Whitney Houston’s family is ready to cash in… with a movie, stage show and make-up line 

ALISON BOSHOFF: Whitney Houston has gone but her family is ready to cash in… with a movie, a stage show, and even a new make-up line

Whitney Houston’s incomparable talent was lost just over a decade ago, after her drug-related death at the age of 48.

However, it can be revealed that her estate has signed a series of mega commercial deals which will make a fortune all over again — for her family.

The strategy will kick off with a film, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, released in the UK by Sony on Boxing Day and starring British actress Naomi Ackie.

That will be followed by a Broadway show about Houston’s life, a gospel album of unreleased songs, a Vegas spectacular show — and the return of the much-derided ‘hologram tour’.

In addition, a deal has been signed with MAC for a range of Whitney Houston make-up (with products labelled ‘Nippy’, after the star’s childhood nickname).

Whitney Houston¿s incomparable talent was lost just over a decade ago, after her drug-related death at the age of 48

Whitney Houston’s incomparable talent was lost just over a decade ago, after her drug-related death at the age of 48

A Whitney perfume is out already, as is a range of merchandise encompassing everything from T-shirts to keychains. But there are also plans to position the singer in the charts again, masterminded by firm Primary Wave, which took a stake in Houston’s estate three years ago.

It tasted success after putting out her cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground last year and now intends to re-release more of her less familiar recordings.

The irony is that while the singer’s last years were plagued with money issues, funds are now set to pour in as never before.

One of the beneficiaries will be her brother Michael, who admitted after her death that he was the one who introduced his sister to drugs. Her other brother Gary also benefits from the estate, while his wife Pat is the executor in charge of finalising the deals.

Whitney’s mother Cissy, with whom she had a tricky relationship, is the other beneficiary.

Houston drowned in a hotel bathtub on the eve of the Grammy Awards in 2012, after a cocaine binge. Nick Broomfield, whose 2017 film Whitney: Can I Be Me focused on the star’s struggles, told me: ‘I am not surprised by all the commercial plans. It is entirely in keeping with that bunch of people.

‘It is well known that there were troubles in her relationships with the brothers and mother. Clive Davis [Whitney’s record producer] did a brilliant job of selling her and re-packaging her, but she grew up in Newark and it was very rough. Both of her brothers were seriously addicted to drugs and that’s how she got into it.’

However, it can be revealed that her estate has signed a series of mega commercial deals which will make a fortune all over again ¿ for her family

However, it can be revealed that her estate has signed a series of mega commercial deals which will make a fortune all over again — for her family

The strategy will kick off with a film, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, released in the UK by Sony on Boxing Day and starring British actress Naomi Ackie (pictured)

The strategy will kick off with a film, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, released in the UK by Sony on Boxing Day and starring British actress Naomi Ackie (pictured)

He adds: ‘By the time of her death, Whitney was supporting an enormous entourage of people, starting with her family, who now run the estate. She was an incredibly generous woman, who had a big heart.’

In an interview, Pat Houston has said: ‘Her legacy is music, and it’s about preserving her legacy. We’re only going to do projects that make her shine and she would have wanted this.’

The 2019 arrangement with Primary Wave saw the company acquire 50 per cent of Whitney’s estate, which was valued at $14 million. But the Whitney movie alone may net treble that amount.

Primary Wave’s Adam Lowenberg said he wanted ‘one or multiple songs from the Whitney catalogue to go top 10 or top 20’. He added: ‘Our goal, as the stewards of Whitney Houston, is not just to have a bump in sales but to continue after the movie has run.’

The family declined to comment on the latest developments. They released their own documentary a year after Broomfield’s called, simply, Whitney.

The hologram tour, An Evening With Whitney Houston, ended in Vegas in June, despite being scheduled to run until 2023. Critics called it a ‘shameless money grab’ and complained the hologram didn’t look like the singer.

 Why Aled’s girl is onto a winner

Actress Emilia Jones — daughter of singer Aled and star of Oscar-winning film CODA — has just finished work on her new movie, Winner.

It’s about a young Texan woman jailed for leaking classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency, where she worked as a translator.

Jones, 20, plays Reality Winner (yes, that’s her real name), with White Lotus star Connie Britton as her mum Billie. Jones was in New York this week at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where actor Adam Sandler made a funny speech while picking up a ‘performer tribute’ award.

