Olsen twins on road to adulthood

NEW YORK — Double the pleasure, double the funds.

Wonder twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have come a long way from earning scale wages as googly-eyed babies on the sitcom "Full House."

They're now worth $150 million each, and their brand, "mary-kateandashley" — everything from clothes to videos — will bring in about $1 billion this year alone.

Among the hundreds of Web sites devoted to the Olsen twins are dozens counting down the days until Mary-Kate and Ashley turn 18 on June 13, 2004 — becoming adults in the eyes of the law and a universe of teenage boys.

Ashley will get there a good two minutes before Mary-Kate.

"Boys will be boys, right?" Ashley told "48 Hours Investigates" when asked about the countdown sites.

"Yeah," chimed in Mary-Kate. "Pests."

That day will be important for much bigger reasons, too.

On their 18th birthday, the petite pinups become co-presidents of Dualstar Entertainment Group, the umbrella operation that oversees their videos and merchandising.

They're stepping up from executive producers, their titles since the company was started with their lawyer and manager, Robert Thorne, in 1993. (Thorne serves as CEO.) At the time, they were 7.

Tuesday, the twins' movie "The Challenge" arrived in video stores.

It's the latest of 47 straight-to-video films they've made since earning fame sharing the role of the baby Michelle on "Full House."

Next spring, they make their theatrical-movie debut in "New York Minute," about two sisters — one studious and one into punk rock — who band together in a series of mishaps. Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy and Sharon, is also in the cast.

Shortly thereafter, the Olsens will be setting aside a few New York years as they move from California's San Fernando Valley to attend college here. The twins have yet to reveal where they'll be studying — they swear they won't attend separate schools — but they will say that Ashley plans to go in for psychology and Mary-Kate wants to pursue culinary courses.

Conveniently, Ashley's boyfriend, Matt Kaplan, is a quarterback for the Columbia University Lions.

Having a nice beau isn't the only way to avoid becoming a child-star cliché. People who know the Olsens insist that, unlike a lot of their peers in show business, they have skipped the power trip and party-hearty ways that have destroyed many young careers.

The twins, who have spent nine years shuttling between the homes of their divorced parents, have been known to keep to themselves, study a lot and do regular-teen things like shopping and having sleepovers.

"People are always looking for the dirt on them, but there isn't any," says Elizabeth Kruger, who has written three of the twins' films.

"They are just normal girls who try to lead a regular teenage life," Kruger says. "These two girls have been working since they were little and know the value of hard work. They are very responsible."

The Olsens' empire

• The OTs' official Web site, www.mary-kateandashley.com, gets more than 2 billion hits a year. The teenybopper E-zine site has fashion, relationship and entertainment stories as well as updates and tips from the twins.

• Their product line, mary-kateandashley, includes sportswear, cosmetics, shoes, CDs, toddler clothes, eyewear, fragrances, spa goods, handbags and furniture. It's all available at Wal-Mart.

• The 47 direct-to-video Olsen twin films have sold nearly 40 million copies.

• Mattel's Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls are the company's No. 2-selling dolls, after Barbie.