Comcast debuts the Universal Sphere

For months, Philadelphians have been left wondering about the giant "golf ball" looking structure on the second floor of Comcast's new office location at 18th and Arch Streets. Reminiscent of the pearlescent Spaceship Earth globe in Disney’s Epcot, Comcast finally debuted the three-story installation on May 20, 2019, as the Universal Sphere, an immersive theater installation.

With 30 showings per day, 25 guests at a time can enter the theater to watch a new short film produced by Steven Spielberg called, “The Power of I,” according to NBC10. Standing at an impressive 34-feet tall and 39-feet wide, the Universal Sphere is wheelchair accessible and accommodates service animals. Philadelphians are now being invited to reserve their seats through the Universal Sphere’s website to view the film for themselves.

Futuristic wonder practically radiates from the sphere itself as guests are plunged into an otherworldly immersive experience from the moment the doors slide open. Seated on a raised dias, audiences are constantly in motion as they stare overhead at a 360-degree dome screen. The film invites viewers to marvel at the power of ideas by weaving together history’s greatest geniuses, empathetic narratives, and influential documents.

Audiences are given only seconds to adjust to riding alongside whales and battling pirate ships before they’re rocketed light-years above into a galaxy of constellations and nebulae. At one point, the film shares the story of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia patient Emily Whitehead, whose battle with leukemia helped researchers make treatment breakthroughs.

Spielberg himself stated in an online video message that he hopes that all audience members, “feel that they matter, that they count.” And through covering every facet of human nature and history, the Universal Sphere accomplishes just that.


Written by Ameilia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association