Dolby’s newly announced 20-year agreement to see its name up in front of the home of the Oscars, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, is contingent on the Academy Awards staying at the Hollywood & Highland location. “As long as the Oscars are there, the Dolby Theatre will be there,” Ramzi Haidamus, Dolby Laboratories Executive VP Sales and Marketing said today in a conference call announcing the deal. Haidamus would not reveal financial terms of the deal Dolby made with landlord CIM Group other than to note that Dolby does have an opt-out clause if the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — who announced their own 20-year deal with CIM Group today — decides to move the Oscars from the present location. Haidamus also said that part of the contract called for frequent mentions of the Dolby Theatre during the Oscarcast. “This is much much more than putting our name on a building,” he said. “We’re looking at it as a broadcasting opportunity, a streaming opportunity and all types of branding opportunities.”|
The bottom line, as Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Tom Sherak told me this morning, is that, “I wanted to stay in Hollywood. And the Board Of Governors said the awards should definitely stay in Hollywood. I think the Board always felt the awards belonged in Hollywood. There is a connection between the Oscars and Hollywood, and the feeling was it was the right place to stay.” January 11th when reports in other trades were strongly indicating a possible move by the Oscars out of the then-named Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland (to most likely the Nokia downtown), I said this was highly improbable. And now with today’s announcement, scooped by Deadline, that CIM has made a naming-rights deal with Dolby and signed a new 20-year lease for the Oscars with the Academy, no move happened. And quite frankly it never was seriously going to happen. As I wrote then, it took the Academy over 40 years to return to Hollywood after detours to the Santa Monica Civic and the Shrine and the Music Center, and the illustrious movie organization wasn’t about to give up so easily. Prior to the debut show at the Kodak Theatre in 2002, the last time the quintessential Hollywood awards show was actually in Hollywood was at the Pantages Theatre in 1961. Plus the Kodak, now Dolby Theatre, was and is a beautiful venue for the show even if …
EXCLUSIVE: Just as Deadline predicted, the Academy Awards are staying put at Hollywood & Highland for the next 20 years in the former Kodak Theatre now named the Dolby Theatre, sources tell me. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January and was only halfway through a 20-year rights deal when it pulled out just before this year’s Academy Awards. (Media outlets were asked to refer to the venue as Hollywood & Highland Center during the Oscarcast). The Oscars are the theatre’s marquee tenant, and the Academy’s lease with CIM was going to be up ahead of the 2014 Academy Awards.
Details are now here:
HOLLYWOOD (May 1, 2012) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and CIM Group announced today that the Academy Awards® will remain in Hollywood under a new 20-year deal. Concurrently, in a separate agreement, Dolby Laboratories, Inc and CIM announced a 20-year agreement to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center® and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.
“Our ability to swiftly conclude two significant contracts with global entertainment leaders affirms Hollywood as a thriving district, the Dolby Theatre as the ultimate entertainment showcase and Hollywood & Highland Center as a cornerstone for both the local and entertainment communities,” said Shaul Kuba, Co-Founder of CIM Group, owners
Bloomberg is reporting that Dolby Laboratories is in naming-rights talks with owners of the venue formerly known as the Kodak Theatre. Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January and was only halfway through a 20-year rights deal when it pulled out just before this year’s Oscar ceremony (media outlets were asked to refer to the venue as Hollywood & Highland Center during the Oscarcast). The Bloomberg report says landlord CIM Group is “open to more offers” for naming right and discussions could end without an agreement. Oscar organizer the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does have a say on any prospective theater name — although this choice seems to be right in the venue’s wheelhouse as both Dolby and Kodak are longtime Hollywood players and Dolby has been a leader in digital cinema technology. The Oscars are the theater’s marquee tenant, so it will be interesting to watch negotiations with the Academy one year away from having to decide whether it’s staying put at the Hollywood & Highland Center or moving the Oscars elsewhere; its lease with CIM is up ahead of the 2014 Academy Awards.
