Starbucks Juices Up Entertainment Plans

The coffee giant hires talent agency William Morris to help it find more marketing projects.
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Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

signaled Monday that it's still hot for entertainment, even after the company's first movie-marketing deal got a cold reception at the box office in its opening weekend.

The java giant said it signed a deal with the William Morris talent agency, based in Beverly Hills, Calif. The firm will be looking for music, book and film projects to bear the Starbucks logo for marketing and distribution.

"While Starbucks has already gained a strong foothold in the world of entertainment, we feel that with their existing market awareness and our ability to maximize their position, we can enhance an already formidable brand," William Morris said in a release.

The announcement comes after the spelling-bee film "Akeelah and the Bee," starring Laurence Fishburne, came in at a disappointing No. 8 at the box office over the weekend, grossing $6.25 million. Starbucks partnered with

Lions Gate

(LGF)

on a comarketing and distribution deal for the movie. But while the coffee chain's marketing efforts may have bolstered its own image to consumers, it apparently hasn't sold many moviegoers on the title so far.

Shares of Starbucks closed down 2 cents for the day at $37.25, while Lions Gate shares closed down 46 cents, or 4.7%, to $9.31.

The initial results of Starbucks' Hollywood foray contrast with the company's deals in the music industry, spotlighting albums by the likes of Ray Charles and Bob Dylan. Sonya Kitchell's first album, which was co-released and marketed by Starbucks, made it to Billboard magazine's top 200 chart.

While it's hard to quantify the value of Starbucks' entertainment activities for investors, its strategy is increasingly reminiscent of

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

early partnerships with

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

, which planted both brands in the minds of a generation of children.

Starbucks, on the other hand, targets baby boomers, a large and wealthy crowd that is facing retirement, making it a coveted demographic for investment strategists.

Starbucks will report its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Analysts, on average, are expecting the company to log earnings of 14 cents a share for the quarter, up from the 12 cents a share it reported for the same quarter last year.