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If you want the biggest screen and the best sound system go take in a movie at Cinerama.

The original hi-tech theatre in Seattle in 1963 quickly began to lose its appeal as multiplex theatres came onto the scene in the 1980s.

Enter Microsoft's Paul Allen, who fought to "Save the Cinerama" and eventually bought it for $3 million in 1997. He began a serious restoration project that returned the theatre back to its roots. The Cinerama re-opened in April 1999 and is one of only three operating in the world.

Cinerama has 808 seats that all have a great view of the curved 90 foot long, 30 feet high screen. There is a second, smaller screen directly in front of the large one that accommodates modern 70mm/35mm movies. It breaks down in preparation of special events, which are played on the 90 foot screen.

The lobby honors the decor of 1963 when the Cinerama originally opened with blue and green tile and purple and green wallpaper. Even the snack counter looks like it was designed in the 1960s.


Celebrities packed the local premier of "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" on the Cinerama's grand opening in 1963. A few months later, the theatre was designed to host 70mm films on the giant screen and the triple projector was replaced with a single projector. After the showing of "Krakatoa, East of Java," the Cinerama mostly showed 35mm films. The Seattle landmark quickly began to lose its appeal as multiplex theatres came onto the scene in the 1980s. Cineplex Odeon bought the theatre in 1987, but was still only showing second-run movies.

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