|Former names||Kodak Theatre (2001–2012)|
Hollywood and Highland Center (2012)
|Location||6801 Hollywood Boulevard|
Los Angeles, California
|Opened||November 9, 2001 (2001-11-09)|
|Construction cost||$94 million|
|General contractor||McCarthy Building Companies|
The Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) is a live-performance auditorium in the Ovation Hollywood shopping mall and entertainment complex, on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. Since its opening on November 9, 2001, it has been the venue of the annual Academy Awards ceremony. It is adjacent to the TCL Chinese Theatre and near the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
IRIS by Cirque du Soleil, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Prince, Elvis Costello, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Harry Connick, Jr., Melissa Etheridge, Dixie Chicks, Tyler Perry, American Ballet Theatre, and numerous touring Broadway shows have all performed at the Dolby Theatre.
In addition to the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre has hosted the Latin Grammys, the AFI Life Achievement Awards, Stand Up 2 Cancer, CNN Heroes, American Idol, and the Miss USA pageant. The Dolby Theatre also hosted the Democratic presidential debates in 2008.
The theater was designed by David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group specifically with the Oscar ceremonies in mind. Though the stage is one of the largest in the United States—roughly tied with the Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music at Purdue University—measuring 113 ft (34 m) wide and 60 ft (18 m) deep, its seating capacity is only about half that of the Hall of Music, accommodating 3,332 people.
The auditorium has become known as a venue for televised theatrical performances (e.g., American Idol and the Academy Awards). The architectural team consulted extensively with leading production personnel in Hollywood, achieving a highly functional cable infrastructure, with an underground cable bunker that crosses under the theater to truck locations on adjacent streets. Power is also substantial and accessible. The theater has a unique Rockwell-designed cockpit in the orchestra seating area for camera, sound, and stage management.
The hall from the front entrance to the grand stairway (leading up to the theater at the rear of the shopping complex) is flanked by storefronts, as well as Art Deco columns displaying the names of past recipients of the Academy Award for Best Picture (with blank spaces left for future Best Picture winners, currently set up to 2071). In a fashion reminiscent of Hollywood movie-making, the building is dressed before the Academy Awards ceremony, sometimes with a different sign on its façade, red drapery to hide its storefronts, and the famous red carpet running up its grand stairway.
The theater was developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to overcome logistical issues it faced hosting the Academy Awards at other venues, such as the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Shrine Auditorium. In August 1997, AMPAS and Canadian development firm TrizecHahn went into negotiations over the development of an entertainment complex located on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue adjacent to the Mann's Chinese Theatre. Seven months later, both the Academy and TrizecHahn agreed on a twenty-year lease that allowed for the ceremony to be staged at the new venue.
The Academy Awards were first hosted at the new theater for its 74th edition in 2002, marking the first time it was held in Hollywood since the 32nd ceremony at the Pantages Theatre in 1960. It has been the venue for all Academy Awards ceremonies held since, with the only exception being the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021—which were downsized and moved to Union Station due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theater was sponsored, until February 2012, by the Eastman Kodak Company, which paid $75 million for naming rights to the building. In early 2012, Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection, thus ending its naming-rights deal. Then the theater's name was temporarily changed to the Hollywood and Highland Center at the suggestion of the venue's landlord.
On May 1, 2012, it was announced that the venue would be renamed the Dolby Theatre, after Dolby Laboratories signed a 20-year naming rights deal. Dolby updated the sound system first by installing Dolby Atmos. The company plans to continue updating the auditorium with newer technologies as they become available.
From September 2011 until early 2013, the venue was home to the permanent Los Angeles Cirque du Soleil show Iris, an acrobatic journey through the world of cinema, featuring an original score by Danny Elfman. The show made significant changes to the theater, including adding lifts deep under the original floor. It was announced on November 29, 2012, that Iris would close on January 19, 2013, after only two seasons, due to lack of profit.
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- Official website