The miraculous rescue of Cleo Smith after her 18-day disappearance is a ‘modern-day fairy tale’ that could translate into deals worth millions of dollars for her traumatised parents, according to a top publicist.
Celebrity agent Max Markson told Daily Mail Australia the discovery of the four-year-old is one of such powerful hope that it has captivated the world.
The daring 1am swoop by Western Australian police on Wednesday delivered the kind of outcome terrified parents and relatives only ‘dream of’, Markson said.
That dream that if their children or neighbour’s children went missing, they would be found alive and as well and bubbly as little Cleo seems to be.
Pictured: Little Cleo Smith after her discovery ended an 18-day search for the four-year-old. The daring 1am swoop by Western Australian police on Wednesday delivered the kind of outcome terrified parents and relatives only dream of, Max Markson said
The happy ending to Cleo Smith’s dramatic rescue is a ‘modern day fairy-tale’ that could translate into deals worth millions of dollars for her recovering parents and even Cleo herself. Pictured is Cleo being taken out of the Carnarvon home where she was allegedly held hostage
The huge interest worldwide means the bare minimum starting price for a book-and-movie deal would be $250,000, he said.
Celebrity agent Max Markson says the ‘starting price’ for Cleo’s story should be $250,000 – but it was possible the price tag could reach more than $1million dollars
Markson brokered a deal understood to be worth $200,000 with Channel Nine in 2003 for an interview with Natasha Ryan, the teenager who was believed to be murdered but found hiding in a wardrobe.
”It captivated the nation for 18 days and now the world,’ Mr Markson, who has arranged deals for the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mike Tyson, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The greatest fear for any parent is losing their children, especially in circumstances like this.’
Cleo’s story would hold a different ‘feel-good’ appeal to the tragic disappearances of Madeleine McCann or Azaria Chamberlain because they ‘bring us joy’.
‘Hans Christian Andersen couldn’t have written it better,’ Markson said.
‘Nobody would begrudge the family if they could make some money from this. They’ve been through 18 days of hell, they’ve come out of it and now they’ve got the future to look forward to.’
Police and search crews scoured a huge area around Carnarvon for three weeks as hopes of finding Cleo faded
Images of Cleo reunited with her mum after WA police rescued her warmed hearts around the world. Cleo is pictured being carried inside by her mother Ellie after her rescue
Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine – who helped find the little girl – leaves the Carnarvon Courthouse on Thursday after Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, was charged over Cleo’s abduction
Markson said he cannot think of a story with more international appeal to ever come out of Australia.
The next biggest were probably the Beaconsfield mine disaster survivors Todd Russell and Brant Webb, and Ms Ryan.
He said Cleo’s rescue is probably comparable to the cave rescue of 12 boys from Thai soccer team in 2018. That was made into a Hollywood movie last year called Thirteen Lives, directed by Ron Howard.
Cleo herself has probably already named her own movie with her immortal first words to Detective Senior Sargeant Cameron Blaine, ‘My name is Cleo’.
‘It’s a great figure to start with, $250,000,’ Markson said.
Cleo Smith’s story is a modern-day fairy tale and maybe the greatest survival story to ever come out of Australia
Anything is possible beyond that, he said, including a million-dollar deal.
‘Kerry Packer’s advice to James Packer was “always under promise and then over deliver”. I am a big fan of that,’ Mr Markson said.
Commercial television news would pay huge prices for an interview with her mum Ellie Smith, Markson believes, with the next big options including feature movies, documentaries and a series on a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon.
Then there could be interviews on the anniversary of her rescue every year.
These would invariably net Cleo payouts as the nation took an interest once a year to watch the miracle girl grow up.
For now, Cleo is resting and recovering from her ordeal with her mum Ellie and step-father Jake Gliddon at home in Carnarvon, who have asked for privacy.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, is accused of kidnapping Cleo from a tent she was sharing with her mum, stepdad and younger sister, Isla at the Blowholes campsite – 73km from the town – on October 16.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk