Owner objects to Kodak’s exit from Oscar theater

CIM challenges film brand's bid to end naming rights pact

Whether the Kodak Theater will continue to carry the embattled film brand’s name through the 84th Academy Award ceremony is now in the hands of the bankruptcy court.

Kodak, which has held the rights since the Hollywood & Highland theater opened in 2001, petitioned the court last month to have its name removed as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, but theater lease-holder CIM objected Thursday. A hearing is set for Feb. 15, just 11 days before the live broadcast of the 84th Academy Awards,

CIM said in the filing Kodak continues to benefit from the naming rights because of the association with the Oscars, a deal that CIM valued at $72 million over the 20-year contract.

CIM also pointed out that the promotional campaign for the Oscars is already well underway and that removing Kodak’s name from printed material and signage is “not practically feasible.”

In addition, the theater’s other well-known client, Cirque du Soleil, has spent $3.6 million advertising “Iris” and has promotional material referring to the Kodak Theater.

Kodak’s motion coincides with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences exercising its right to shop for another venue for the annual Oscar ceremony.

Academy president Tom Sherak told Variety last week that talks with CIM are still ongoing.

“The thinking was, if we have this right, let’s exercise it and then let’s go back and talk to them,” Sherak explained. “We don’t necessarily want to leave Hollywood.”