“Those are pretty astonishing numbers for such a small production accompanied by such magical music."
—-Mark DiDia, Columbia Records


Fox Searchlight Sleeper Spawns Hot Soundtrack, Tour for Unlikely Duo
In a summer of multi-million-dollar blockbusters, Once is the little film that could, spawning a soundtrack hit for Columbia Records in the process.

The Fox Searchlight movie about an Irish singer/songwriter who collaborates with a Czech émigré he meets while busking on the streets of Dublin, was made on a shoestring budget of $150k, but has already generated more than $6.5 million in box office while playing in only 140 theaters nationwide.

“Those are pretty astonishing numbers for such a small production accompanied by such magical music,” says Columbia’s Mark DiDia, who has taken a personal interest in the project, originally brought to the label by Sony Music Soundtrax head Glen Brunman sight unseen after rapturous critical response from its Sundance Festival showing earlier this year.

The movie’s success has generated interest in the soundtrack, on Columbia through Steve Ralbovsky’s Canvasback imprint and Sony Music Soundtrax, which features the songs by The FramesGlen Hansard and 19-year-old Marketa Irglova, who are busy living out the romance they never quite consummate in the film, while embarking on a seven-city tour under the name The Swell Season.

“If you flirt with success, don’t be surprised if it offers you sex,” joked Hansard from the stage at L.A. El Rey Theatre recently, attributing the line to Irglova. “To be honest, I’ve spent the past weeks trying to make sense of all this.”

With talk of an Oscar nomination for "Falling Slowly" as best original song, the Once soundtrack was up 21% this week, moving over 90k in sales, with another 130k shipped, coming off an increase of 11% the week before.

In the seven markets where the duo has performed, sales have risen significantly, including L.A. (+35%), San Francisco (+45%), D.C. (+36%), Boston (+35%), Philadelphia (+33%) and Chicago (+19%).

Meanwhile, Hansard and Irglova are keeping busy. They recently performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and for a live concert broadcast on National Public Radio.

Steven Spielberg recently saw the film and gushed: “A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year.”

Hansard also credits the film for getting The Frames an invitation to open for Bob Dylan’s upcoming Australian tour, while the duo has been asked to cover Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” for the soon-to-be-released Todd Haynes-directed biopic, I’m Not There.

Hansard and Irglova originally met in Prague when they were introduced by a director who wanted them to create music for his film, which led to the two collaborating on Glen’s 2006 solo album, The Swell Season, and then the movie, directed by Hansard’s ex-mate in The Frames, John Carney. The Frames are currently signed to Epitaph’s Anti- imprint.