The 2004 flop left a mark that effectively ended their acting careers. Officially, the twins retired in 2014, with a statement announcing they were done with acting. They certainly had a lot to show for their time on screen – 27 years in the spotlight ain’t half bad! Not to mention that they had become idols for young girls everywhere, and showed how to stick to your guns even under extreme pressure.
Mary-Kate Olsen gave her solo career one more shot in “Beastly” (2011). The movie did not do very well, and she felt like giving up acting was the right move to make. She said that if she ever did go back to showbiz, she would have more of a behind-the-scenes role, definitely not as an actress.
When the twins were nine years old, their parents divorced. It was hard on them, but the busy actresses have said it wasn’t that bad. “We had so many people that loved us that we were like, ‘That’s okay. Things will be better this way.’” That's a pretty mature response - maybe one that indicates just how mature they were forced to be at their age.
The fame of the daughters, however, may have been the factor that led to the breakup. Their dad, David, was the one who hired Thorne, while their mother, Jarnette Olsen, often wanted to protect them from the spotlight and let them be normal kids. Their father married McKenzie, his former secretary, a month after the divorce.
The ‘New York Minute’ Flop
The final movie the twins starred in was “New York Minute” (2004). It served as a turning point. It was the last of the long line of titles, and it was only the second film that went to movie theaters. It had all the charm of any previous Olsen twin flick, but it likely showed that audiences were slowly losing interest in the pair on screen.
“It Takes Two” (1995) also did poorly in theaters but made up for it with video sales. “New York Minute,” however, pulled in a lackluster $21 million, not covering its $30 million budget. It was a critical and financial failure, and one of their few professional disappointments. It marked a shift in direction toward the fashion industry.
The production company set up by Robert Thorne was extremely profitable. So was his bargaining power. He first got them $25,000 per episode price at “Full House,” but later locked them into an $80,000 contract. This served to catapult the twins to generate even more wealth.
All of the dozens of movies they made were fully owned by Dualstar Entertainment. This meant that when Warner Bros. distributed a movie, they had to purchase it from the girls’ production company. The twins’ product lines, also under Dualstar, were very lucrative. By 2018, their clothesline brands were raking in a billion dollars per year. In 2018, Newsweek named them “Next Billionaires” to watch.
Off to College
The girls had always wanted to go to New York University. With the lull in popularity of their movies coinciding with finishing high school, it was the perfect time to go to college and have a chance to be like normal kids. Kind of. There's only so much celebs can expect when they try to integrate into the world of us mortals.
They rented a spacious Brownstone home equipped with a security entourage, drove matching Range Rovers, and enrolled at NYU. It didn’t take long for them to be recognized. And then they had to deal with fellow students sneaking photos of them and selling them off to the paparazzi. After two years, they gave up.