Seattle Cinerama

2100 4th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98121

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Seattle Cinerama

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Seattle’s Martin Cinerama opened in 1963 using the original Cinerama 3-strip projection technique. But with a shift underway towards 70mm projection, the theater was altered just a few months later, although the enormous curved screen was kept.

The 70mm Cinerama screenings lasted until 1969, when the theater switched to more conventional 35mm projectors. Eventually Cineplex Odeon took over operations. By 1997, the theater was struggling and developers swooped in with plans to repurpose the theater.

Very quickly, Seattle Cinerama lovers began a grassroots effort to save the theater. A year later, Paul Allen (of Microsoft fame), bought the theater for $3 million. Soon after, he orchestrated an immense restoration project that enhanced the theater’s appearance and returned it to its roots—showing films in the Cinerama format.

Re-opened in 1999, the Seattle Cinerama Theater is now one of only three operating Cinerama theaters in the world. This beautifully restored shrine to Cinerama is now one of the most technologically advanced movie theaters ever erected.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 195 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 27, 2013 at 1:36 am

I sure hope this extremely rare surviving Cinerama house continues to show 2001 (and other classic 70mm films) and How the West Was Won. Paul Allen paid for new prints of those films. I myself have no interest in those other films you mention.

KenLayton
KenLayton on August 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

I’d want to see films in their original Cinerama projection process on film not digital video projection.

MrRsoc
MrRsoc on September 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

To Ken’s comment…I wonder if there is a technology that can take the digital elements of the blu-ray (BD) restoration of How the West Was Won and create a utility to stitch the seams together as beautifully as is done for the BD. The BD is quite amazing in SmileBox on a “large” projected HT screen. The seams are all but invisible. If the 2K files made of each strip for the BD were used to create a 6K Cinerama screen at DCI specs, projected with laser projectors, that could be quite an impressive “restoration” for the big screen events. Ahem..Mr. Allen…we have an idea. ;–)

I’m all for purist screenings of the three 35mm strips, but a big screen “digital” Cinerama could be pretty cool.

paulnelson
paulnelson on April 6, 2014 at 6:08 am

I saw Blade Runner here once in an expanded Cinerama size presentation years ago. Special lense? Don’t know but it appeared to be just as expansive and large as the Cinerama process. Great! Also Days of Heaven.

edlambert
edlambert on May 4, 2014 at 2:00 am

Recently Dave Strohmaier exhibited snippets of the Smilebox restoration of “Cinerama Holiday” on the full Cinerama screen at Bradford, UK. It is an improvement to see the film without the jiggling that couldn’t be helped when three filmstrips were being run in the three projectors required for the original Cinerama process and presentation. I neglected to ask Dave whether the original seven-track sound system was preserved or that a downsizing to fewer tracks was employed. You can see the presentation here:

http://www.davidstrohmaier.com/TEST/Smilebox%20BrafordiPad%20and%20iPhone%204.m4v

Redwards1
Redwards1 on July 11, 2014 at 12:46 am

The 70mm single projector presentations of films originally in 3 projector Cinerama at the Cinerama Festival at the Cinerama Dome in LA had little of the impact of the originals, with the exception of South Seas Adventure which was restored by an outfit in Austin, Texas. The sound on all the 70mm presentations was nothing like the original 7 channel Cinerama sound.

neeb
neeb on August 4, 2014 at 11:54 am

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Cinerama-to-close-for-months-5660009.php

Closing for a few months starting August 4, 2014.

Also, seeking a liquor license.

markinthedark
markinthedark on August 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I hope they don’t attempt to LieMax the place.

Redwards1
Redwards1 on August 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Does anyone remember the sound at the Seattle Cinerama before Dolby was installed? It was more realistic & less “pumped up”. This was the only Dolby installation I have heard that was NOT an improvement. From reports since the rescue of the theatre that misfire installation no longer exists.

egcarter
egcarter on August 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

They are getting their 6P Laser Projection, Dolby 3D, Dolby Atmos, and other “enhancements.”

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