Word is CIM, the landlord for the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Oscars are held has asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences NOT to announce on air that the awards are coming from the Kodak Theatre. Instead the Academy opening announcement will say it is being broadcast live from Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California. “That is what the landlord has asked us to do and we are gonna do it,” said Academy President Tom Sherak during a pre-taping of KABC’s local public affairs show, Eyewitness Newsmakers (airing this Sunday). CIM has been trying to find a replacement for Kodak which won the right last week to back out of their multi-million dollar naming agreement for the theatre in which the Oscars and other events such as Cirque Du Soleil’s Iris take place.
When I spoke to Sherak over the weekend to discuss progress for this year’s show he re-emphasized the Academy has nothing to do with who will take over the name of the theatre except for veto rights . He told me they would never hold back approval as long as it’s not some completely inappropiate name that would clash with the Academy’s image. In other words don’t expect to hear , “Live from the Hooters Theatre , welcome to the Academy Awards”. Sherak also reiterated his previous statement that as of now the Academy is only currently negotiating with CIM regarding where the Oscars will be held …
A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that Eastman Kodak Co. back out of its sponsorship deal for the Hollywood venue that hosts the Academy Awards. Judge Allan Gropper declined to rule whether Kodak’s name should be removed before the February 26 Oscars ceremony. Building owner CIM had argued that it would be unfair for Kodak to remove its sign before the Oscars. Gropper told CIM attorneys “if you believe it would be better to leave the sign up, I suppose the result will be Billy Crystal will make some joke about this being the Kodak Theatre and Kodak being in Chapter 11.” Gropper said, “I think that damages Kodak more than it affects your client.” The two parties should decide when the name will be removed, Gropper said, leaving open the possibility either side could seek damages if they are unable to resolve the dispute.
Bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co. shouldn’t be permitted to abandon naming rights to the Hollywood Boulevard venue that hosts the Academy Awards, the property’s management CIM/H&H Media asserted in a Manhattan Court filing. The 20-year agreement under which the Kodak Theatre bears its name is worth $72 million over the life of the deal, according to CIM/H&H, but Kodak wants out 11 years into the contract. CIM/H&H says backing out “is not practically feasible” with the Oscars slated for February 26.
Bankrupt Kodak said in court filing this week that it wants its name taken off the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, the home of the Academy Awards since 2001. The company said the move to relinquish naming rights will save it serious cash as it begins bankruptcy proceedings after filing for Chapter 11 protection earlier this month. “The debtors have evaluated the contract in consultation with their professional advisers and determined that any benefit related to these rights likely does not exceed or equal the debtors’ costs associated with the contract,” according to court documents filed Tuesday. This year’s Oscars are February 26, and it remains unclear whether Kodak’s name will be on the theater’s front doors at that time.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, media reports of the imminent death of the relationship between the Oscars and its broadcast home for the past decade, the Kodak theatre, are greatly exaggerated. In fact the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences issued a statement to Deadline tonight saying The Hollywood Reporter‘s claims are “erroneous”. (We hear Academy President Tom Sherak screamed at THR‘s Alex Ben Block and demanded a retraction.) The Academy officially denied to Deadline that AMPAS is already in discussions to move the Academy Awards to AEG’s 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre. ”The Academy has not begun any negotiations for the Oscar telecast beyond 2013.”
Off the record, multiple Academy sources are telling Deadline they are not on their way to terminating the deal for the Kodak. They tell us they want to stay at the venue and have not yet had any discussions or negotiations with the Nokia or anyone else. So what’s going on? This all boils down to THR looking to manufacture news. And normal business posturing so that the Academy can put itself into the best possible bargaining position with the Kodak’s owner CIM group as the two sides start discussing the future. AMPAS wants as sweet a deal as possible, so it exercised an option in its contract to have at least the ability to consider another venue after the 2013 show. If the Academy had not exercised the option though by December 31, 2011, it …