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The film became a major commercial and critical success upon its release in July 2007.Later that year, he was seen reprising his role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2 (2007), which aired on the Disney Channel in August 2007.
Efron next appeared as a part of the large ensemble cast in Garry Marshall’s New Year's Eve (2011), which depicted a series of holiday vignettes of different groups of characters.Efron reprised his role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), the first film in the High School Musical franchise to receive a theatrical release.The film became a major blockbuster at the box office, and received mixed to positive reviews from critics.He also starred alongside Nicole Kidman, Matthew Mc Conaughey, David Oyelowo, and John Cusack in The Paperboy (2012), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and received a wider release later that year.The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics.The film, which has been described as a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, saw Efron playing the male lead Troy Bolton, a high school basketball player who feels conflicted when he finds himself interested in participating in the school musical with Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a girl from the scholastic decathlon team.
The film, which also starred Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman in pivotal roles, became a major success and helped Efron gain recognition among teenage audiences.
The film’s soundtrack was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA, making it one of the best-selling albums of the year in the United States.
Efron’s singing talents were disputed when it was revealed that his voice had been blended with Drew Seeley’s on the soundtrack, but Efron clarified that the songs (written for a tenor) were written before he was cast and therefore did not suit his more baritone vocal range.
He began acting professionally in the early 2000s, and rose to prominence in the late 2000s for his leading role in the High School Musical franchise (2006–2008).
During this time, he also starred in the musical film Hairspray (2007) and the comedy film 17 Again (2009).
He also attended Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a community college located in Santa Maria, California, which provided him with the opportunity to perform as a "young player" during the years of 20.