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Leo Burnett Co.'s Starcom USA has won the $70 million media assignment of Destination Films, the first major move into southern California and the entertainment industry for the Chicago-based shop.

Burnett, which has a small office in West Hollywood to handle local marketing efforts for Miller Brewing Co., will expand there by hiring four to six executives to work on media planning and servicing the new movie production and distribution company. Future plans include a separate Starcom office in Los Angeles. Media buying will be done out of Chicago.


Starcom beat out three Los Angeles-based competitors- Ogilvy & Mather, Carat ICG and Palisades Media Group-as well as Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., and Media Edge, New York.

"They have a good, young database of research for their clients-Miller Brewing Co., The Gap, Nintendo of America and E! Entertainment Television," said John Jacobs, exec VP-marketing for Destination Films, in explaining the decision to go with Starcom. "Their clients' demographics are more similar to ours than [the] other agencies'."

Mr. Jacobs also cited the shop's expertise in outdoor, noting theatrical films increasingly are dependent on outdoor.


"This is a particularly impressive win for Starcom because movie studios don't generally look past New York or Los Angeles for agency support," said Bob Brennan, Starcom's chief operating officer.

A month ago, the agency opened a San Francisco office to secure Internet clients, and it since has signed on as its first client.

Destination Films was founded last year by three veteran executives: Barry London, formerly of Paramount Pictures; Steve Stabler, formerly of Orion Pictures; and Brent Baum, from DreamWorks Pictures.

Initially, the studio plans on producing eight to 12 movies a year, eventually increasing that to as many as 15.

Its first films, scheduled for release later this year and next include a thriller called "Bats," starring Lou Diamond Phillips; a comedy, "Drowning Mona," starring Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell; and "Eye of the Beholder," starring Ewan MacGregor and Ashley Judd.

Next summer, Destination will release a children's film, "Thomas the Magic Railroad," based on the "Thomas the Tank Engine" children's books and TV show

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