Reliving That Iconic Empire State Meeting: 'Sleepless' Film Celebrates 30th Anniversary


"Our dream was to make a movie about how movies screw up your brain about love, and then if we did a good job, we would become one of the movies that would screw up people's brains about love forever." – Nora Ephron, writer/director, “Sleepless in Seattle.”

“Forever” is yet to come, but 30 years isn’t bad.

A variety of entities have teamed up to celebrate the  anniversary of the mega-hit romcom “Sleepless in Seattle,” including New York City’s Empire State Building and Seattle’s Space Needle, with support from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (which sells the film on disc and digital), Alaska Airlines, Visit Seattle, New York City Tourism + Conventions, and Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle).

“Sleepless in Seattle” featured both iconic structures in its story of two strangers (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) destined to meet for the first time on Valentine’s Day.



Statements from both iconic buildings (well, actually from Randy Coté, the Space Needle’s chief marketing officer, and Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory) noted fondly how the 30-year-old film continues to draw visitors “living out their romantic comedy dreams” (in Coté’s words).

The joint promotion kicked off June 26, with an online sweepstakes, running through midnight July 21, at sleepless30.com. One winner will receive three-night trips for two to both Seattle and New York City, with flights courtesy of Alaska Airlines (rules/restrictions apply), as well as CityPass tickets in both cities, tours at both buildings, dinner at both buildings, hotel accommodations and more.

Starting June 29, through Monday July 3, visitors to both buildings can get photos taken that recreate the “Sleepless in Seattle”movie poster.

On the night June 30, the Space Needle will light up in red, and the Empire State Building in lavender and red -- with a heart spinning in the tower’s mast to resemble the original movie artwork and the “sign” that led Meg Ryan’s character back to the top of the building.

Screenings of “Sleepless in Seattle” are also on the agenda in both cities.

A free outdoor screening will take place in Seattle on  July 1 at Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater.

New York City’s screening is far from free. For $99 a ticket, attendees get to view the film on July 9 on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, followed by a visit to the Observatory Deck. Soda, candy and popcorn will be provided at no additional cost. 

“Sleepless in Seattle” premiered in theaters on June 26, 1993.

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