Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 | 7 a.m.
Since starting her residency at Planet Hollywood last December, pop princess Britney Spears has made a tremendous impact on her new hometown, added substantially to her bulging bank account and changed the face of pop entertainment on the Strip.
I’ve already reported that she has been selling out the 4,600 seats every show in Axis at Planet Hollywood and boosted the casino-hotel’s profits by $20 million. Billboard Boxscore reported that her first 41 shows grossed $26.4 million.
The 32-year-old star and mother of two has apparently increased her total shows to 140 from the 96 she originally signed. TMZ says she even won a raise from $310,000 a show to $475,000 for the remainder of her residency. If that figure is correct, she falls only a few dollars short of Celine Dion’s paycheck per show at Caesars Palace. TMZ further reports that her weekly earnings are now $1 million.
With Jennifer Lopez likely to sign for a residency soon, as we reported Wednesday, Britney probably also will get credit for starting an invasion of younger-demographic pop stars to the Strip.
To recognize Britney’s incredible success story, I can report that on Nov. 5, Clark County commissioners will proclaim it “Britney Spears Day,” and commission Chairman Steve Sisolak will present her with an official proclamation and the key to the Las Vegas Strip.
The “Britney: Piece of Me” residency star will take over the Linq Promenade for the day, and she’ll celebrate with everybody starting at 5:30 p.m. and ride the High Roller. Fans named Britney (or any spelling variation) will get extra attention. They will receive free rides on the High Roller and a commemorative souvenir. The first 100 Britneys reporting to the High Roller on Nov. 5 also will be given two free tickets for her show that night.
Britney has attracted numerous celebrities to watch the ambitious, over-the-top production directed by Baz Halpin with costume designs by Marco Marco. J.Lo was the most recent star visitor, and everybody from Miley Cyrus to Miss USA have attended.
Mario Lopez, Lance Bass and gossip guru Perez Hilton are just a few of the men chosen by the pop star to take part in the S&M segment where they are trussed up in leather and walked on all fours barking while Britney controls the leash.
Her cutting-edge pop concert features 14 dancers, elaborate sets, unforgettable costumes and state-of-the-art, never-before-scene video technology. The balcony section of the theater is jam-packed with more than 50 video players, cameras and projectors for the special effects as Britney performs more than 20 of her hits. It’s one of the largest indoor video and projection installations anywhere.
Britney became the first resident artist in the new Axis at Planet Hollywood theater, which was renovated for her show. It’s part nightclub and part theater, with Drai’s Nightlife servers working in the VIP booths.
I watched it again last week with its new songs, choreography, costumes and stage effects. It’s a humdinger of a production with show-stopping performances. Brit’s energy is unwavering with “Toxic,” “Womanizer” “Circus” and new material from her recently released album “Britney Jean.” As I tweeted from the theater: “Britney in fantastic form. She rocks. Nothing more be said.”
Every act is different, but I love Britney in a white wedding gown floating as an angel high above the stage. Confetti and multicolored paper Britney coins swamp the theater from above. When she dances in the falling rain of the large jungle tree, it’s ooh and aah magic. That bungee-type leap above the heads of the audience is a breathtaking moment.
Her manager Larry Rudolph said: “Las Vegas was a mecca for entertainment when The Rat Pack was here, but it lost that cachet when it went the Cirque du Soleil route. But you’re seeing things shift to younger audiences in their 20s and early 30s coming here to party. Britney’s show fits perfectly in that demo.
“The revenue models have all changed. No artists are making any real money in recorded music sales. It’s difficult to make a profit on a big pop tour because audiences have become used to giant productions that cost so much, it becomes prohibitive. It took 30 trucks on the road for Britney’s Circus Tour. Profitable, but a lot of effort.”
Britney’s contract was up for renewal in December, but she’s already confirmed our previous rumors of a new two-year extension. She’s got a Summerlin home here when she doesn’t commute back and forth to Los Angeles, and Larry is one of our city’s newest residents with a condo five minutes from Planet Hollywood.
Her cast and crew have all moved into homes here, so Britney is all set to stay. Now that she is getting the key to the Strip, she can unlock any vault that she wants.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.