The Gold Knight: The theater formerly known as the KodakWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — It seemed like the perfect pairing.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre.And just a decade later, Kodak’s name will be removed from the theater that calls the Oscars home.
The Eastman Kodak Co. received court approval on Feb. 15 to end forthwith its sponsorship deal with the 3,332-seat theater at Hollywood & Highland Center.
We may not know specifically when the CIM Group, which owns the theater and the Center, will remove signage or find another sponsor. We do know that come Oscar Sunday on Feb. 26, the Oscars will be broadcast live “from Hollywood & Highland Center,” the Academy confirmed with Deadline and TheWrap on Wednesday. (All new press releases from the Academy also use the new phrasing, the Oscars from the Kodak is no more.)
Built at a cost of $94 million and opening on Nov. 9, 2001, the Kodak was the place to be. Concerts, awards shows and finales for “American Idol” were held there before the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live — opening in October of 2007 with 7,100 seats — crashed the party and replaced the Kodak as the broadcasting hot spot.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hollywood theater. Last September, Cirque du Soleil became the permanent show at the Kodak when it premiered “Iris” (it will also make a special appearance at Sunday’s ceremony). Presented 368 times per year for 10 years, “Iris” is currently on hiatus as the Oscars have taken over the theater for the next few weeks.
The show, which returns March 24, even modified the auditorium and the 9,600-square-foot stage. Cirque du Soleil needed two lifts built, with a price tag of $40 million. To accommodate these lifts, 44-foot deep pits were excavated out, making the vertical space 122 feet. Cirque also removed seating from the theater, reducing seating to 2,500, in order to give all audience members the same viewing experience.
Alas, the “Kodak Theatre” name is no more and another sponsor will likely takes its place this year. But will it be as significant?
“The naming of Kodak Theatre by Eastman Kodak Co., is one of the most significant corporate sponsorships in history,” states CIM Group’s Hollywood & Highland website. “Kodak’s prominence and long-standing ties to the film industry in Hollywood make the relationship a natural. In fact, for the 83rd consecutive year, ever since the first Academy Awards, the winner of the ‘Best Picture’ category was produced on Kodak film.”
Seven of the nine films up for Best Picture this year were shot on Kodak film.
Maybe the new sponsor of the theater can be RED? That would be a sign of the times.
The 84th Academy Awards are Feb. 26 and will air locally at 8:30 p.m. on WTVG 13abc. Red carpet coverage begins at 7 p.m.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com.