Million Dollar Baby
It's on. The race to deliver the first photo of baby Suri, born Tuesday to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise has begun. The winning paparazzo will probably earn at least $1 million (and possibly much more) for the sale of that first picture to the highest bidding celeb-centric publication.
Cruise's Los Angeles compound has been surrounded for weeks and the furor isn't likely to die down until baby Suri is thoroughly snapped. Why the high price? An insatiable public appetite. From tabloids to blogs devoted to celebrity babies, megastar baby shots are where the money (and the interest) is at.
Not so surprising, considering the frenzy, that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have chosen to de-camp to Namibia for the arrival of their soon-to-be-born child. One overzealous photog was recently pepper-sprayed after getting too close to Pitt and Jolie's son Maddox and New York magazine recently ran a PhotoShopped faker of a Pitt-lookalike and a computer composite of Jolie holding a well-swaddled newborn (the photo was used to illustrate an article about the celebrity photo business).
According to a recent Toronto Star report, People magazine paid $500,000 for photos of Britney Spears' baby and photos of Gwyneth Paltrow's first child, Apple, earned one photographer $100,000.
Which pix -- TomKat's or Brangelina's -- will bring the highest payoff? Hard to say. I'd tend to err on the side of Tom and Katie given the mystique surrounding their Scientology beliefs and sneaking suspicions many have that baby Suri might be green or have other signs of extra-terrestrial lineage. But then Brad and Angelina's choice of lions as added security probably ups the ante a bit and one recent report priced the value of their potential baby pics at $4 million.
A couple options do remain, though, for new celeb parents hoping to devalue, and thereby ease the demand, for photos of their children: Release official photos themselves (Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder sold photos of their newborn twins themselves last year, donating the proceeds to charity) or make the baby available for a five-minute shoot upon leaving the hospital (Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick did this when first child James Wilke was born in 2002).
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