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Kodak May Opt Out of Oscars Venue


This weekend's Oscar Night ceremony might retain its annual residence at the Kodak Theatre in coming years, but the theater might not retain its name.

Ever since the Eastman Kodak Co. announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, the photo company has been making severe cuts to its intellectual property and contracts, including a 20-year agreement it made in 2000 for naming rights to the Los Angeles theater in exchange for $4 million per year in fees.

The CIM Group, the company that owns the Kodak Building complex, has now entered into negotiations with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) about the future location of the Academy Awards. So far, the new contract is expected to remain on site at least through 2012.

Currently, AMPAS is in the middle of a 20-year lease on the venue, which it signed in 2002. However, the academy's contract contains an opt-out provision after 10 years. Not surprisingly, other venue owners, such as Los Angeles-based AEG Group, and past Oscar sites like the Shrine Auditorium and the L.A. Music Center, are vying for the academy's affections.

Since 2007, Kodak has ended arrangements with the Olympic Games, NASCAR and, most recently, the Professional Golfers Association.