Merle Hay Mall Cinema

3800 Merle Hay Road,
Des Moines, IA 50310

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Merle Hay Mall Cinema (Formerly Plaza III), Des Moines, IA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Merle Hay Plaza Theater was opened January 28, 1966. It changed its name to the Merle Hay Mall Cinema a few years ago and had the largest screen in Des Moines. It was closed December 15, 2014.

Contributed by Mike Geater

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

tktboy on February 14, 2006 at 3:19 am

A properly big screen, bigger sound, reasonable ticket/concession prices, and a seating capacity not prone to sellouts! Absolutely the best place in town for big-screen action epics (King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Revenge of the Sith, etc).

ecrabb on March 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I just caught an afternoon matinee screening of Watchmen in this theater, and I was really impressed. I’m an avid home theater fan, and have pretty high expectations for the presentations I watch. Because of that, I rarely have the inclination to go sit in a modern “stadium-style” cineplex theater – and haven’t in several years. Wow, was I blown away! Awesome screen, excellent sound, and really top-notch experience. I was even surprised with the very fair and reasonable ticket and concession prices.

If all theaters were like this, I probably would have never built a home theater in my basement. OK, there’s still the “babysitter problem”, but the theater is great.

Two thumbs up for Merle Hay Mall Cinema!

rodmo71 on June 23, 2009 at 1:15 am

Before it “officially” re-opened in the fall of 1993, they had special screening on the four weekends leading up to to the grand re-opening to test the new sound systems. They showed The Empire Stirkes Back, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Top Gun and Days Of Thunder. Also they will occasionally show limited-run (one week) revival screenings in the spring and fall between tentpole season. One of those was Lawrence Of Arabia and I got to see it in all of it’s 70mm glory.

And yes, it is still the biggest regular theater screen in Des Moines. The only one larger is the IMAX Dome that opened downtown a few years ago.

Logan5 on January 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

The Merle Hay Mall Cinema was formerly the “Plaza Theatre” – when it opened c. 1967.

rivest266 on July 26, 2012 at 12:32 am

This opened as Plaza on January 28th, 1966. I uploaded it’s grand opening ad in the photo section.

rayman29 on May 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I am sad that this theatre will close. The new theatre at Merle hay sounds nice, but this has such a great sized screen. Sad to see another single screen theatre with a big screen go away. I wonder what they will do with the space once it closes.

Chris1982 on November 13, 2014 at 7:58 am

This theatre should be listed as closed.

rayman29 on December 5, 2014 at 4:58 am

The theatre is still open for a little over another week. Their last day is December 15th. Wish I could make it, but I’ll be too late. I don’t want to see Hunger Games, but since I won’t make it anyway the point is moot. It would be cool to buy one of the seats.

Chris1982 on December 16, 2014 at 6:07 am

Tri States Theatres opened this theatre.

Logan5 on June 9, 2016 at 12:22 am

Des Moines Register article about the 2014 closing:

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