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By Michael Speier - August 16, 2003

If you can't think of the "Austin Powers" franchise without craving Corn Nuts, then the L.A. Office is doing its job.

Created in 1994 by Mitch Litvak, the company bridges the gap between Madison Avenue and Hollywood. And, boy, is it busy.

The L.A. Office RoadShow will open its doors this weekend with a few questions having risen from the ashes of a questionable summer box office.

But despite the rough waters, more effort than ever is being put forth over the need for major movies and TV skeins to align themselves with as many companies as possible to defray steeper production costs.

That "Lara Croft: Cradle of Life," "The Hulk" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" sputtered doesn't seem to mean anything to the retailers who want glamorous cross-platforming.

"Box office might affect the thought process when companies are thinking of specifics," says Litvak, "but it makes marketing execs a little smarter about execution and planning."

"The opportunity to leverage the idea of a movie coming is what promos are about," says UTA entertainment marketing topper Ferris Thompson. "Box office isn't the only factor."

Last year, the confab presented dog-and-pony shows for "Terminator 3" and "Finding Nemo," among other pics, musical acts (Ja Rule, Smashing Pumpkins) and TV series ("Kim Possible," "Smallville").

Open up the L.A. Office Entertainment Report, and the first thing on deck is an event calendar that contains every future motion picture release and past pics' product details.
And while everyone in the ad biz is reasonably familiar with the big deals and big films (think "The Matrix" and Cadillac), every pic usually has several marriages.

* "Spy Kids 2" teamed with Kraft, Valpak, Homewood Suites and McDonald's.

* "Legally Blonde 2" partnered with Gateway, Mattel, Sanyo and Stila cosmetics.

* "2 Fast 2 Furious" hooked up with Mitsubishi, Pep Boys, Quaker State and Pepsi.

Book also details releases and TV projects by plot and distrib and features a homevid release sked. As a cross-reference tool, guide indicates what retail entity has deals. Look up Kraft Jell-0 and discover that it has fallen for "SpongeBob SquarePants."

As for the event, the presenters include all studios, selected cablers (G4, Nickelodeon, Discovery), music entities (EMI, BMG) and network units. Like an upfront session for the retail world, companies trot out their wares with the hope that willing parties will pick them.