In the mid-1990s, Paul Allen heard that Seattle's historic Cinerama Theater might close down to become a rock-climbing club, dinner theater or parking lot. That prompted him to sign a "Save the Cinerama" petition that was circulating throughout the city. He later intervened by purchasing the iconic movie-house himself.
Seattle's Cinerama Theater was one of many of its kind opened in the 1950s and 1960s for Cinerama films, technological marvels of the time that were shown on a curved screen that utilized a three-projector system. Now, Seattle Cinerama is one of only three theaters worldwide capable of presenting film in the Cinerama format.
In 1998, Vulcan kicked off a major, multi-million dollar renovation of the theater, refurbishing the interior and exterior, installing state-of-the-art sound and projector systems and ensuring maximum accessibility for mobility- and sensory-impaired patrons. A grand re-opening celebration took place on April 22, 1999 to introduce the revamped theater to Seattle. In 2010, another renovation brought digital sound and new 3D capabilities to the theater.
In 2014 it became the first theater in the world with a Christie 6P dual laser projector in a commercial theater as part of a significant revamp. Also added were Dolby Atmos sound and Meyer Sound Acheron loudspeakers. Combined, these create a crisp, multi-dimensional experience unlike any other. Inside the theater, new, wider chairs were added and the auditorium seating was reduced to allow for increased leg room.
With its ability to present cinema in virtually any format, Seattle Cinerama is among the most versatile theaters at which to experience a film. It is regularly voted one of Seattle's "best places to watch a movie" and plays host to various film festivals and blockbuster film premieres each year.