‘Narnia’ plans soundtrack strategy

Disney, EMI double up on 'Wardrobe' music

NEW YORK — Walt Disney Studios has pacted with EMI Music to produce two soundtracks inspired by “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” — one headlining mainstream Christian music artists, the other, pop and rock.

Unique deal reflects Disney’s belief that “Chronicles” will appeal to the religious set in addition to the secular. Tentpole pic, based on C.S. Lewis’ acclaimed children’s book series, will be released Dec. 9.

“I would have to say that for both the company and for me personally, this is clearly the broadest breadth of music merchandising that we’ve ever been involved in,” said Mitchell Leib, prexy of music and soundtracks for Walt Disney Pictures & TV/Buena Vista Music Group.

Leib said it is unusual to have a property with such a diverse and distinctive fan base.

Walt Disney Records will produce the official “Chronicles” soundtrack featuring a score and one song composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. It also is planning to produce a soundtrack for young tots.

EMI will work with Disney and Walden Media, co-producer of “Chronicles,” in developing the Christian and pop-rock soundtracks. Companies said talks are underway with numerous bestselling artists, but declined to comment on particular names.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based EMI CMG will release the record featuring Christian music artists worldwide on Sept. 27. Pop-rock soundtrack will debut on Oct. 25. Radio singles and music videos from both recordings will bow in August.

“The appeal of C.S. Lewis’ classic series is universal, and his writings have stood the test of time bringing pure enjoyment to generations of readers,” said EMI Music North America chair-CEO David Munns.

“The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe” is the first novel in Lewis’ series, and was published in 1950. Series has sold more than 85 million copies to date.

Lewis was a religious scholar and friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings” series.

Walden Media VP of Motion Picture Music Lindsay Fellows said keeping the integrity of Lewis’ work is a top priority.

“EMI’s team understands this and their musical contributions will have a major impact on his legacy and this amazing film,” Fellows said.