"Twilight" sequel soundtrack hopes to make killing

Mon Nov 2, 2009 2:44am EST
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By Ann Donahue

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Just in case you've been in a sight-, sound- and Twitter-deprivation tank for the past two years, here's the lowdown on the "Twilight" franchise: It's a series of four books written by Stephenie Meyer about Bella, a human girl who hearts Edward, a vampire boy. This is awkward, due to Edward's predilection for snacking on platelets, but also because high school relationships are invariably angsty and messy.

The first of the series, "Twilight," became a feature film starring bed-headed porcelain heartthrob Robert Pattinson, and made almost $400 million last year at box offices around the world for its fledgling movie studio, Summit Entertainment. The accompanying soundtrack, featuring Paramore, Muse, Linkin Park

-- and a rather lovely track by Pattinson himself -- sold 2.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

On November 20, the adaptation of the second book in the series, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," hits theaters. The companion soundtrack claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 last week.

For the next three months, Atlantic wants to make the soundtrack inescapable. The label is teaming with teen lifestyle all-stars to promote the album: Hot Topic, MTV and MySpace. For those too old to wear black nail polish, the soundtrack also will be sold at Whole Foods, Nordstrom's, Hallmark and Hollywood Video.

But besides its omnipresence, there's a secret weapon the label is deploying for "New Moon." The soundtrack features tracks from Thom Yorke, Bon Iver & St. Vincent, Lykke Li and Sea Wolf, among others -- and they're all exclusive to the album.

"We had offers from artists that were incredibly wonderful and incredibly commercial, and it would have been easy to say, 'Oh, let's go for it because we'll sell more records' -- but it wouldn't have been true to the project," says Paul Katz, founder/CEO of Eye2Ear Music, which consults with Summit Entertainment on music; Katz produced the soundtrack album and has been involved since the script stage to determine where music could fit into the film.

The track list mediates the one bit of risk to the "Twilight" series: So far, the franchise owes its popularity to the capricious crushes of teenage girls. Getting "Twihards" who love virtuous vampires to buy the soundtrack is easy -- but getting Radiohead fans to plunk down cash for a little bit of the "New Moon" universe will be a coup.   Continued...