The Bee Gees' ''Stayin' Alive'' is, well, staying alive. The tune to which John Travolta haughtily struts in 1977's Saturday Night Fever can be heard in two new movies: the comedy Bushwhacked and the cyber thriller Virtuosity. But both productions claim that securing the disco ditty was a bit of a hustle. ''We had to pay through the nose,'' says Bushwhacked producer Paul Schiff. ''Because of Travolta's comeback, anything connected to Fever is more expensive.'' Schiff refused to reveal the price, but according to Brian Lambert at BMG Songs, ''a well-known tune in a feature film can go for five to six figures.''
And even though Paramount owns the rights to Fever, its new release Virtuosity couldn't get ''Stayin''' wholesale. ''We had to pay the Bee Gees market value,'' says a studio spokesman. ''No favors.''
The producers shouldn't feel singled out. The song is the Bee Gees' ''most sought-after piece of music we get over 1,000 requests every year,'' says Michelle Binkewicz, of PolyGram Records' licensing department. She adds that the Gibbs (Barry, Robin, and Maurice) personally review every request and approve about a third. And if the high cost doesn't get you, Binkewicz says the big restriction attached to the signature tune might: ''No references to disco or disco dancing. They're trying to stay as far away from that as they can.''