When explaining why his daughters were not in attendance, he quipped: ‘I don’t want to spend a whole night that’s supposed to be about me and my greatness listening to [them] screaming: “Where is Timothee Chalamet?!”’

Actress Emilia Jones ¿ daughter of singer Aled and star of Oscar-winning film CODA ¿ has just finished work on her new movie, Winner

Actress Emilia Jones — daughter of singer Aled and star of Oscar-winning film CODA — has just finished work on her new movie, Winner

Hugh Dennis is still aggrieved — some 40 years on — about a disappointing family holiday. The Outnumbered star, 60, recalls that in the summer he was awaiting his A-level results, his parents decided they should all go on a crafting holiday in the Hebrides. He told the podcast My Time Capsule: ‘I went to a disused post office on the island of Mull. I spent two weeks making a raffia guitar strap. And I didn’t even have a guitar. Most of my mates were on a kibbutz, having their first sexual experiences. And I was making a raffia guitar strap off the north-west coast of Scotland.’

Hugh Dennis is still aggrieved ¿ some 40 years on ¿ about a disappointing family holiday

Hugh Dennis is still aggrieved — some 40 years on — about a disappointing family holiday

Corset of true love runs smooth for ITV’s new star Karla-Simone

Actresses often complain about the pain of wearing a corset — but not Karla-Simone Spence. She so loved the bodices she was laced into for ITV’s forthcoming lesbian blockbuster The Confessions Of Frannie Langton, she wore a corseted dress to the show’s launch.

‘Since playing Frannie, I’ve been obsessed with corsets,’ says 26-year-old Spence. ‘I just love the look. It was really enjoyable wearing them — and I know no one ever says that. But the corsets I had weren’t the Regency corsets — they were shorter. They looked great.’

Actresses often complain about the pain of wearing a corset ¿ but not Karla-Simone Spence. She so loved the bodices she was laced into for ITV¿s forthcoming lesbian blockbuster The Confessions Of Frannie Langton, she wore a corseted dress to the show¿s launch

Actresses often complain about the pain of wearing a corset — but not Karla-Simone Spence. She so loved the bodices she was laced into for ITV’s forthcoming lesbian blockbuster The Confessions Of Frannie Langton, she wore a corseted dress to the show’s launch

The actress got her big-screen break in the gang drama Blue Story. In the new series, she plays a young Jamaican woman, born into slavery, who is brought to Georgian London

The actress got her big-screen break in the gang drama Blue Story. In the new series, she plays a young Jamaican woman, born into slavery, who is brought to Georgian London

The actress got her big-screen break in the gang drama Blue Story. In the new series, she plays a young Jamaican woman, born into slavery, who is brought to Georgian London. Given to a family, she falls in love with her mistress. It’s based on Sara Collins’s 2019 novel and will debut on the launch night of streaming service ITVX next Thursday. ‘It’s great to see a Jamaican black woman in Georgian London — and with historical context,’ adds Spence. ‘My family is Jamaican as well, so just to be able to play that as a lead character is incredible.’

Meanwhile, Collins says she regrets not insisting on a cameo role in the show. She says: ‘I would like to have been one of the spanking experts with whom Frannie becomes acquainted while she is working in a spanking brothel, punishing some of the most influential men in Georgian London. The chance to wield a whip on camera — I can’t think of anything better!’

Yours for £19,999 — tickets to go to the Golden Globes

The scandal-hit Golden Globes have suffered another blow, as it can be revealed that tickets for next month’s awards ceremony are on sale for £19,999 on a concierge website.

It’s not clear who has put them there, but the events company says it has ‘very limited’ tickets available for the show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10. Buyers will get full access including ‘dinner and awards show, seated with the celebrities’.

A Globes source says: ‘Buyers beware, because it is extremely unlikely that tickets can be bought and sold. There are very few tickets and they are given to named and nominated individuals, and you can’t come in if you are not that person. We are aware that tickets are offered sometimes but believe that it may simply be a scam.’

Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which conducts the event, have already come under fire for allegedly accepting freebie trips, with 30 out of the then 87 members spending two nights in Paris in 2019 at the expense of the makers of TV show Emily In Paris.

An investigation by the LA Times last year found the HFPA regularly paid its members $1 million-plus a year for serving on various committees.

