Seattle's Cinerama theater, shuttered since 2020, to reopen under new owner

Seattle's Cinerama theater, shuttered since 2020, to reopen under new owner

Seattle International Film Festival purchases the historic Cinerama Theater in Belltown, Seattle from Paul Allen's estate.

The announcement was made Thursday night at the Paramount Theatre, during the opening festivities of the 49th annual film festival. The financial details of the deal were not revealed.

Jody Allen stated in a press release that she was'so pleased' about SIFF's purchase of the theater. They are the perfect mission-driven group to shepherd this special place and bring more film and movie fans to downtown Seattle.

The venue at Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street was opened in 1963. In the 1990s it was in disrepair, and at risk of being demolished. Allen purchased the property in 1998 for $3.75million. The property was closed in early 2020, ostensibly to renovate. It has been closed ever since.

According to the news release, after Allen's passing in 2018, all proceeds from the sale of the theater would be donated to charity. Allen's estate also sold Mercer Island property for $67m, a yacht of 414 feet and collected artworks.

SIFF intends to reopen Cinerama in the second half of this year with a new name.

SIFF is now the third company to purchase a historic property within Seattle. It previously acquired the Uptown Theater, in 2011, and the Egyptian Theater at Capitol Hill, in 2014. The nonprofit operates the SIFF film center at Seattle Center.

In a press release, Executive Director Tom Mara stated that he was "honored" to be stewards of the historic theater. It's a movie venue that is loved by the community, and it speaks to the important role SIFF has in bringing film and its art to audiences from all over our region. We have all experienced the magic that this theater has to offer. We are thrilled to continue the vision and impact of Paul Allen, who started it so many years back.