• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 643 other subscribers

Billy Crystal had some fun at Kodak’s expense.

He called the former Kodak Theatre the “Chapter 11 Theatre” and the “Your Name Here Theatre.” He said next year it will be the “Flomax Theatre.”

Rochesterians were not amused. There are a ton of negative comments on my Facebook page. Here are some tweets about Crystal’s Kodak jokes:

Even though Kodak’s name won’t be mentioned at the Oscars ceremony, the company will still have a significant presence. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were shot on Kodak film.

Hollywood directors still like film. But how long will that last? No one really knows:

“Though reports of its imminent death have been exaggerated, more industry observers than before accept the end of film. “In 100 years, yes,” says AbelCine’s (Moe) Shore. “In ten years, I think we’ll still have film cameras. So somewhere between 10 and 100 years.”

Kodak is still a big player in Hollywood. It makes billions of feet of movie film a year and is continuing to develop new kinds of movie film. Kodak has also innovated in the area of digital cinematography. It licensed its laser projection technology to IMAX.

Movie film has some things working in its favor. The cameras last for years and it’s a well-established technology. Famous directors, including Steven Spielberg, love film. Most movies in India are shot on film. Film has tremendous archival properties. Movies shot on digital begin to deteriorate after as little as 5 years and technology changes can render digital movies obsolete.

But almost everyone sees the writing on the wall. Camera manufacturers have all but stopped making cameras for movie film. Theaters are going digital to save on the costs of making and shipping prints. More directors are choosing digital photography, The technology is making movie production much more accessible to independent filmmakers.

The consumer photography transition to digital is complete. The same absolutely cannot be said for the movie industry.

“It’s going to be less of a debate,” (filmmaker Jeff) Cronenweth added. “In all fairness, we’re at the infancy stage of digital cinema.”

More Links of the Day:

– The Academy Awards are in talks with the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

The downtown venue is offering a lease comparable to what the Academy currently pays CIM Group, owner of the 3,400-seat Kodak, but with a perks package that includes more seats, better infrastructure, greater promotional opportunities and more ancillary facilities for parties and press.


Kodak is expected to file bankruptcy soon, or at the very least be reorganized in a way that may make it unlikely they will continue its $4 million a year commitment for another decade.

– Kodak’s UK pension fund may figure big into any reorganization, Reuters reports:

Kodak’s ties to the UK began in the 1800s and continued in the 1900s. Whole communities were built around the plants, similar to its hometown of Rochester.


Kodak’s overseas pension and benefit obligations have been underfunded for most of the past decade, its annual reports for that time period show.

The company has employee pension plans in France, for instance, but the UK Pension Regulator is unique in that it has aggressive legal authority to pursue funding claims abroad.

– Kodak’s lawsuits against Apple and HTC may be a move to increase the value of its trove of digital imaging patents, Bloomberg reports.

– In 2011, Xerox ranked 28th in the number of patents granted.

– Xerox CEO Ursula Burns decried the state of higher education in the U.S.

And the hits keep coming.

The Hollywood Reporter says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may move the Oscars after the 2013 show.  The Academy Awards have been held at the Kodak Theatre since 2002. The lease with the CIM Group, which owns the theater, has an out clause after ten years. The Academy will try to negotiate a better lease.

Some of this has to do with the financial picture of Kodak.  Excerpt:

It was a different situation in July 2000 when Kodak acquired naming rights to the 3,401 seat theater in the then-new Hollywood & Highland complex on Hollywood Blvd. Kodak, then still a global leader in imaging, agreed to pay $75 million over 20 years to have its name on the theater. It has been making $4 million annual payments ever since.

But if 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.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the CIM Group said Kodak is current on its payments.