Kodak requests name be removed from Oscars venue

Wed Feb 1, 2012 2:49pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co has asked the U.S. bankruptcy court to void an estimated $4 million-a-year contract to have its name on the Hollywood theater that hosts the Oscars as the bankrupt photography company tries to reduce its debt.

Kodak said in court documents that it was filing a motion to reject the contract and that the theater should take all steps necessary to remove Kodak's naming rights and signage associated with it.

About 10 years ago, Kodak agreed to pay $74 million to developers to see its name on the 3,400-plus seat theater. The building is owned by CIM Group. A spokesperson for CIM was not immediately available to comment.

"Kodak is proud of its important role in the entertainment industry, and our long-standing relationship with film makers. Our motion today reflects our commitment to ensure that we are maximizing value for our entertainment customers, creditors and other stakeholders," the company said.

Kodak's bankruptcy on January 19 has been reverberating through Hollywood in several ways.

Among Kodak's top unsecured creditors are major studios, owed millions of dollars in film rebates, who fear they will not get repaid.

Major entertainment companies listed among Kodak's top 50 unsecured creditors include Sony, owed $16.7 million; Time Warner's Warner Brothers, due $14.2 million; Comcast NBC Universal, short $9.3 million; Viacom's Paramount Studios, owed $6.8 million; and Walt Disney Studios, $4.2 million.

Sources have said most of those debts are related to film rebates owed to the studios who buy film from Kodak on a picture-by-picture basis. The price of film varies and often drops as a studio uses more, which is why they are often owed rebates.

The Oscars awards will be presented on February 26.

The case is in re: Eastman Kodak Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York. No. 12-10202.

(Reporting By Susan Zeidler; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

 
<p>An Oscar statue stands in front of the entrance to the Kodak Theatre in preparation for the 80th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood February 21, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>