Accompanying Wright’s vision of Neverland (populated by Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as pre-Captain Hook and newcomer Levi Miller as Peter Pan) is the anthemic refrain from singer-songwriter Christina Perri’s 2014 song “I Believe.” The lyrics “This is not the end of me / this is the beginning” capture the origin story’s heart.
The ad (titled “Tick Tock”) is up for a 2015 Golden Trailer Award for music. It was created by trailer house Transit, which hired boutique music production company the Hit House to “trailer-ize” Perri’s song and escalate it to cinematic proportions.
“The song was perfect because of the lyric,” says Sally House, co-owner of the Hit House. “It just wasn’t big and epic enough for a trailer. When you’re listening to something in 5.1 in the theater, it needs to blow you out of your seat.”
They reached out to Perri (to license the song), who was “beyond ecstatic.” “I’m obsessed with the story of Peter Pan,” she says. “I actually have a Captain Hook tattoo.
“You cater things to film just to amplify the emotion of a song. (“I Believe” was initially written for the charity To Write Love on Her Arms as a message to her younger self.) I consider myself a pretty dramatic person in general, so I love making my songs even more dramatic.”
To do that, Hit House composers Scott Miller and William Hunt wrote a new underscore for Perri’s vocal track and the children’s choir already in the song, adding live percussion, strings, brass, acoustic guitar, bass and ambient synth.
“All the instrumentation had to work around her voice so you don’t lose it,” House says. “You can’t get too big, too broad. We wanted to add magic, which the strings do. They instantly take it to the next level.”
For artists, having your song featured in a trailer is a welcome way to reach new ears. “Why not have your music out there as much as possible?” says Perri. “A trailer is cool because it gets people when they don’t know it. It gets even more people than you could possibly imagine hearing your song, and wondering what it is.”