February 2, 2012

Kodak requests name be removed from Oscars venue

Confetti falls at the end of the show at the 79th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, in this February 25, 2007 file photo.

LOS ANGELES, Feb 2 — Eastman Kodak Co has asked the US bankruptcy court to void an estimated US$4 million (RM12.08 million)-a-year contract to have its name on the Hollywood theatre 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 theatre should take all steps necessary to remove Kodak’s naming rights and signage associated with it.

About 10 years ago, Kodak agreed to pay US$74 million to developers to see its name on the 3,400-plus seat theatre. 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 maximising 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 US$16.7 million; Time Warner’s Warner Brothers, due US$14.2 million; Comcast NBC Universal, short US$9.3 million; Viacom’s Paramount Studios, owed US$6.8 million; and Walt Disney Studios, US$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, US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York. No. 12-10202. — Reuters

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