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Literati, make way for the Olsen Twins

Billboard,4/6/96 The twins, forever! Neither a corporate split nor a parental phfft! will keep the Olsen Twins from generating money in television, video, the movies, and now, books. Dualstar Entertainment, which guides the business destinies of Mary-Kate and Ashley, is leaving no medium untouched in a strategy expanded to include a book series published by Parachute Press and distributed by Scholastic. The line, "The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley," will consist of print versions (80 Pages, $3.99 list) of eight video titles already in stores. Dualstar plans a heavy cross-promotion schedule. For example, there's a 30-second promo for the first four books on 250,000 cassettes each of "The Case of the U.S. Space Camp Mission" and "The Case of the Shark Encounter"; a 60-escond spot will appear on copies of the twins' feature film, "It Takes Two." Warner Home Video is expected to ship more than 3 million copies of "It Takes Two." Each box will contain a four-color book insert. "No children's books ever got this kind of exposure," boasts one source close to the project. Scholastic, which has already portrayed books from the series "The Baby-Sitters' Club" and "Goosebumps" into significant video sales, thinks it has another winner. Certainly, the cross-promotional opportunities should do wonders for the Dualstar/Warner Home Video relationship, which hit a rough patch when the twins lost the helping hand of WarnerVision president Stuart Hersch, who had wooed them away from BMG Video. After he left and WHV absorbed WarnerVision, talk surfaced that Dualstar, anxious about being just another entry in an extensive studio catalog, would seek another home. However, the ties have tightened. Warner Bros. is said to have two movies in development for Mary-Kate and Ashley. Meanwhile, though, the kids will have to endure their parents' divorce, which is likely to slow Dualstar activities.