Academy Awards to Stay in Hollywood at Newly Named Dolby Theatre

11:09 AM PST 05/01/2012 by Alex Ben Block

Under a 20-year deal, the theater formerly known as the Kodak has a new long-term sponsor.

Get ready for the Academy Awards in the Dolby Theatre.

Dolby Laboratories announced Tuesday that it is the new naming sponsor of the former Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood & Highland Center. The complex is owned by the CIM Group.

Simultaneously, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that it has renegotiated its deal with the CIM Group for the Oscars to remain in the theater through at least 2033. That's a 20-year extension beyond the current contract, which was to expire after the 2013 show.

The Academy also closed a separate 20-year deal with Dolby related to the naming rights.

“The Academy’s board of governors believes that the home for our awards is in Hollywood; it is where the Academy and the motion picture industry are rooted,” Academy president Tom Sherak said Tuesday. “We are pleased to have a new agreement with CIM that will continue our long-standing partnership.”

Sherak told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview: “We wanted to be in Hollywood. The Academy Awards belong in Hollywood. Dolby is a proud industry name.”

Sherak said the Academy had renegotiated the terms of its deal for use of the theater. He would not give details but said it was a better deal for the Academy and it is very pleased.

The naming rights became available after the Eastman Kodak Co. went bankrupt and a federal judge allowed it to get out of its 20-year deal, which was costing the company a little more than $4 million a year. Kodak left the venue after 10 years as name sponsor.

The Academy in December, anticipating Kodak’s problems, had not renewed its option on the theater, which allowed it to negotiate a new deal or leave for another venue. It was clear from the beginning, however, that the Academy preferred to stay in the venue. The organization had given CIM an exclusive first window to negotiate, which resulted in Tuesday's three-way deal.

Dolby said it will use the theater to “create a world-class showcase for Dolby’s current and future technologies, beginning with the company’s revolutionary new Dolby Atmos sound technology released last week.”

“Dolby is a brand recognized around the world for creating the best, most lifelike entertainment sound experiences in any environment,” said Kevin Yeaman, President and CEO of Dolby Laboratories. “This partnership with CIM allows the Dolby Theatre to be not only the world stage for the Academy Awards but for Dolby innovations for decades to come.”  

CIM also welcomed the new deal.

“Dolby Laboratories has a long history in Hollywood and has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry,” said Shaul Kuba, co-founder of CIM Group. "It is a respected international brand and technology innovator. We are proud to welcome them as our partner on the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center."

Said L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose district includes the Dolby Theatre, “I’m thrilled that the Oscars are staying right where they belong -- in Hollywood -- and that they’ve doubled down with a 20-year commitment that reaffirms Hollywood’s standing as the entertainment capital of the world."

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