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  • Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” is fused with Britney Spears’ “Toxic” in Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis.
  • Luhrmann was making a statement about Elvis with this choice.
  • “Viva Las Vegas” and “Toxic” were both hits.
"Viva Las Vegas" singer Elvis Presley holding a microphone
Elvis Presley| Frank Carroll/Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Elvis Presley‘s “Viva Las Vegas” appears in Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis, which probably isn’t too surprising. On the other hand, the fact it’s mixed with Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is much more avant-garde. Luhrmann explained the statement he made by including a Spears song in the movie.

Baz Luhrmann compared Elvis Presley’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ to Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’

During a 2022 interview with, Luhrmann was asked why “Toxic” appeared in Elvis. “All those things are not me just trying to be hip or something,” he said. “When Elvis goes to Hollywood, the music he is singing — ‘Bossa Nova Baby‘ right, or ‘Viva Las Vegas’ — it’s absolutely pop music.”

Luhrmann compared the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘s career to Spears’. “And just like Britney, who creates the quintessential ’90s pop music, you’re richer than God and you’re in the Hollywood bubble,” he said. “That’s what happens to Elvis. He’s gone from being this rebel, this punk, deeply steeped with his Black music friends doing radical music, to suddenly being isolated in Hollywood doing pop.”

Why Baz Luhrmann used a Britney Spears mashup instead of just using an Elvis Presley song

Luhrmann explained why he didn’t just play one of Elvis’ hits in the scene. “And so there’s a bit of Backstreet Boys in there as well because if I played you ‘Bossa Nova Baby’ you’re not gonna go like ‘Oh yeah, I get it,'” he said.

Luhrmann revealed he has a positive view of Spears. “I Love Brit Brit and I love ‘Toxic’… but when you’re doing that kind of pop, you’re just in a bubble,” he opined. “And that bubble will break, as it does for Elvis.”


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How ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘Toxic’ performed on the charts in the United States

“Viva Las Vegas” became a minor hit in the United States. The track reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for seven weeks. It appeared on the EP Viva Las Vegas, which hit No. 54 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for seven weeks.

“Toxic” was far more popular. The track reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 20 weeks. Spears released the song on her album In the Zone, which topped the Billboard 200 for one week, remaining on the chart for 45 weeks in total.

“Viva Las Vegas” and “Toxic” are songs from different eras — but Luhrmann saw a similarity between them.