by Emily Weber
Photo Credits: Warner Brothers Pictures
In a world…[say it in a deep trailer voiceover voice]…where re-makes, sequels and endless Batman movies dominate, there is ONE hero…His name is [dramatic pause] Arthur.
Its springtime, the weather’s nice, I’m feeling feisty and what better way to get my silly ON than to talk about great music in a fun trailer for what looks like a very bad movie remake.
For those of you tuning in for the first time, the purpose of these monthly rants is not only to educate, but also to chat about music in trailers. You may recall in my last article I mentioned the common myth that music from the film is the same as the music in the trailer. The one exception is when there is a recognizable theme from the movie (i.e. Star Wars or Harry Potter), but I failed to mention the times that maybe the theme wasn’t necessarily “score.” Let’s go back in time for a moment… back to 1981…
What is that you hear? A theme song? Why yes, it is the Academy Award-Winning song, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross. Written for the film, it was also used to promote the campaign.
What else do you hear? OK, I’m a dork, but I LOVE that they used Handel’s “Hallelujah (Messiah).” Not only does it make zero sense, it is hilarious (what else would you hear over a drunken Dudley Moore?), and it’s a bit foreshadowing considering that big, epic choir cues are the common thread in trailers of the future.
Now that we’ve enjoyed our trip back in time, let’s go back to the future.
There are two trailers for Arthur, and a handful of TV spots featuring the same music.
Now, THIS Arthur trailer is a wonderful example of why you need GOOD music to support footage from what is probably going to be a very bad movie. I’d like to give kudos to my fellow blogger/reviewer, Dustin Rowles who writes for Pajiba, and the title of his latest “bitchy” review: “The first trailer in the history of the world that not even ‘Under Pressure’ could save.”
Now, I don’t typically deal with music budgets for trailers in my line of work because I am the one supplying the music, however I do know that really ‘big’ songs by really “big” artists (such as Queen or David Bowie) do not come cheap. Considering that there is not a ton of music in the Arthur trailers or in the Arthur TV spots, I think it is possible that the studio ran out of the allotted money when they spent it all on 3 HUGELY recognizable songs?
In watching this trailer, you also hear the hit song, “All Right Now” by Free.
And also of note, there is the one indie artist featured in the beginning of Trailer 2:
“Act Like You Want It” by X5 feat. Mr. Fang.
Hollywood studios are scared to take big risks these days, so there are plenty of more remakes and sequels to come. Even though it was fun to talk about major song licensing in trailers this month, I am really excited to dig deeply into next month’s topic which will highlight some BIG trailer scores in movies that Hollywood is NEVER afraid to tackle: Comic book superheroes!
Emily Weber has specialized in music for trailers since approximately 2004. She currently works at Position Music, a trailer music supplier and publishing company/record label.