Ruling: Kodak can exit Oscar venue

Feb. 26 ceremony could be held in nameless venue

Eastman Kodak has won the right in bankruptcy court to terminate its sponsorship agreement with the home of the Oscars, creating the possibility of a nameless venue — or an all-new sponsor — by the time the Feb. 26 telecast comes around.

Though the judge did not specify a time-frame for removing Kodak’s name, a company spokesperson who confirmed the ruling said the matter is in the hands of venue owner CIM.

“We have been successful in terminating our sponsorship,” the spokesperson said. “It’s up to them as to how they’ll change the signage.”

The naming rights agreement dates back to 2000, when the company agreed to pay $3.6 million per year to call the venue at Hollywood and Highland the Kodak Theatre. Wednesday’s ruling terminates some $38 million of the $72 million contract.

CIM group objected to Kodak’s request on Feb. 8 and has expressed qualms about removing all traces of the sponsorship, stressing that to do so would not be feasible with the Oscars’ promotional campaign already well under way and only two weeks left before the ceremony.

Kodak’s win coincides with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences exercising its right to shop for another venue. Academy president Tom Sherak told Variety earlier in the month that talks with CIM are still ongoing; however, if AMPAS chooses another venue, it would eliminate the cache that sponsorship of the theater offers.

The Oscars are by far the highest-profile event that takes place at the complex, though the theater also has served as the home of Fox’s finale of “American Idol,” the ESPY, BET and Daytime Emmy awards, as well as Cirque du Soleil’s “Iris.”

AMPAS has no active involvement in who lands the new sponsorship deal but does have veto power over the selection.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19 through the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content