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Are the Oscars Moving Out of the Kodak Theatre?

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The Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland is essentially the theatre the Oscars built, but when the venerable annual awards spectacle's lease is up after the 2013 show, the Academy might be putting on their telecast in another venue.

After an almost decade-long tenure at the Kodak, "last week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences exercised a clause in its contract and notified the CIM Group, which owns the venue, that it may move the Oscars elsewhere" for future shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It's not for dislike of the venue, says Academy president Tom Sherak, they just feel they should "exercise this [option] and then see what happens."

What it really comes down to, not surprisingly, is money, and the Academy is nosing for a better lease deal. Kodak (you know, they make film for your camera--remember those?) has been struggling financially in recent years, unlike in July 2000 when Kodak "acquired naming rights to the 3,401 seat theater in the then-new Hollywood & Highland complex on Hollywood Blvd." It's costing them a pretty penny, namely $4 million a year, to keep their name on the theatre.

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What might the Academy do if Kodak loses the theatre?

[I]f Kodak does not, or cannot, continue as the name sponsor on the theater, the CIM Group will likely seek to sell the naming rights to another business. Having the Oscars would be a huge calling card in such a negotiation, as it guarantees global brand exposure. That is the leverage the Academy believes gives it muscle in re-negotiating its contract.

If the Kodak Theatre lost the Oscars, it would render much of the motif of the H&H center anchorless, and it would also mean another show lost for the venue. The Oscars have moved around town since they began in the 1920s, having been held in places like a banquet room at the Hollywood Roosevelt, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the Dororthy Chandler Pavilion, and the Shrine Auditorium, so a move in venues isn't unprecedented. The next Academy Awards will be in February, at the Kodak--for what could be the penultimate time.