Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt broke records this weekend, and I'm not talking about the box office. The star-power duo just gave birth to twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, and sold photos of them for $11 million.
An unnamed American publication paid for the pics, and the pay out isn't going into the Jolie-Pitt family's bank account; they're donating it to their favorite charity. While the publishing industry is suffering, the celebrity magazine business is booming. And the hopeful magazine that bought these photos must be counting on quite a boost in circulation--and then ad rates--from its purchase.
The numbers seem shockingly huge, but the multi-million dollar photo deals must be worth it since the magazines keep coming back for more. In 2006, when Brangelina had their last child, Shiloh, People Magazine paid $4.1 million for the U.S. rights and Hello! Magazine paid $3.5 million for the international rights.
And Jolie and Pitt are hardly the only celebrities cashing in. Jennifer Lopez's twins brought in $5 million from People Magazine. Matthew McConaughey got $3 million from OK Magazine for photos of his son Levi). People paid Christina Aguilera $2 million for her son Max's photos. Nicole Richie and Joel Madden were paid $1 million for photos of their daughter Harlow. And even Anna Nicole Smith continues to draw attention--and money--from the grave. OK magazine paid $1.7 million for the first photos of Smith's daughter Danielynn Birhead with her father.
Then there are the celebrities who refuse a payday. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reportedly weren't paid a dime for the huge coverstory Vanity Fair ran on them after baby Suri was born. But then if you think about the value Cruise and Holmes derived from the overwhelmingly positive article, the quid pro quo makes sense.
Nicole Kidman is another mega celebrity to give birth. Apparently she and husband Kieth Urban haven't yet decided what to do about the whole "selling celebrity baby photos" issue. We'll be watching, or rather, we'll be reading our celeb magazines. And I suppose, that's what the magazine editors are counting on when they make this kind of absurdly expensive purchase.