Indian Hills Theater

8601 West Dodge Road,
Omaha, NE 68114

Unfavorite 20 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 48 of 48 comments

Jesse Hoheisel
Jesse Hoheisel on January 7, 2005 at 9:14 pm

Also, where can one see that documentary about saving the theater? I can’t find it anywhere…

Jesse Hoheisel
Jesse Hoheisel on January 7, 2005 at 7:08 am

If ANYONE has pictures of the inside of the Indian Hills (or the outside, for that matter) that do not look like the ones above, PLEASE let me know at I am DAMN interested in anything Indian Hills related.

falconjim on October 26, 2004 at 5:00 am

My wife and I had our first date at the Indian Hills theater in late 1994. The movie was “Corina Corina” with Whoopi Goldberg. It was showing on the main big screen. My wife was floored when she saw the size of the main theater! Also, I happened too be in the area the day they started tearing it down. What a waste! I know that parking is at a premium, but so are buildings like this was! Methodist Health System should be ashamed of itself!

beardbear31 on September 30, 2004 at 5:23 pm

A view of the Indian Hills Theater demolition can be seen at

Manwithnoname on February 19, 2004 at 1:20 pm

I would LOVE to see this film? How can I do so in the Los Angeles area?

sdoerr on February 19, 2004 at 12:48 pm

I would like to thank JIm for sending me the documentary, I enjoyed the documentary very much thanks. Here is a review:
I have already seen this documentary twice and I am ready to watch this again. This documentary is for everyone, most importantly Cinerama fans, theater buffs, history buffs, preservers, and the citizens of Omaha. The movie goes from beginning to end of the theater with very informative information, with great narration, and a little music here and there create an exciting documentary for everyone. You never know what will happen in the movie one minute to the next. It also creates awareness of how the city of Omaha doesn’t care about it’s history and how greedy corporations can takeover the world if we don’t do anything about it. This documentary really shows how hard it is to save a unique 60’s theater compared to a 20’s theater just because it doesn’t have marble arches or doesn’t have the same ornate style. This shows how everyday the world gets taken away, for something that doesn’t get done as promised.

jim on November 17, 2002 at 7:08 am

My documentary about the rise and fall of The Indian Hills, “Saving The Indian Hills,” is now completed. Currently, it is being entered in film festivals around the country and an Omaha premiere will take place in the spring of 2003. Meanwhile, check out the official website for the movie:
(the url has changed from before)

jim on June 27, 2002 at 9:44 am

The documentary about the efforts to save the Indian
Hills is almost finished. Check out the website: for more information.

seadan on April 19, 2002 at 4:27 pm

I just found out from reading this about the Indian Hills. I am sad but not surprised. I grew up in the suburbs of Omaha and know how these people think. They have no sense of their own history or architecture. It went the way of the Omaha Theatre, Peony Park, Jobber’s Canyon, and anything else that isn’t painted bright red with a big “N” on it.

And they wonder why people leave town?

JohnMiller on February 28, 2002 at 6:28 pm

I saw How the West Was Won and Star Wars and the Indian Hills. I also saw the opening of Tron at Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood. The Indians Hills was BY FAR the best theatre I have ever been in BAR NONE. The voter’s of Omaha should remember the actions of Nebraska Methodist Hospital and continue a barrage of complaint until EVERYONE associated with this despicable decision is GONE. Furthermore ALL government hearings dealing with Methodist’s efforts to have ANY proposal or exemption should be attended by protesting multitudes. Punish them for the evil they do.

