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Coffee chain perks to WMA

Starbucks brews deal with tenpercentery

Starbucks is going even more Hollywood.

Coffee chain has signed with the William Morris Agency to help it identify music, movies and — in a new twist — books that it can market and distribute in its stores.

Move comes as the first film marketed by Starbucks, Lionsgate’s spelling bee drama “Akeelah and the Bee,” bowed in theaters over the weekend.

Under the co-marketing/co-distribution pact inked with Lionsgate, Starbucks has been promoting the feel-good pic throughout its stores and kiosks in the U.S. and Canada.

Pic took in $6.3 million at approximately 2,200 engagements over the weekend.

Studios are sure to note “Akeelah’s” performance in evaluating whether to follow Lionsgate’s lead and partner with Starbucks.

Starbucks Entertainment prexy Ken Lombard said his unit has met with virtually all the major studios to talk about prospective projects.

Java giant has already proven itself a strong marketer of music.

“They are a company that has gained the trust and respect of the millions of customers who walk through their doors each week,” said WMA chief exec Jim Wiatt.

Lombard, who will move with his staff to Los Angeles from Seattle later in the year, said signing with WMA was a natural extension of the company’s expanded foray into entertainment content.

Starbucks had a marketing partnership at one time with Oprah Winfrey’s book club, offering a handful of titles for sale. That effort, however, fell off. Chain is ready to try again.

“We fully intend to find the right book to launch that part of our strategy,” Lombard said.

At WMA, music, film and book agents will all work with Starbucks.

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