Justin Bieber: The $53 Million Dollar Kid

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Let’s pick a number. Any number. Say, $53 million.

Quite a few movies brought in over $53 million dollars in 2010. Several video games likely exceeded that amount after a day or two on the shelves. The US Government probably lends that to a dozen sub-Saharan nations bi-annually. $53 million would also have covered all of this year’s Royal Wedding with $20 million to spare (but it would only cover half of Charles and Diana’s nuptials). But really and truly, how many 17-year-olds do you know whose take-home pay was $53 million last year?

Before we address the kids who cannot rent cars, buy beer, or vote but who are effectively keeping huge portions of the American entertainment industry afloat, some other things. First, we got lots of cool movie poster feedback from you guys yesterday (and we’re still getting more) – stay tuned and next week we’ll use your movie poster picks for our daily poll. And second, in wedding news, congratulations to fashion designer & Project Runway impresario Michael Kors who made it legal with longtime partner Lance LaPere, while actress Amber Tamblyn is now officially engaged to her longtime partner, Arrested Development’s David Cross. Bravo all around.

So back to the wildly affluent kids. This of course means we have another one of those lists, which some  people find horrifying (legitimately so) and others (like me) find curiously addictive. But when you get right down to it, who doesn’t love a list? People Magazine knows this as well as anyone, which is why they’ve now compiled theirs of the Richest Teen Entertainers (which includes both actors and musicians). And People’s a dicey proposition for me; even though I love to read it I know every time I visit the site I will have one mission in mind (said Richest Teens list) only it’s at least 2 ½ hours before I ever get there, because I fall prey instantly to their fabulous “Stars and Their Dogs” photo gallery every time. Talk about addictive. Anyway, Justin Bieber’s atop the Richest Teens list, and it’s not all from his music. There was that blockbuster movie (Never Say Never) plus huge proceeds from his fragrance (named –  with a wink towards adulthood — “Someday”). Miley Cyrus also topped People’s list, earning $48 million last year, and then of course we have Taylor Lautner, The Bieb’s-Better-Half Selena Gomez ($8.5m), and Willow and Jaden Smith bringing in massive paychecks as well ($9m each). Basically, there’s never been a better time to be an attractive, charismatic teen in the public eye. Nor does the great pipes & savvy handlers combo hurt either. I also know plenty of people who disparage them all, saying they have neither talent nor staying power. To whom I say, fair enough. On the other hand, if you’ve ever sat down with a bunch of ten-year-old girls and asked them what movies they’re watching and the singers they love and the topic turns to Justin Bieber, you’ll often get an instant and cataclysmic change in response. Theirs is a devotion that easily rivals the fanbase of professional sports teams. It’s astounding. It’s also a) beyond emphatic and b) not something that can be faked. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure this kid is here to stay.

What do you think? Is Justin Bieber worth it?

Today’s poll:

Justin Bieber was named People Magazine’s Richest Teen. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these others on the list is your favorite:

1)   Miley Cyrus

2)   Nick Jonas

3)   Taylor Lautner

4)   Jaden/Willow Smith

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