Billion-dollar babies the Olsen twins aren't 12 anymore. In fact, soon-to-be 17-year-olds Mary-Kate and Ashley are all grown up -- or at least they will be in their new big-screen release, ''New York Minute,'' which will begin shooting this summer and is to be directed by Dennie Gordon. (Gordon helmed fellow tween favorite Amanda Bynes' ''What a Girl Wants.'') ''It's kind of a 'Charlie's Angels' meets 'After Hours' thing,'' says twins' rep Michael Pagnotta of the film, an action-packed comedy that will chronicle the girls' adventures in a single day in New York City.
In a shift of career strategy, ''New York Minute'' is aiming beyond the twins' core fanbase of tweens, attempting to appeal to older teens and young adults, including boys. ''Their audience was basically very young girls, but that's gradually changed. I guess a lot of that's just basic biology,'' says Pagnotta, pointing out that the twins will be of voting age next year when the movie hits theaters. ''Now there's interest from teenage guys -- and older.''
But lustful high-school dudes (and/or dirty old men) shouldn't get too worked up. ''New York Minute'' will stay solidly in PG territory. And well it should, according to Anthony Kusich, box office analyst for ReelSource. ''It's not going to be a 'Crossroads'-type adventure -- that's too big a step for them right now,'' says Kusich, referring to Britney Spears' 2002 dancing-in-her-underwear opus. ''But they also should be careful about catering too much to the kid audience. You have to keep growing.''
''New York Minute,'' which is only the Olsen's second theatrical release (1995's ''It Takes Two'' was the first), should at least match the anticipated $40-million-or-so take of Bynes' ''What a Girl Wants,'' according to Kusich. Pagnotta, however, says Mary-Kate and Ashley -- who last week announced a deal with Sony Music to re-release 10 of their kids'-music albums -- are bigger than any other tween phenomenon. ''With girls like Amanda Bynes and Hillary Duff, who are great, [the twins] take a lot of pride that they opened a door for girls like that to walk through. There was no tween audience when they started.'' Sounds like they're expecting a full house.