In my book, "Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money," I refer to the players in the fame game as the Hollywood Industrial Complex—an internecine web of businesses, all working to create value from everything a celebrity does.
It includes agents, managers, and publicists, each in their own way creating new business models and revenue streams for the complex’s front line—the celebrities themselves.
These individuals are constantly working to monetize everything in a celebrity’s life.
Take the question of whether Celebrity X should marry Celebrity Y. It triggers a complex series of negotiations between X’s and Y’s respective teams. How can the value of a marriage be maximized? Will it help or hurt X and Y?
The same holds true for the questions: Should X adopt a baby from Africa or Asia? Which market buys more movie tickets/music downloads? Should Y create a celebrity fragrance? Should X cheat on Y with Z? What is Z’s brand value? It’s the algebra of agent speak.
Very little is precious in Hollywood. Even less is immune from the machinations of moneymaking, even babies. As the tabloid magazine market reached a tipping point and Internet gossip began to gain legs in the mid-2000s, the tiniest stars in Hollywood—celebrity babies—became the focus of multimillion-dollar bidding wars. Celebrity spawn became hot commodities, leading to the most expensive baby picture sale of all time.
Editors of celebrity weekly magazines later saidit was a little like a drug deal—the day they were led into a dark office and shown the first pictures of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, premiere biological spawn of movie stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and asked to place bids. The question posed to the editors was deceptively simple and impossible to answer with any confidence: How much were these photos worth?