Sound deal: Dolby puts name on Oscars venue

The Hollywood venue that hosts the annual Oscars show was renamed the Dolby Theatre, after the audio pioneer gained naming rights previously held by bankrupt camera company Kodak.

Kodak pulled out weeks before this year's Academy Awards show in February, and talks have been ongoing to find a new backer for the venue, next to the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Britain-founded, California-based audio technology pioneer Dolby announced a deal with the CIM Group, which owns the Hollywood & Highland Center of which the Oscars venue is part, to put its name on the theatre for the next 20 years.

"Dolby is a brand recognized around the world for creating the best, most life-like entertainment sound experiences in any environment," said Dolby Laboratories chief Kevin Yeaman.

"This partnership with CIM allows the Dolby Theatre to be not only the world stage for the Academy Awards, but for Dolby innovations for decades to come," he added.

Dolby said it would use the deal to showcase its latest Dolby Atmos sound system, which it described as "a break-through audio technology that delivers the most natural, life-like sensory experience," in the 3,400-seat theater.

The accord was welcomed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which organizes Hollywood's top annual awards show.

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

"We are pleased to have a new agreement with CIM that will continue our longstanding partnership," he added.

CIM Group co-founder Shaul Kuba added: "Dolby Laboratories has a long history in Hollywood and has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry.

"It is a respected international brand and technology innovator. We are proud to welcome them as our partner on the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center," he said.

A bankruptcy court in February approved Kodak's request to cancel its contract with the until-then Kodak Theatre, ruling that it was "in the best interests of the debtors, their estates, their creditors and other parties."

The contract between Eastman Kodak and theater owner CIM was valued at $72 million -- $3.6 million per year for 20 years.

The theater, inaugurated in November 2001 with seating for 3,332, has hosted the Academy Awards since 2002.

Kodak, an iconic American firm that introduced generations of consumers to mass-market cameras, filed for bankruptcy in January.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • 5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus
    5 Unanswered Questions About Jesus

    As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that the Star of Bethlehem (a celestial event long associated with Jesus' birth) may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter occurred in October of 7 B.C. Still others have claimed that Jesus was born in the spring, based on stories about shepherds watching over their flocks in fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.