Iconic Cinerama sign comes down as theater takes first step toward reopening with new name

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SEATTLE — The iconic Cinerama sign was taken down on Thursday, as the movie theater continued its transition to new ownership.

The theater first opened in 1963, before falling into disrepair in the decades to follow. In the late 1990s, Paul Allen took over and began efforts to restore it.

It was then shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in 2020, and stood empty for years before it was sold to the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) in May of 2023. That deal did not included the “Cinerama” name, and will reopen later this year under a new moniker.

Thursday’s removal of the Cinerama sign was the first step in those efforts to rebrand with a yet-to-be-announced new name. There is currently no official word as to when the theater will reopen its doors.

“SIFF is honored that this space, which has provided a truly powerful experience for filmmakers and film lovers alike, is now in our hands. These funds make it possible for us to open the theater’s doors to the public as soon as possible” SIFF Executive Director Tom Mara said in July. “We’re very eager to see the seats full again and to elevate what this space can do for artists, theater-goers, and the city at large.”