The words “Kodak Theater” will be heard more than seen at the 74th Academy Awards.
Although the company paid $75 million to put its name on the theater over 20 years, that payment didn’t include the right to have the main Hollywood Boulevard entryway sign visible on Oscar night.
As a result, the prominent, brass Kodak Theater sign above the Hollywood Boulevard entry at Hollywood & Highland — what guests will walk beneath along the red carpet as they enter the corridor to the theater — will be covered, likely with a sign that will read something along the lines of “The 74th Annual Academy Awards.”
“This is traditional for us,” said Academy spokesman John Pavlik. “The audience has always walked in under a giant banner that says ‘Academy Awards.’ The issue wasn’t specific to the Kodak Theater. It has been part of our negotiations with Hollywood & Highland from the very beginning. It reflects our desire to walk into our show under our own banner.”
The sign above the Hollywood Boulevard entry is positioned to make it one of the most photographed objects on Earth. (Last year, 46.3 million domestic viewers watched the telecast.) Beneath it flow the stars, guests and nominees attending the Academy Awards.
In addition to the main sign, there are two four-feet square Kodak Theater signs flanking the Hollywood Boulevard entry about 12 feet above the sidewalk. One of these may be obstructed by press, bleachers or Oscar decor. The words “Kodak Theater” etched over the door of the actual theater itself will not be covered.
And there is a contractual requirement that the telecast’s opening bumper state that the awards are “live from the Kodak Theater.”
Though the $75 million went to H&H developer TrizecHahn, the image-conscious Academy had the rights to veto any company that might buy the name (just the thought of hearing the words “live from the Hustler Magazine Theater” would send AMPAS board members into cardiac arrest.)
The Acad gave its blessing to Kodak, which has a long history with Hollywood and has itself won eight Oscars for technical achievement and service.