Seattle Cinerama

2100 4th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98121

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MSC77 on October 10, 2021 at 10:22 am

Here’s the link to a newly-published 70mm playdate chronology for the Seattle region which, of course, includes numerous mentions of the Cinerama Theater.

JodarMovieFan on June 1, 2020 at 1:03 am

Based on what I am able to obtain from different online news sources, it appears Vulcan Inc., owned by the late Paul Allen attempted to renovate the theater (fix wear and tear items and adjust the concession disclosed tech changes) but stopped in Feb. Now Vulcan puts out a statement that the venue remains closed for the forseeable future and has shut down its arts & entertainment division.

The speculation now is Amazon may be interested in the venue for its own venture into the entertainment business as Netflix has bought the Egyptian in Hollywood. Sounds sensible, if this all turns out to be true.

I can’t imagine anyone dismantling what is in place now, including the 3 strip projection set up. Its just crazy. On the other hand, DC’s Uptown had a 3 strip set up way back when..and it is now currently vacant. Bezos, who has a large presence in DC owning the Washington Post and opening up a campus in Arlington VA, could take over that venue. The 3 strip set up could be transferred there and DC could have show Cinerama. Okay, that last part is my fantasy projection.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 1, 2020 at 12:18 am

I wonder what Paul Allen’s will had to say about his intentions for the theater

Redwards1 on May 31, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Who is it that will actually decide the fate of the Seattle Cinerama? The city of Chicago purchased the iconic Chicago Theatre to save it.

Mark Boszko
Mark Boszko on May 31, 2020 at 9:28 pm

I’m glad I got to live here in Seattle while it was open, since I moved here in 2013. I never saw anything on the deep curved Cinerama screen (afaik still installed behind the modern, less-curved screen), but I’m grateful for all of the films I got to see there, including 2001. I hope someone steps in to rescue it.

Redwards1 on May 31, 2020 at 8:58 pm

Absolutely true: the Cinerama Dome in LA was designed to present 70mm single projector “Cinerama”. Stanley Kramer, director of the opening feature Mad Mad Mad World, stated “It’s not Cinerama.” The screen in the Cinerama dome is not louvered but is deeply curved and somehow manages not to wash out the projected image, perhaps using lenticular technology. Despite its large size I did not find it entirely successful at “putting you in the picture” even with the two projectors later added to present three strip Cinerama. This makes losing the Seattle Cinerama an even greater tragedy.

Redwards1 on May 30, 2020 at 1:20 pm

Giving up the Seattle Cinerama leaves only a single Cinerama equipped theatre in the US, namely the Cinerama Dome in LA which has such a steep projection angle the screen is tilted. I find that decreases the Cinerama experience, which probably means a complete loss of the process in the near future. Transferring 3 individual 35mm images to a single 70mm frame will preserve the Cinerama releases, but does not replicate the original experience. I hope the original triple reels will be turned over to the Library of Congress film restoration and preservation division.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 28, 2020 at 10:54 pm

So Paul Allen’s estate is f-cking up this theater?

JodarMovieFan on May 28, 2020 at 7:41 pm

This is unfortunate, but not unexpected given today’s pandemic. I suppose another philanthropist needs to step in and take over. Probably would need to be a Hollywood type individual who appreciates the film experience. Page Steven Spielberg and/or George Lucas, please. :) Or both of them. How about programming on during the weekends/week of exclusive screenings of their films? Maybe do the original un-tweaked Star Wars one weekend..CE3K original edition the next? Yeah..yeah.. Disney owns Lucasfilm now. Its just an idea.

Redwards1 on May 28, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Sounds like the Cinerama is going the way of the late UA 150. They were the last Seattle theatres with deep-curved screens. The Blue Mouse was long gone when I lived in Seattle and it may have had a deep-curved screen, ditto the Paramount during its Cinerama phase. Now Seattle will be like everywhere else, a nation of flat screen multiplex exhibitors.

KenLayton on May 28, 2020 at 11:23 am

On the news yesterday, they mentioned the Cinerama is closed, possibly never to re-open.

moviebuff82 on May 28, 2020 at 9:33 am

what a shame it’s being shutdown…it’s an iconic theater and one of the last cineramas in the world.

bigjoe59 on February 18, 2020 at 6:21 pm


to MSC77- in my original post discussing Manhattan’s roadshow houses during the prime period of Sept. 1952 to Dec. 1972 as opposed to Seattle’s I listed the 7 that were “regularly” used. though they are/were fine theaters the Royale, Sutton, Coronet etc….. were not “regularly” used as roadshow houses.

also to Mike(saps)– you are correct in that the Liberty (which is now used as an event space for the adjacent Hilton Hotel) was used for the roadshow run of The Birth of a Nation Feb. 1915 it doesn’t fall into the time period I stated.

