Star power more lucrative as license
As the movie star landscape grows ever more barren, it’s not surprising that the attention of Hollywood’s dealmakers has been riveted on the superstar of the moment — Kate.Since the Kate-and-Will tour received massive media attention, the royals had to forego the one thing that would have been the true highlight of their visit — namely, meetings with top talent agencies. The upshot of those meetings: We would soon see the emergence of Kate, the brand. The beautiful young woman who presently adorns the covers of almost every magazine in the world could have a more rewarding presence. As her prospective agents forcefully pointed out, it’s fine to become a cover but its more fiscally satisfying to also be a fragrance, a handbag or a watch. After all, even Paris Hilton has become a superstar brand, and the only lineage she can claim is to a hotel. The Kardashians can’t even reach that far. To accomplish all this would entail complex negotiations with stuffy royal bureaucrats, but Hollywood agents are skilled at cutting everyone in on the action. With a payday this formidable, rules could be rewritten and traditions defied. From Kate’s standpoint, joining Clooney and Hanks as a CAA client would have a nice cache. What other royal could ever claim to be a gross participant? A Kate signing would be a boon to the agency business, which has watched the superstar business become increasingly grim. The multiplexes this summer belong to a mix of Hangover victims, Transformers and assorted Potters. The Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts effort to revive memories of Tracy and Hepburn (“Larry Crowne”) met a quick rejection at the box office. Watching Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford grumpily promoting “Cowboys & Aliens” served as a vivid reminder that the superstar press junket is itself a sad anachronism. The reality is that superhero movies don’t need superstars. Besides, more and more established stars resist being cast as any character who originated as a cartoon. The ideal client for an agent is not a “serious” actor, but rather someone who’d prefer to be a brand than an actor. Hence the magic of Kate, the brand. Paris Hilton’s name is on 17 products and 30 stores. There’s a Club Paris, a Paris reality show and every form of clothing and footwear. Paris bills herself not just as a celebrity but as a “taste-maker.” While Kate faces some tough negotiations, a formidable weapon is on her side: Big Bucks. These are tough times for the British economy, and the royals, too, are feeling the pinch. The package could entail the following: the Kate brand retains a 50-50 split on licensing deals and branding agreements. Kate and Will get equal billing at all royal ceremonies. Pre-nup agreements will be re-negotiated. A step deal is concluded wherein the Queen has a six-month period to retire and name Will as her successor, thus leaping over the possibility of an excruciating Charles-and-Camilla interregnum. The Queen could retire with the assurance that the monarchy will enter a new era of High Glam, with a giant revenue influx pushing it upstream. Hollywood, meanwhile, could take satisfaction in knowing that its values and enterprise have bolstered those two great institutions — the monarchy and the talent agency business.
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