Increased sales of bin Laden’s back catalogue of CDs, DVDs and Jihadist instruction manuals, together with the release of several new unauthorized biographies, ‘lost’ material and various merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs and comedy beards, have helped the Bin Laden Estate bring in over $300 million since May 2011, surpassing fellow high-earning posthumous performers such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Tupac Shakur.
And Bin Laden’s money-making potential doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. This summer is set to see the release of an official video game, Tora Bora 2000, and a hotly anticipated 3D documentary about his final months is due to hit cinemas screens later in the year.
“It’s going to take a really A-list deceasing for anyone to knock Osama off the top spot for the next few years,” predicted Randy Joe Jnr, head of the William Morris Agency’s Afterlife Division.
The news from Pakistan won’t, however, bring any joy to Ayman al-Zawahir, Bin Laden’s replacement at the helm of Al-Qaeda. Just weeks before he died, while apparently angry at his then deputy over a comment made on Facebook, Bin Laden instructed his lawyers to draw up a will that handed over his entire estate to the Abbottabad Cat Sanctuary.