SIFF Acquires Cinerama, the Beloved Theater Will Reopen This Year


SIFF announced that they have acquired the Seattle Cinerama Theater from the estate of Paul G. Allen. SIFF will reopen the theater later this year under a new name.

SIFF Executive Director Tom Mara made the announcement during the Opening Night celebration of the Annual Seattle International Film Festival, which runs through May 21. “We are honored to take on stewardship of this historic theater. It’s a film venue adored by the community and speaks to the critical role SIFF plays in bringing the power and art of film to diverse audiences across our region,” said Mara. “So many of us have experienced the magic of this theater, and we are excited to carry on the vision and impact that Paul Allen started so many years ago.”

The historic theater was opened in 1963 but was in disrepair by the 1990s when philanthropist and investor Paul G. Allen bought the theater and restored it. The venue became a beloved home for cinema, screening new releases, independent films, festivals, and events. During the COVID-19 pandemic the theater was closed in 2020 and was put on the market.

“We are so pleased about SIFF’s acquisition of the theater,” said Jody Allen, executor of the Allen Estate. “They are the ideal mission-driven organization to now shepherd this very special place, bring more film and movie lovers to downtown Seattle, and steward the venue and its role in our community for years to come.”

SIFF plans to reopen the theater later this year with a new name. The venue will be the fourth run by SIFF, along with SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Film Center, and SIFF Cinema Egyptian.