Last year, it was Pete Townshend’s songs that were Who-biquitous in movies and on TV. This season, it’s U2 oldies that are inescapable, at least when it comes to movie trailers. Anyone who sits through teasers for Proof of Life, All the Pretty Horses, and The Family Man — which rock out to ”Until the End of the World,” ”All I Want Is You,” and ”One,” respectively — may feel like they’ve sat through The Best of U2. Curiously, none of the songs are in the films themselves. ”Our movie is a period piece, but the trailer can be more contemporary,” says Randy Spendlove, music prexy at Miramax, which is releasing Horses. And U2’s proven appeal to women and men is a plus for studios trying to sell a romantic movie to both. ”There’s nothing remotely chick-flicky about a U2 song,” says Adam Fogelson, senior ad VP at Universal, who excised all dialogue from the second half of the Family Man trailer to emphasize ”One.” What’s in it for U2? One studio attorney says a band of their stature usually earns a steep six-figure fee for each trailer, though the real value may lie in reminding moviegoers that their new CD is on sale at the mall.
The Beatles’ collection 1 opened at No. 1 in every country with an album chart — except Brazil, where the Backstreet Boys’ latest was released a week early. Now that the Fabs have cleared the vaults of their best outtakes, commissioned a book and a TV documentary, and finally released a single-disc hits compilation, is there anything left to exploit? Jeff Ayeroff, the ex-Virgin and -Work Group chief who came out of retirement to spearhead Capitol’s 1 marketing campaign, thinks so, though he hasn’t yet broached his concept with the proper Fab authorities. ”When my kids were born,” Ayeroff says, ”I made them a children’s Beatles album, with ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,’ ‘Yellow Submarine,’ all of that. I think that’s something every kid deserves.” Good idea… though it does raise the dilemma of whether the Eminem-style murder spree of ”Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” would make the cut.