RonHunter on September 6, 2001 at 5:37 am

I am sad to report that despite pleas from Hollywood legends such as Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Janet Leigh and Robert Wise, on August 20, 2001, the owner, Nebraska Methodist Health System, Inc., demolished the Indian Hills for a parking lot. What was especially distressing was that on August 8, 2001, the Omaha Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission had voted unanimously to recommend that the Indian Hills be designated a “Landmark of the City of Omaha.” The owner moved to demolish the theater before the Omaha City Council could take action to stop it. This Cinerama theater was the last of its kind in the world. Preservation of the theater had been publicly supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Society of Cinematographers. The State of Nebraska Historic Preservation office had indicated that the Indian Hills was of such national importance that, although less than 50 years old, it would qualify for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places

StevenDawes on August 13, 2001 at 8:47 am

The original Cinerama auditorium is all that is left for now. We are still trying to save that. Please go to for the latest news.

Also be sure to sign the online petition to help save it at

MikeGeater on August 6, 2001 at 12:42 pm

The Indian Hills was built while I was still an Assistant Manager at the Orpheum in Omaha (while it still ran movies). It was right at the end of the three panel Cinerama period. I saw “Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” there, but memory fails whether it was the original Cinerama for the 70mm Version. When the Cinerama company went out of business they offered the Cinerama theatres the option of buying the special lens that allowed a theatre to project pictures on the full size of the Cinerama screen. The operator of the theatre at the time (Commonwealth) chose to decline, meaning that about 20 feet on either end of the screen was not used. Even so, seeing a movie at the Indian Hill (“2001: A Space Odyssey”, for example.) was a spectacular experience. While working at Commonwealth’s Orchard Four in Omaha, I had the opportunity of relieving the Indian Hills manager for his vacation. The feature at the time: “RETURN OF THE JEDI”

Mike Geater

MJV on July 25, 2001 at 7:14 pm

It will be shame if this unique venue falls to the wrecking ball. Having spent 10 years working the Indian Hills sister theatre in Mpls, the Cooper Theatre, I can attest to the superior atmosphere for ANY motion picture format in the huge, round auditorium. Don’t make the same mistake that we made here in Minneapolis. The Indian Hills is worth saving.

ccoate on July 19, 2001 at 6:58 am

(this is a copy of a letter I’ve also sent to the OWH page)
You can build all the new theatres you want, with all the flash and glitz available, but if you take away history, what in the present becomes worth holding on to?

The first movie I ever remember seeing was Disney’s Fantasia when it was first re-released back in the early 80’s, and I saw it at the Indian Hills. It has always my favorite theatre building, and later when my friends and I were in our late teen’s, despite the growing multi-plexes we would often choose the Hills for movies for its centralized location, and the quality and atmosphere of the theatre. I had as fond of memories of the old Peony Park when it was still around. When I come back to visit Omaha it seems like more and more of the familiar landmarks are gone and the places I can show my little niece and nephew are becoming less. I hope that the company that is trying to buy the Hills does so successfully and soon. Or I fear, like Peony Park, we are going to have another scar on our landscape and another empty place in our Hearts that aches to see the new hole we have created in our lives. As we recently learned here in Indiana with the destruction of the RCA dome, it takes only a few hours to destroy, and a few months to clean up. But it will take people more then a generation to forget.

Please, for everyone, hold the wrecking balls and give people time to act. They saved The Rose, and given time they can also save Indian Hills.

Catherine Coate,
former resident of Omaha

jimfields on July 18, 2001 at 6:47 am

Yesterday, demolition began on the two small theatres by the Indian Hills main screen. Meanwhile, a national theatre chain is interested in buying the Hills and renovating it to include digital projection. My fear is that the owner, Methodist Hospital, could care less. We’ll soon find out. Finally, I’ve been following the efforts to save the theatre for a documentary I’m making. I’ll keep you posted on what develops…

mkinerk on July 3, 2001 at 4:14 pm

In re: Indian Hills Cinerama Theatre.
This is a beautiful photo and an Important issue.

In the text, it is stated that “efforts are also being made to restore the theatre back to its Cinerama roots with installation of a 70mm projector.

