Cinerama could get $2M in public money, will reopen with new name

27 July 2023

The long-awaited reopening of Cinerama movie theater could get a boost from the Seattle and King County Councils, but it may not be “Cinerama” anymore.

The nonprofit Seattle International Film Festival acquired the theater earlier this year after a three-year closure.

Cinerama sold to Seattle International Film Festival, scheduled to reopen later this year

Now The Seattle Times reports city councilmember Andrew Lewis and King county councilmember Joe McDermott are proposing separate grants to support it. These grants total around $2 million.

Cinerama opened in 1963 but fell into disrepair, and by the late 1990s, the theater was in danger of being demolished until Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought and restored the theater.

The theater shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with Allen’s wishes, the Seattle Cinerama Theater was set to be sold, with all estate proceeds dedicated to philanthropy. 

However– the name of the theater is still in question because the rights to “Cinerama” did not carry over to the sale.

SIFF said that the theater is scheduled to reopen later this year under a new name and become the fourth venue run by SIFF, alongside the SIFF Film Center, SIFF Cinema Uptown, and the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

The theater aims to reopen this fall– but there’s no official timeline yet.

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