dinner with the mayor by Lorelai. Miley tries to be in two places at once but accidentally lets her guard down and is caught by Travis mid-switch. Miley finishes writing "Butterfly Fly Away" which she and Robby sing together to cheer up. Miley completes the chicken coop that she and Travis were building; touched by this, Travis goes to the concert to support Miley.
Seeing Travis arrive, Hannah stops mid-song and explains to the crowd that she cannot live a lie anymore, especially when she is home. Hannah then removes her blond wig, revealing her secret identity. She then sings "The Climb" and announces that she's not going to be Hannah Montana anymore and that she'll be returning home to Tennessee for good. The crowd pleads her to continue being Hannah Montana, promising not to reveal her secret, but Oswald is in the crowd and takes a picture. His twin daughters arrive, having missed the Hannah reveal, and their excitement and enthusiasm for Hannah convinces him to not sell the story, quitting his job. Miley kisses Travis and then returns to the stage to finish with the song "You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home". Miley leaves Tennessee to resume her double life but with greater perspective and a better attitude.
While attending at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus said they were planning to make a film adaptation for their TV series Hannah Montana, which debuted on Disney Channel on March 24, 2006, and expected it to be a feature film, rather than a Disney Channel Original Movie.
Since writers were still working on the script for the movie, Cyrus was free to share whatever ideas she had for the upcoming project. She said that, at the time, the best concept she has thought of involves going back to her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Since Hannah Montana is taped at Tribune Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Cyrus spends most of her time away from her beloved home. She spends up to eight and a half hours a day working on the set, but her hours could get longer once she becomes a legal adult.
Billy Ray Cyrus shared further details about the script: "There'll be a lot of similarities [to the show], and the fact that Miley is so real, her music is real, we'll keep a lot of that realism," the 45-year-old country artist revealed. "But I think we'll go a little further with the comedy. And it's going to be on the big screen, so we'll try to make everything look bigger." The movie went into production on an estimated $30 million budget.
On the April 2 episode of The Miley & Mandy Show on YouTube, Miley spoke to Ryan Seacrest on flying to Tennessee in "two weeks" and would be staying for several months. She went to say there would be many guest stars, and herself riding horses and attending school.
Filming began in April 2008 in Los Angeles, California and Columbia, Tennessee. It entered post-production in July 2008. The beginning of the film was shot in Los Angeles including Franklin High School and Santa Monica Beach. Several of scenes were filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, based on Miley's and her father's hometown, for the scene that Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana's travels back home, with Fairground scenes filmed near the end of the movie.
There is a carnival scene filmed at Smiley Hollow in Ridgetop, TN where Peter Gunn's character hunts for the real Hannah in the crowd. He finds Jackson selling "Hannah wigs" and everyone around him looks like Hannah from the back so he turns them all around looking for the real one.
The songs "Backwards" (co-written by Marcel and Tony Mullins and recorded by Rascal Flatts) and "Crazier" (by Taylor Swift) were featured in the movie as well as "Game Over" and another hit song by UK rocker Steve Rushton. There were also a few musical numbers filmed, including "The Climb" and "You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home". 500 paid extras and 1500 volunteer extras were on hand during filming of these scenes. In some scenes, Miley rode horses.
A scene was filmed in the Cool Springs Galleria Mall (south of Nashville). It was filmed in the women's shoe department of the Belk store. Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Williams, and Tyra Banks were all in the scene, where Hannah fights with Tyra over a pair of shoes. Scenes were also filmed at Franklin High School. The school stood-in for the fictional Seaview High School which Miley and Lilly attend.
On June 3, 2008, there was an accident on the set during the filming. A huge wind blew a projection screen into a Ferris wheel full of passengers, who were extras for the movie. Fortunately, there was no serious injury. "When the wind caught it, all the cables were loose. It started [flying]," extra Brenda Blackford told Nashville station WKRN-TV. "I was watching to see which corner of it was gonna hit the Ferris wheel, because it was unavoidable". Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray were not on the set when the accident happened. Disney stated: "During a break in the filming of Hannah Montana: The Movie, a minor accident occurred involving a piece of production equipment. Fortunately, there were only a few minor injuries. Medical personnel have treated the extras and crew involved. None of the cast was on the set. Filming has resumed".
Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack on March 24, 2009, on the third anniversary of Hannah Montana's 2006 debut, with songs by Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and Steve Rushton. The score was originally to be written by Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri, and he penned a new song with Glen Ballard, "Butterfly Fly Away", which is sung in the film. Due to a scheduling conflict with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which he was also signed to score, he had to drop out. (However, a cue from Silvestri's score to The Mexican is tracked into the movie.) Stepping in was Oscar-nominated composer John Debney, who recorded his score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Sony Scoring Stage. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 137,592 sold in the first week, and after four weeks claimed the No. 1 spot. A karaoke version was released on August 18, 2009.
On January 15, 2009, the film's official trailer was released, along with the official poster on a website, as a sneak peek of the film was released in December 2008 on Disney Channel, including on New Year's Eve. On February 16, 2009, an exclusive Disney Channel preview was premiered alongside the music videos "The Climb" and "Hoedown Throwdown" from the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack previewed by Miley Cyrus. Cyrus also promoted the film and performed the film's lead single "The Climb" on various talk shows including, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, The Tyra Banks Show, and Rachael Ray. She also performed her song on American Idol on April 16, 2009.
A video game based on the film was released on April 7, 2009, three days before the film's release. The game was revealed by ESRB.
The film was issued a G rating from the MPAA for all ages admitted. The premiere of Hannah Montana: The Movie was held on April 2, 2009 in Los Angeles. The UK premiere was held in London on April 23, 2009; it was released in British and Irish cinemas on May 1, 2009. Play Along Toys released dolls and toys based on the film.
On its opening day, the film grossed $17,436,095, and earned $32,324,483 on its opening weekend, with a $10,367 average from 3,118 theaters, earning the No. 1 spot. However the film lost 58% of its gross its second weekend, falling to No. 3, earning $13,406,217 and $4,300 average and gaining 113 theaters. The film ended up grossing $79,576,189 in the US and Canada, and $75,969,090 overseas, and a total of $155,545,279 worldwide. The film beat the motion-picture animated film Coraline which garnered a total of $124,596,398 in theaters, but came after the film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit which grossed a total of $192,610,372.
Hannah Montana: The Movie received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes scored the film 44% based on 129 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "While youthful Miley fans won't complain, Hannah Montana the Movie is little more than a formulaic Disney Channel episode stretched thin." Metacritic gives a score of 47% based on 25 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Entertainment Weekly praised: "The surface lesson of the movie is that celebrity looks easy but is hard. The real lesson, as always, is that since even Miley has to work overtime to be Hannah, every girl in the audience – if she tries hard enough – can become the star she longs to be."
Peter Hartlaub from San Francisco Chronicle praised: "Hannah Montana: The Movie isn't an abomination. The characters are wholesome, the plot is easy to follow and the songs all sound the same, so you can really only get one stuck in your head at a time. But even as adults give their blessing for prepubescent moviegoers to see the film, they should be plotting to stay as far away from the theater as possible. If you're no longer old enough to carry a Hannah Montana lunch box, this movie will feel like punishment."
Atomic Popcorn stated: "Hip-hop and country. Like the Hannah Montana's theme song says, "You get the best of both worlds." Ten minutes before the movie started, the two rows of what looked to be 14-year-old girls started singing the TV show theme song. Over and over again. The little 6- to 10-year-old girls that filled the rest of the theater were singing along and dancing in their seats. My 16-year-old daughter said with a big smile on her face, 'Isn't this fun?' I said, with as much of a smile as I could muster, 'A little bit.'"
Blogcritics noted: "This movie definitely hit the target audience mark with the best opening day for a live action, G-rated movie. The predictable ending strays from the fun tone to address drama from the two main character arcs. Some stereotypes and commercialism weaken the movie, but target and general audiences can find a wide variety of appealing elements here while Hannah fans won't be disappointed."
Hannah Montana: The Movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 18, 2009. Hannah Montana: The Movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 7 in the UK. It was also released on DVD, Blu-ray and Disney Digital in Australia on October 21. First week sales were strong with 1,232,725 DVD copies sold and over $20 million in revenue. Total DVD sales to date stand at 3,610,964 and $61 million in revenue. Extras include behind the scenes, bloopers, sneak peeks and more.
There were 3 editions released:The 1-disc DVD (the normal DVD)
The 2-disc DVD (normal DVD and digital copy)
The 3-disc Blu-ray (the Blu-ray disc, the normal DVD and the digital copy)
The film made its world premiere on the Disney Channel on November 18, 2011, where it drew 4.6 million viewers.