Japanese and American relations collide yet again, albeit in an unusually harmonious fashion, for the film soundtrack to 20th Century Fox’s “Rising Sun.”
Created by prolific Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (“Woman in the Dunes, “”Double Suicide,””Ran”) at the behest of director Philip Kaufman, the score is set for album release Friday on 20th Century Fox Film Scores, a special imprint of the studio’s new in-house record label, Fox Records.
“Rising Sun” is the fourth album issue on the new imprint, which bowed in two divisions for the Christmas release of “Home Alone II” and its pair of soundtrack albums: the John Williams score issued under the composer-friendly 20 th Century Fox Film Scores banner and a collection of pop songs released on Fox Records, a broader, mass-market arm that will feature non-soundtrack albums by a developing roster of acts linked to Fox.
Five artists are already aboard: ’80s hitmakers Big Country, Minneapolis band Carnival Strippers, “In Living Color” cast member Jamie Foxx, female rapper Simply E, and composer Jerry Goldsmith, who’s plotting a concept album. Soundtracks will also profile Fox acts; Simply E’s musical debut will appear in the Wesley Snipes starrer “Sugar Hill.”
Fox Records fills a void left when former Fox owner Martin Davis sold the company’s previous label to Polygram in the ’80s. According to Geoff Bywater, Fox Records’ senior VP, marketing and promotion, the label was created to exploit its own film and television soundtrack output. In the past, the studio licensed away such lucrative album deals as “The Commitments,””Beverly Hills, 90210,””The Simpsons” and “The Heights,” the latter of which achieved gold sales despite the show’s early cancellation. The label’s first release, the soundtrack for “Home Alone II,” sold 200,000 and Fox projects more when it’s reprised this fall as “Home Alone Christmas,” a disc combining music from “Home Alone” and the sequel.
Fox’s concurrent release of the CD and “Home Alone II” home video will be maximized with a side-by-side retail positioning, a promotional music video (shipping this week for an early pre-Christmas buzz) and a homevideo commercial lead-in touting the album for a projected 33 million consumer impressions.
“This project is a great example of Fox’s corporate synergy,” Bywater said. “Our goal is to take this record gold, a rare target for soundtrack sales. With 20 to 25 Fox films released annually, we estimate that perhaps five or six will be commercially viable as soundtrack albums, all of which will be issued on Fox Records.”
Fox Records is distributed by BMG. What is unique about the deal is that we’re able to select project partners from the wholly owned BMG companies with full promotional and marketing support, so we’ll be seeing Fox soundtracks on Arista, RCA and Zoo.”
Fox Records has also issued the “Hoffa” soundtrack album, is gearing up for “Beverly Hillbillies” and has high hopes for “Rising Sun,” given Takemitsu’s global reputation.
“It was immensely gratifying to work with Phil (Kaufman), someone working at the same artistic level as myself,” said Takemitsu, who recorded in Tokyo with an all-Japanese orchestra.
“Rising Sun” producer Peter Kaufman agreed. “Phil and I were thrilled when Toru agreed to make ‘Rising Sun’ his first film score for a non-Japanese work,” he said.
The “Rising Sun” soundtrack recording was filmed by an Oscar-nominated documentary team for “Music for the Movies: Tori Takemitsu,” honoring Takemitsu’s artistic contributions to more than nine films.