Just-married Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have done it again.
First, they pulled off a secret wedding in their French chateau on Aug. 23. Now they've whipped the many-tentacled media monster to exert total control over coveted pictures of said wedding, with proceeds — in the millions — to go to their charitable foundation. Again.
The global media giant Getty Images announced today it will partner with the Jolie-Pitt Foundation "on exclusive distribution of photographs" of the wedding, "with all proceeds going to support the foundation's vital work" in international health and development.
The photographs, shot by photographer David James, were published "exclusively" today by Hello and People magazines. They're not commenting but they likely paid a premium, as they have in the past, to get the pictures first.
To maintain their exclusivity, the magazines didn't put their covers on Twitter (they want to bump up newsstands sales instead), but that didn't stop others from blaring them in their own tweets.
Getty will control further distribution of the pictures to any publication willing to pay for them (for far less than what the two magazines paid), and those proceeds will go to the foundation, too.
How much does this deal involve? No one is saying but it's not going to be peanuts, says Getty CEO Jonathan Klein.
"It's a significant amount of money. We're not at liberty to say how much, but it's many millions of dollars," he told USA TODAY.
He says it's a "very smart way" for that elite group of celebrities who command these kinds of prices to raise money for their charities. They get to edit the pictures, and they get to exert some control over who publishes them, at a time when "prices for these kinds of pictures are nowhere near as high as they were five or six years ago" thanks to a changing celebrity media environment, Klein says.
The magazines, under increasing pressure at the newsstands from social media, prefer charity deals because they feel better about stretching on the price, he adds.
It's the sort of deal Getty pioneered, and has brokered for Jolie and Pitt in the past. When the couple's daughter Shiloh was born in 2006, they reportedly got $4 million from People magazine for her baby photos, which they donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. They did the same thing for an even bigger payday – a reported $14 million from People and Hello again – when their twins Knox and Vivienne were born in 2008.
"Getty Images is a longtime supporter of international health and development efforts and has generated significant funds to support the (Jolie-Pitt) foundation's global endeavors over the years," Klein said.