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A total of 2.6 million copies. That's how many newsstand issues of People with the exclusive photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's newborn twins.

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August 18, 2008 People.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

CUTE AND CUDDLY PAYS THE BILLS: A total of 2.6 million copies. That’s how many newsstand issues of People with the exclusive photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, have sold, according to sources close to the magazine, citing early sales estimates for the issue. People and Hello reportedly snatched up the exclusive baby photos for a wallet-busting $14 million, the cost split between the two in some manner. People scored the domestic rights for the images; Hello bought the international ones.

The issue is the biggest seller in seven years, and is the fourth highest newsstand seller in the magazine’s 35-year history, behind the Sept. 11 issue (4.1 million single copies), the issue covering Princess Diana’s death (3 million) and the one covering the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. (2.8 million). The June 19, 2006 issue with the exclusive baby pictures of Brad and Angelina’s first daughter, Shiloh, moved 2.2 million newsstand copies (perhaps the extra Pitt-Jolie baby provided a bigger draw this time).

The issue’s 2.6 million newsstand sale is way above People’s average weekly newsstand sale of 1.5 million copies, but the issue has been on newsstands longer than a typical one. People released the issue on Aug. 4, two days before its regular newsstand drop date, and the issue will stay on stands for three weeks through Aug. 25. But People also raised its cover price for the special issue, to $4.49, or 50 cents more than its regular price. Along with the 2.6 million copies the issue is projecting to sell on newsstands, the babies also reached 2.3 million People subscribers, according to first-half numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The baby photos also helped People extend its online reach to record levels. recorded a record 6 million unique visitors for the first 24 hours the cover went online. Comparatively, usually averages around 8.8 million uniques a month, according to figures from Comscore Media Metrix. What will happen if Pitt and Jolie have triplets?

— Stephanie D. Smith
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