JackCoursey on February 18, 2020 at 5:09 pm

The Cinerama is currently closed for “upgrades”. Does this mean that it is going to be divided up into a multiplex?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 18, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Or how about the Liberty (Birth of a Nation)?

MSC77 on February 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm

bigjoe59: Regarding the New York roadshow houses you have been citing here and elsewhere, is there a reason you haven’t been including the Royale (Gigi), Sutton (The Blue Max), Coronet (The Taming of the Shrew), Fine Arts (The Charge of the Light Brigade), 57th Street Lincoln Art (The Lion in Winter), Ziegfeld (Marooned), or the Columbia (Young Winston)?

bigjoe59 on February 14, 2020 at 7:49 pm


since I was talking about the fate of the prime roadshow houses in New York as opposed to Seattle I think it was a valid comment to make.

Redwards1 on February 14, 2020 at 7:25 pm

I’m not sure how the current observations apply to the Seattle Cinerama, but it was heartbreaking to see a gem like the United Artists in Detroit run into the ground with adult films and neglect. The United Artists in Los Angeles is often referred to as a twin, but is in fact much larger and more elaborate and beautifully restored. What happens to theatre buildings is a direct reflection of the health of their community. That does apply to the Seattle Cinerama.

bigjoe59 on February 13, 2020 at 5:39 pm

to Mike(saps)– many thanks for your reply. Boys Scouts Honor the first two times I tried only 5 theaters ever showed up. I have no idea what I clicked on. speaking of Seattle. its interesting none of the 7 theaters the studios used for their roadshow engagements in Manhattan(Criterion, Loews State, RKO Palace, Demille, Warner, Rivoli and Loews Capitol ever wound up showing “adult” films. that apparently is not the case in other cities.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 13, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Link to Seattle page

bigjoe59 on February 13, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Hello from NYC-

to MSC77. NYC is a big city comprised of five boroughs. but if one eliminates all the neighborhood theaters in the other four boroughs Manhattan alone had countless theaters. but if we narrow our search to just the 1st run theaters that have existed in Manhattan that’s still a hell of a lot of theaters. my question being simple. when I clicked om “all theaters” for Seattle all that comes up is five theaters. you mean in the entire history OF Seattle there have only been 5 movie theaters?

Redwards1 on February 9, 2020 at 12:26 pm

Goodbye Mr Chips shown at the Colosseum in 70mm. Sound of Music shown at the Music Box in 70mm. Both were first run Seattle theaters in city center.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 8, 2020 at 6:24 pm

I have seen a regular movie at the Cinerama, a silent movie at the Paramount, and had a quick tour of the Fifth Avenue…

MSC77 on February 8, 2020 at 5:00 pm


5TH AVENUE (Cinema Treasures Database Entry #2447)
The Ten Commandments
El Cid
Lawrence of Arabia
The Sound of Music
The Bible
Doctor Dolittle
Hello, Dolly!

BLUE MOUSE (#18183)
Around the World in 80 Days
South Pacific
The Big Fisherman
King of Kings
Mutiny on the Bounty
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

BROADWAY (#11447)

BURIEN (#20408)

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
How the West Was Won
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Hallelujah Trail
Battle of the Bulge
Russian Adventure
Grand Prix
Thoroughly Modern Millie
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ice Station Zebra
Song of Norway

MAGNOLIA (#11358)

MUSIC BOX (#2457)
West Side Story
My Fair Lady
Doctor Zhivago
Finian’s Rainbow
The Lion in Winter
Paint Your Wagon

This is Cinerama
Cinerama Holiday
Seven Wonders of the World
The Diary of Anne Frank
Holiday in Spain
The Longest Day
Mediterranean Holiday
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Blue Max
The Sand Pebbles
Gone with the Wind (’67 re-issue)
The Shoes of the Fisherman
Ben-Hur (’69 re-issue)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Sweet Charity


UPTOWN (#3765)
Funny Girl
Fiddler on the Roof
Man of La Mancha
Last Tango in Paris

Mike Tiano
Mike Tiano on February 4, 2020 at 3:42 pm

The Seattle Cinerama has closed for renovations—suddenly it seems, and someone tweeted that the staff was laid off without much notice. According to the Seattle Times article renovations include “new carpet, general wear-and-tear refurbishment, and an overhaul to the kitchen, which will allow the theater to expand its food offerings.” Makes me wonder if they’re going to expand the lobby.

As to when it will reopen: “The Vulcan rep declined to give a specific date for the theater’s reopening, saying only that Cinerama would be back in business ‘later this year ahead of the year’s biggest films.’” Sounds like Vulcan is being vague on purpose, as that could mean ahead of the summer releases, or the end of year awards-driven output.