Can a song change your life?
So read the original title of the forthcoming music-themed rom-com “Begin Again,” set for national release July 11 and starring Keira Knightley and Adam Levine in his film debut, but the question could just as easily apply to a movie already out: “The Fault in Our Stars.”
The soundtrack to the epic tearjerker starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, which Atlantic Records released 17 days ahead of the film’s June 6 opening, already has sold more than 48,000 copies, making it the second-biggest-selling soundtrack for a film released in 2014. (At No. 1 is Divergent, with 79,000 units sold. The unstoppable Frozen arrived in 2013 but has moved 2.5 million so far this year.) Standing to benefit exponentially with the film’s wide opening is British singer Birdy, an 18-year-old whose second album, “Fire Within,” Atlantic released June 3. She has two songs in the film and an extra track on the deluxe edition of the soundtrack.
“We had five big slots where the studio was willing to replace temp tracks with music,” says Kevin Weaver, Atlantic Records Group president film and TV. “[Birdy’s] sound and her voice fit so well with what the story is about. It feels like we have something with cultural significance.”
“Fault” delivered an impressive $48.2 million opening weekend, easily beating Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” and Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow.”
One might think that young-adult book adaptation is a no-brainer when it comes to attracting a young, female audience, but “Fault” is no “Twilight.” A love story about two cancer-stricken teens, it’s neither a franchise nor ripe for a sequel, yet it was one of the most in-demand titles among record companies bidding for the soundtrack rights. An opportunity to incorporate music from its own roster was not lost on the winning label.
In addition to Birdy’s tracks, Weaver secured new music by Atlantic artists Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX, Grouplove and Lykke Li. Videos were created for each, with Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” being serviced to radio (in addition to plays in the prerelease trailer). Sheeran’s “All of the Stars,” meanwhile, will take center stage in a new TV spot.