You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: Grounds for ‘Bee’ blurbs

Starbucks pours itself into film biz

What do the words pulchritude, argillaceous, brunneous or prestidigitation have to do with a cup of joe and movie marketing?

Starbucks officially gets into the film biz on Tuesday, when it unspools its promotional campaign for Lionsgate spelling-bee drama “Akeelah and the Bee” at nearly 8,300 Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada.

According to the coffee chain, millions of Starbucks customers “will be invited to step inside Akeelah’s journey as part of their daily coffee routine.” For instance, various words used in the film will pop up on all sorts of Starbucks collateral, including cup sleeves.

“Akeelah,” which bows April 28, stars Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer. Lionsgate produced with 2929 Entertainment.

Coffee colossus, which also will take a producing credit, says the multidimensional campaign will be much classier and more upscale than the average fast-food chain movie promotion. Don’t, for instance, expect to see life-sized cutouts and the like.

Critical to the success of the campaign was screening the film for thousands of Starbucks employees, otherwise known as baristas. That way, baristas can tell customers their unscripted view of the film, Starbucks Entertainment prexy Ken Lombard said.

The marketing and distribution partnership between Starbucks and Lionsgate follows the java giant’s successful foray into the music retail biz. Neither Starbucks nor Lionsgate would discuss the financial terms of the pact, except to say that the former will get a slice of any profits.

Lombard, who recently set up offices in L.A., said he’s in discussions with virtually all the major studios about similar partnerships but that no deals have been cut so far.

Lombard said it’s “way too early to know” if Starbucks Entertainment would pursue getting involved in newly announced Universal project “How Starbucks Changed My Life,” based on a yet-to-be-published memoir by Mark Gates Gill, an out-of-work ad exec in his 60s who got a job at Starbucks.

Tom Hanks, who is attached to star, will produce with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content