The scandal-hit Golden Globes have suffered another blow, as it can be revealed that tickets for next month¿s awards ceremony are on sale for £19,999 on a concierge website

The scandal-hit Golden Globes have suffered another blow, as it can be revealed that tickets for next month’s awards ceremony are on sale for £19,999 on a concierge website

It also emerged the organisation did not have a single black member. This has since been addressed by a membership drive focusing on ‘under-represented groups’. A Globes source said its voting body is now 52 per cent female and 51.5 per cent ‘racially and ethnically diverse’, making it ‘the most diverse major award in Hollywood’.

In addition, the HFPA has announced reforms aimed at eliminating ‘ethical conflicts’. All members must now sign up to a code of conduct.

This might please actress Scarlett Johansson, who complained last year that she had been subjected to ‘sexist questions and remarks’ by HFPA members. The nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes were announced by rapper Snoop Dogg (pictured), but there was a celebrity boycott of the untelevised awards ceremony, which was ‘broadcast’ on Twitter.

Brendan Fraser, who could be in the running for his performance in The Whale, has already said he will not attend January’s ceremony. The actor has accused ex-HFPA president Philip Berk of groping him back in 2003. Berk has denied the allegations and dismissed Fraser’s version of the story as a ‘total fabrication’.

I hear several other big names won’t go either — including Daniel Craig and Olivia Colman.

To add to the Globes’ woes, the announcement of a host — usually made in September — appears to have been delayed. One Hollywood insider says: ‘I hear they are having trouble finding anyone to front it.’

The Golden Globes are sometimes seen as a barometer for the Academy Awards. The HFPA will announce its nominations on December 12.

Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner has made a stunning, disturbing piece of work in Last Flight Home, which tells the story of her father’s final days and medically assisted death.

Eli Timoner was 92 and had been paralysed for 40 years after a stroke. He was told he would have to go into a home due to congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As the film opens, he tells his daughter: ‘If they could give me goodbye powder, I’d take it.’ The film shows him making the choice to die, under California’s End of Life Option Act; saying his goodbyes to friends over Zoom; and, at the end, struggling to drink a smoothie of bitter poison, which has to be drained by him — unaided and in full — in two minutes.

Ondi told me: ‘I wanted to capture him somehow, but it was terrifying. My mum watched the film every night. It comforts her to know that he is at peace now.’

Is it goodbye to Little Mix?

Have Little Mix performed their last Shout Out? It seems possible because their company, Eternal Magic Touring, has closed.

Documents filed at Companies House reveal the three remaining members — Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 31; Perrie Edwards, 29; and Jade Thirlwall, 29 — are splitting a windfall of almost £10 million. (Fourth member Jesy Nelson, 31, left in 2020, citing mental health issues, and has launched a solo career.)

Documents filed at Companies House reveal the three remaining members ¿ Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 31; Perrie Edwards, 29; and Jade Thirlwall, 29 ¿ are splitting a windfall of almost £10 million. (Fourth member Jesy Nelson, 31, left in 2020, citing mental health issues, and has launched a solo career.)

Documents filed at Companies House reveal the three remaining members — Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 31; Perrie Edwards, 29; and Jade Thirlwall, 29 — are splitting a windfall of almost £10 million. (Fourth member Jesy Nelson, 31, left in 2020, citing mental health issues, and has launched a solo career.)

The figures are revealed in a Declaration of Solvency, filed as part of moves to shut the business. It shows the band have £10.9 million in cash and owe the taxman £1.1 million. The filing means the girls made around £5 million from their Confetti tour, which ended in May.

Little Mix, who won The X Factor in 2011, announced last year they would go ‘on hiatus’ after the tour, although they stressed they were not splitting up. Perrie and Leigh-Anne became mothers last year, with the latter welcoming twins a few days before Perrie had son Axel with her fiancé, Liverpool FC’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A stellar cast has quietly assembled in London to start work on new movie Blitz under the direction of British Oscar-winner Steve McQueen. The film, to be released by Apple, will tell the story of how Londoners survived the German bombing campaign, with Saoirse Ronan starring alongside Josef Altin, of Top Boy, and Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke.

My spies tell me McQueen told the cast: ‘This is a British film, telling a British story, and one of the rare opportunities to do so on a fairly large scale.’ The director had the idea for the movie and has also written the script. It is being produced by his company Lammas Park, alongside Working Title and New Regency. Blitz is his first feature-length film since Widows in 2018, though he also created the acclaimed TV series Small Axe, which aired in 2020.

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