They may not be of age to drink legally. Some aren’t even old enough to drive a car. But when it comes to banking millions, these folks are already pros.
Hollywood’s 10 top-earning tweens collectively pulled down $107 million between June 1, 2007 and June 1, 2008. Though many of the stars on Forbes’ list have already aged out of the 8-to-14-year-old demographic themselves, the bulk of their work still caters to that advertiser-beloved tween set.
According to Alloy Media and Marketing, it’s a rabid and often indulgent fan base: America’s 20 million kids aged 8 to 12 spend $51 billion of their own money annually and influence $150 billion more in spending by their doting parents.
Tied for the top spot: Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus and Harry Potter lead Daniel Radcliffe. The young talents each banked a cool $25 million in the last year.
At just 15 years old, Cyrus is the face of a billion-dollar brand. Her TV series proves a ratings stalwart for the Disney channel, and everything from lunch boxes to backpacks bear her face.
What’s more, her sold-out Best of Both Worlds 70-date concert tour raked in $54 million, and the 3-D concert movie brought in nearly $70 million more. Next up: a Hannah Montana flick for the big screen.
Though Cyrus’ saccharine-sweet image was temporarily tested when she posed for a Vanity Fair shoot in what appeared to be only a bed sheet, her cult-like fan base remained loyal. Proof: in its first week, her recently released, solo debut album Breakout sold some 371,000 copies. Its chart-topping success makes Cyrus the youngest star ever to have three No. 1 albums in a two-year span.
Radcliffe similarly tapped into the tween zeitgeist, thanks to his role as boy wizard Harry Potter in Warner Brothers’ $4.5 billion film franchise. Last summer, the British-born star signed a contract worth an estimated $50 million to continue his leading role in the last two Potter installations. The final story, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has since been split into two movies, which could mean even more cash for the 19-year-old star.
When he isn’t mixing potions, Radcliffe is doing his best to broaden his range — and his audience. He recently played the title role in My Boy Jack, a television movie about Rudyard Kipling’s ill-fated son. Next, he’ll make his Broadway debut in a revival of Peter Shaffer’s play Equus. Radcliffe’s earlier rendition, a stage play in London’s West End, drew tremendous media attention when the young star appeared nude.
Tabloid staples Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen place third on the list, banking an estimated $15 million over the course of the year. Though the 22-year-old starlets are no longer in the tween demographic, their tween-focused retail empire, Dualstar (which they assumed control of when they turned 18) continues to find buyers.
Now the fashion-forward twins, still best known for their shared role as precocious tot Michelle Tanner on ABC’s Full House, are trying to attract an older audience with two adult-focused fashion lines, the Row and Elizabeth & James.
Another set of siblings takes the no. 4 spot with earnings of $12 million. They are tween sensation the Jonas Brothers.
After a rocky start — the New Jersey-reared brothers were dropped by their Sony recording label — the clean-cut trio has proved they have enduring star power. Their franchise has already raked in upwards of $50 million from touring, album sales and merchandise.
When it comes to the Jonas Brothers, that’s only the beginning. In March, the brothers signed a multimillion-dollar, 140-show contract with concert promoter Live Nation. They kicked off their Burning Up tour in July and have a new CD, A Little Bit Longer, set for release this month. They also have a Disney channel series, titled J.O.N.A.S. (for Junior Operatives Networking As Spies) in the works, and a 3-D concert film coming to movie theaters in 2009.
Rounding out the top five is High School Musical star Zac Efron, who raked in $5.8 million in the last year.
Thanks to his success in the lucrative Disney franchise as well as last year’s summer blockbuster Hairspray, the 20-year-old heartthrob has scored parts in a slew of upcoming flicks. Among them: the Big-esque comedy Seventeen Again, indie biopic Me and Orson Welles and Disney’s highly anticipated silver-screen feature High School Musical 3.