Variety‘s Artisans series sat down with several music supervisors from some of the most musically iconic films in recent memory and asked them about the most amount of money they’d ever spent on a track for inclusion in a film. Thomas Golubic, who has done music placement for shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead”, revealed that the biggest deal he’d ever brokered was for AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck” in the film “Varsity Blues”. The price tag: a massive $500,000.
“I remember being absolutely horrified when I heard that number,” Golubic recalls. “And we spent a lot of time coming up with what we thought were great alternates, but there was going to be no budget on that, and they had money so they paid for it.”
AC/DC has had its music featured in other movies, going back to 1986 with the release of “Who Made Who”, the soundtrack to the Stephen King film “Maximum Overdrive”. In 2010, the band came far closer to releasing a “proper” greatest-hits album with the arrival of the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack, featuring 15 songs that were an almost even split between the Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras of the iconic hard rock group.
AC/DC has famously been reluctant to license its music for advertising, although the band appears to have softened its attitude toward the practice. In 2011, AC/DC allowed the opening riff to its “Back In Black” song to be used in a commercial for Walmart, three years after making its “Black Ice” album available for sale in the U.S. exclusively at Walmart stores.
“They have a purist approach,” Steve Barnett, the chairman of Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, told The New York Times. (He also managed the band from 1982 to 1994.) “Their instinct was always to do the right thing for fans, think long term and not be influenced by financial rewards.”