The end for Kodak Oscar theatre
Struggling photography giant Kodak has been given the green light to end its sponsorship deal with the Hollywood theatre that is the venue for the Academy Awards.
Kodak signed a $74m (e56m) deal for naming rights to the theatre in 2000. But the company filed for bankruptcy protection last month and wanted to end its contract for naming rights of the glamorous Los Angeles theatre as it tries to improve its finances.
The company's financial advisers said in court documents that the benefits of having the company's name on the 3,300-seat erstwhile Kodak Theatre were not worth the contract's cost.
Kodak confirmed yesterday that a US bankruptcy judge approved its request to end the deal.
It is unclear what name will be on the theatre when the Oscars are awarded on February 26. Kodak said the termination was effective immediately and deferred questions on the theatre's name to the venue's owners and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
CIM Group, which owns the theatre, declined to comment on the decision or the future of the theatre's name. A representative for the academy did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to the theatre's name, its owners may have to make other tweaks.
The theatre has a George Eastman Room, named after Kodak's founder, which displays one of the nine Oscar statuettes that Kodak has been awarded through the years for its scientific and technical achievements and contributions to the industry.
Kodak, based in New York, is a photography pioneer but has been battered by competition and has failed to keep up with the shift from film to digital technology. It has been in a roughly decade-long turnaround but filed for bankruptcy protection when it ran short on cash.
Kodak spokesman Christopher Veronda said the company would still have a presence at the awards show, noting that seven of the nine films nominated for the best picture Oscar were shot on Kodak film.