Seattle Cinerama

2100 4th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98121

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Seattle Cinerama 2004 70mm Festival

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. It had a capacity of 808 seats.

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. In the Fall of 2014 it was closed for remodelling, reopening in November 2014 with a reduced seating capacity of 570.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 206 comments)

HowardBHaas on September 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

Facebook page says closed August 3. Reopening date not announced. Fall sometime.

rick074 on September 26, 2014 at 12:03 am

rumor has it that the loudspeakers installed at the last remodel (EAW) will be replaced with Meyer Sound Labs. Both are good, but Meyer is the next step.

egcarter on November 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm

laser projector is installed and calibrated, Meyer Sound speakers are being installed for the Dolby Atmos system. New seating has reduced capacity from 808 to 570; all seats are now reserved. Opening is November 20th with THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I

Giles on November 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

that’s a lot of seats to lose.

Redwards1 on November 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

If correct, going from 808 seats to 570 is an incredible loss of capacity. The cost of admission will surely be increased as a result. Although seats at the rear of the main floor and balcony diminished the effect of the large deeply curved screen, there are worse seats by far in other Seattle theatres, including reserved seat houses.

markinthedark on November 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

The Cinerama plays day and date with AMC and Regal multiplexes less than a mile away and also the 21+ Big Picture screening room a few blocks away. The next Hunger Games will play one at one of the multiplexes on several screens and likely and the Big Picture as well. So the seat reduction is not too big a deal. I have rarely seen it sell out. The added legroom will probably increase ticket sales even with a reduced seat count (as it has for AMC). Adding beer and wine will also certainly add revenue and ticket sales as well.

I only wish it had opened in time to play Interstellar in 5/70. Hopefully they will get a print for one of their 70mm festivals (if they kept the equipment!!!)

Redwards1 on November 5, 2014 at 10:04 am

The Cinerama will never play to capacity as long as it positions itself in the same category as multiplexes & generic theatres. It is a unique theatre & should program itself accordingly. Why not sell mini-seasons of reserved seats to Cinerama & Todd-AO shown as only Seattle Cinerama can show them? Direct mail marketing to develop an in-house mailing/email list & other techniques used by reserved seat venues do not appear to have been used.

Giles on November 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

so have any of you Seattle folk been to see the new Hunger Games movie? how does the new laser image look? how does the Dolby Atmos setup sound? How are the speakers configured since there is balcony seating? I’m thinking of trekking out to see the last Hobbit movie here.

egcarter on December 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I attended the Cinerama on the grand re-opening night. It’s a Total Stunner. And they have been selling out most of their performances since. The image with their laser projector looked like a 70mm print! Sound is phenomenal. Seats are wonderful… and such legroom! From someone who attended the Press Day demos (Brightest, sharpest, best 3D he’s ever seen… and he does that stuff for a living) Just go.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 18, 2015 at 4:12 pm

The J. Evan Miller collection of Cinerama Theater Plans lists six Martin Cinerama houses, including the one in Seattle, as having been designed by the architectural firm of Finch, Alexander, Barnes, Rothschild, & Paschal. It’s likely that Raymond H.Pack was only the local supervising architect for the project, FABRAP being located in Atlanta.

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