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Oscars home gets new name: Dolby Theatre

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 5:51 PM EDT, Tue May 1, 2012
A rendering of the former Kodak Theatre which will be the Dolby Theatre.
A rendering of the former Kodak Theatre which will be the Dolby Theatre.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A new naming rights deal creates the Dolby Theatre
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides to keep Oscars there another 20 years
  • Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy removed film company's name from the marquee in January
  • Deal ends speculation that Oscars could move to a newer theater

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The Hollywood home of the Academy Awards show has a new name to replace the one it lost when Eastman Kodak Co. filed for bankruptcy in January.

The former Kodak Theatre is now the Dolby Theatre, thanks to a 20-year naming rights contract with Dolby Laboratories, a company known for its movie sound systems.

Along with getting its name mentioned frequently in the Oscars broadcasts and coverage leading up to the show, Dolby will use the theater as a "world class showcase for Dolby innovation," said Ramzi Haidamus, Dolby's sales and marketing executive vice president.

The sponsorship deal includes a commitment by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to keep the annual Oscars ceremony in the 3,400-seat theater for another 20 years; it has been there since 2002.

"The Academy's Board of Governors believes that the home for our awards is in Hollywood," Academy President Tom Sherak said. "It is where the Academy and the motion picture industry are rooted."

There had been speculation that the Oscars could move to the newer Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

Dolby would not reveal how much it was paying for the naming rights, but Kodak reportedly paid $4 million a year in the deal, initiated when the theater opened in 2001.

Dolby's contract is "very directly tied to the Oscars being held in this theatre," meaning the company could get out of the deal if the Academy moved its awards show before 2033, Haidamus said.

The company is "working feverishly" to produce Dolby Theatre marquee signage, which should be up within weeks, he said.

The theater is in a retail complex at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, one of the world's most-visited tourist spots.

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