In the mid-1990s, Paul Allen heard that Seattle's historic Cinerama Theatre 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 old movie-house himself. Seattle's Cinerama Theatre 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 theatre, 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 theatre to Seattle. In 2010, another renovation brought digital sound and new 3D capabilities to the theater, and in 2014, it will become the first theater in the world with commercial digital laser projection.
With its ability to present cinema in virtually any format, Seattle Cinerama is truly one of the most versatile theaters out there. 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.