Nov 2, 2023 - Culture

Seattle's former Cinerama theater reopens Dec. 14

An image of the former Cinerama theater in Seattle with brightly painted murals.

Attendees line up for a movie premiere at Cinerama in 2016. Photo: FilmMagic

The historic Seattle theater formerly known as Cinerama will reopen after nearly four years with a new name in December.

Why it matters: Famed for its 97-foot giant screen, chocolate popcorn and special events like the May 4 celebration of "Star Wars," the movie house is among the city's cultural icons.

Driving the news: The theater — renamed SIFF Cinema Downtown — will reopen on Dec. 14 with a showing of "Wonka," the newest of several movies based on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Catch up quick: First opened in 1963, the theater at Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street closed in 2020 following the death of former owner Paul Allen.

  • The space remained shuttered until this past May, when Seattle International Film Festival executive director Tom Mara announced that the organization had acquired the theater from Allen's estate, The Stranger reports.
  • A $1 million grant proposed by City Councilmember Andrew Lewis in July was approved by the full council to get the theater back up and running before the end of the year.
  • The Cinerama name was not included in the acquisition, so the theater had to be renamed.

What's next: Tickets for "Wonka" will be available soon, per SIFF.

  • All seats will be reserved.
  • Prices range from $14.50 for children 12 and under to $20 for adults.

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