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Oscars venue reopens as Dolby Theatre

By Derrik J. Lang
AP Entertainment Writer / June 11, 2012
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LOS ANGELES—The venue for the Oscars has a new name -- and sound.

The posh 3,400-seat theater formerly known as the Kodak Theatre reopened Monday with a new audio-visual system and new signage as the Dolby Theatre. Dolby Laboratories Inc. announced a 20-year deal with Hollywood & Highland Center owner CIM Group last month to rename the theater, which has hosted the Academy Awards since 2002.

The audio-visual technology company outfitted the four-level venue with its Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos projection and audio systems. Besides the Oscars, the Hollywood theater is home to the Cirque du Soleil production "Iris" and will host the world premiere next Monday of the Disney-Pixar film "Brave," which will be the first feature film released utilizing the Dolby Atmos technology.

"It's an incredible day for us," said Dolby President Kevin Yeaman after a demonstration Monday of the theater's new audio-visual systems. "We've been hard at work coming up with Dolby Atmos and Dolby 3D and looking for a way to tell that story and connect with audiences around the world. When this opportunity came up, we couldn't pass it up."

Unlike Dolby Surround 7.1, which uses different audio channels, Dolby Atmos can render sounds in space by harnessing individual speakers instead of entire speaker arrays. Dolby Atmos also adds overhead speakers, which were installed in the Dolby Theatre on two 50-foot-long trusses that must be removed for the acrobatic acts in "Iris."

CIM Group dropped the Kodak name from the theater ahead of the Oscars earlier this year after a bankruptcy court judge approved the early exit of 131-year-old Eastman Kodak Co. from a 20-year naming rights deal it signed with them in 1999.

The 85th annual Academy Awards are scheduled to be held at the Dolby Theatre on Feb. 24, 2013.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

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