Los Angeles Business Journal

Kodak Theater Now Dolby Theater; Oscars to Remain

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Kodak Theatre will be renamed Dolby Theatre and the Academy Awards show will continue to be held there for the next 20 years, under agreements announced Tuesday by the owner of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

CIM Group said it signed a 20-year contract with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to retain the annual Academy Awards show at what has been named the Kodak Theatre. In addition, sound technology company Dolby Laboratories Inc. signed a separate 20-year naming rights agreement that will take effect summer.

The auditorium in Hollywood has been the Kodak since it opened 2001, but Eastman Kodak Co. pulled out of its naming rights contract after filing for bankruptcy protection in January.

San Francisco-based Dolby Laboratories, which has Los Angeles offices, already has a rendering on its website depicting how the theater will look with the new branding.

Dolby plans continue to update the more than 3,400-seat facility with its recently released Dolby Atmos sound technology, and make other upgrades. CIM already spent more than $50 million to upgrade the theater, with new wiring, elevators, lighting and audio equipment in preparation for the Oscars and Cirque du Soleil performances that started last year.

“Our partnership with CIM allows the Dolby Theatre to be the world stage for the Academy Awards and for Dolby innovation for decades to come,” said Dolby Chief Executive Kevin Yeaman in a statement.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Dolby reportedly beat out 10 other bidders for the naming rights. A source told the Wall Street Journal that Dolby’s bid was "substantially above" the nearly $4 million a year that Kodak was paying.

Under the new contract with the Academy, the Dolby Theatre will host the Academy Awards through 2033.

“The Academy’s Board of Governors believes that the home for our awards is in Hollywood,” said Academy President Tom Sherak in a statement. “It is where the Academy and the motion picture industry are rooted.”