Speculation is rife that Christina Aguilera and that guy she’s married to were paid $1.5 million for the first pictures of new son Max. Harlow Winter Madden is worth about half that, although no figure has been put on what the price might have been if the babies had appeared on the cover together.
Jennifer Lopez is set to make $4-6 million for her twins, which is similar to the high sum paid for Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s debut, which earned a whopping $4.1 million. Her adopted sibling was not considered as cute at age four as a baby, and was worth about half that.
Why do babies make so much money for magazine covers? Is it because celebrities demand that much compensation for losing their private life? (Not that this stops them complaining later when paparazzi try to take pictures of the same child.) It’s because their covers sell.
“We just do tremendously well on the newsstand when we’ve got celebrity babies on the cover,” says Caperton (Kate, OK! magazine deputy editor), “because people love being with their favorite stars in these really important moments in their lives.”
Setting up a safe shoot with a guaranteed paycheck works out well for the parents, too.
“It’s more beneficial for celebrities to cooperate with a company like us to do their baby pictures versus not doing it, because then paparazzi will chase them and will not stop until they get the picture of that celebrity with the baby,” (Roxanne, Getty Images) Motamedi says. “But once the pictures are out, there is really no value of paparazzi chasing them and trying to get the baby shot.”
Is it because we love to see how mum’s looking post-birth? They usually look way better than anyone else. There is a reason new mothers rarely send out pictures of mother and baby together in those first few days – the baby looks cute and they look like they’ve been through Hell. Probably because they have.
Or is it just because we all love babies?
Of course, babies don’t have to be fodder for checkbook journalism. Vanity Fair didn’t pay anything for rights to the first photos of Suri Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. But that September 2006 issue still sold 60% more copies on newsstands than the average for that half of the year. The sell-through was such an anomaly that the title was forced to warn against comparing September 2006 sales with the abnormally successful issue a year prior.
Plenty of editors say paying up will pay you back. “It depends on what the cost is, but it’s a nice positive antidote to the more crazy celebrity stories that go on,” said Sarah Ivens, editor in chief of OK, part of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell empire.
Oh, I like that idea. I’d much rather see a baby than Britney Spears looking like a train wreck. Interestingly, Britney the train wreck must sell more magazines than her son Sean Preston, when he featured on the cover of People sales were down 15%.
Interestingly, I love babies more than ice cream, but actually couldn’t care less about a picture of one. That could be anyone’s child, one baby is pretty hard to tell from another. That’s why they are so careful putting name tags on them in the hospital. Partly because they can’t talk, but mostly due to the fact it’s hard to tell them apart.
So, I’m sensing a business opportunity here. I have a particularly cute baby at my place. Blue eyed, smiles lots, has a reasonable amount of dark hair, but not like the crazy mop Suri Cruise had. Wanna hire her? Just in case your ugly celebrity baby isn’t up to the pictures. The bidding starts at $1 million – that should pay for her and her siblings to go to college.
Picture note by Celebitchy: Remember these baby pictures of Shiloh? They were a big deal when they came out in June, 2006 and were featured in People and Hello!.