It is not accurate to say the Cinerama theatre would return to its roots with a 70mm projector. Cinerama used three-strips of film in three synchronized projectors, and a fourth strip of audio stereo tracks. The later 70mm releases by “Cinerama Corp.” such as “2001” and “The Bible” were released after the original firm was bankrupt and new operators tried to put the Cinerama brand on single strip film releases. Only seven releases were actually made using the Cinerama 3-camera, 3-strip film process.

At the same time, 70mm was not new; it was in use in some theatres; but it was not Cinerama. Some of us grew up thinking we had seen Cinerama because we saw releases of the Cinerama Corp. in 70mm. This was not Cinerama, however.

Nevertheless, it would be more correct to say that restoring the 70mm equipment would be a “STEP” toward the original Cinerama roots. At least it is a wide screen (not as wide as Cinerama) and can work well on a curved Cinerama screen.

Mike Kinerk

johnmills on July 1, 2001 at 5:51 am

Please visit the website of the Indian Hills Preservation Society for information about upcoming events to save this national cinematic landmark.
View link

morsa on June 24, 2001 at 3:57 pm

This theater is a treasure to the Omaha Community and Film History. Many memories are kept at that theater. I’d hoped that one day, I too could wait in line with my children for the New Star Wars movie. That could have happened with Lucas revisiting his trilogy. But now, a Money Driven Monstrosity of a Hospital wants to tear down the theater where so many memories and future hopes lay.

MarciFerraro on May 7, 2001 at 7:24 pm

I can’t believe they closed it.. As a former employee, I’d hate to see it torn down; not only is it a piece of our city’s cinematic history, it’s one of only 12 (? I think 12) cinemascope screens in the world. Between the huge events Mr. Crawford sponsored and the unique build of the theater… FYI, the screen is currently new and in one piece, but it was originally in strips. There are two “dead” projection houses in the wings of the main theater, on either side of the mezzanine (it has a spectacular mezzanine) because it used to require three projectors to run cinemascope. Today, it runs just like the theaters in the cam (house 1, added in the 70’s) and houses 3 & 4 (added in the 80’s), but can take both 35mm and 70m film (the projector has switching gates and rollers) in both scope and flat print (it has a normal aperture plate, just like the other projectors). It also contains a lot of antiqued equipment – next to the normal building and tearing tables are old fashioned tables with hand-cranks. It’s really an amazingly place, and deserves to be preserved.

Bruce on February 12, 2001 at 12:02 am

For those who are interested, go to my web site and check out the 10 film events I have produced in Omaha that have attained international recognition. Six of these events have been held at the Indian Hills theater. Go to the “past events” page to see…the events I’ve held at the Indian Hills ..BEN HUR, THE LONGEST DAY, THE SEARCHERS, KING KONG, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and a Ray Harryhausen festival with MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. These events have helped tremendously in keeping the theater in the publics' eye, regardless of Carmike Cinemas bankruptcy.
Four other events were held at the Cinema Center theater, which also has a large screen and 800 seat auditorium… If efforts to reopen the theater are successful, I would continue the film tributes at the Indian Hills theater.

LarryKarstens on December 27, 2000 at 1:56 pm

Actually, the main auditorium is almost “new” Shortly before they terminated their lease, Carmike nearly completed a total restoration of the big house. New seats. drapery and a sound system capable of SDDS and DTS was installed. Carmike left before installing new carpet. That and some minor cosmetic repairs are all that are needed to bring it back to original glory. Several years ago the louvered screen was removed due to age and replaced with a solid sheet screen. The new screen matches the dimensions and curve of the original but of course would be replaced in the event that our efforts to reopen the theater for Cinerama are successful.

leethomas on December 22, 2000 at 2:36 pm

It is incorrect to say that the Indian Hills was “carved into four screens.” The original Cinerama auditorium is still intact. Three screens were added to the building. The first was added by the original circuit, Cooper Theaters, and was called the “Cameo.” Later, two more screens were added by Commonwealth Theaters. So, this is a 4-plex consisting of the original Cinerama auditorium and 3 smaller houses.