River Hills/Riviera Twin

222 Crocker Street,
Des Moines, IA 50309

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Riviera Theatre

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The River Hills/Riviera Twin is a rare example of two theaters, in the same building, which operated under different names; and not as a twin.

The River Hills side was designed to show single-strip Cinerama films and the Riviera Twin side was designed to show regular movies in a twin configuration.

The theaters were built by the former Davis Theatres at the same time as the Riviera Theatre in Sioux City.

Sadly, the River Hills/Riviera Twin was closed by Carmike Cinemas. It was demolished in the late-2000’s

Contributed by Mike Geater

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Coate
Coate on April 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Sorry, Chuck1231, I don’t have any info on the screen size or dimensions.

Coate
Coate on April 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm

River Hills is famous for being the host venue for the Des Moines area exclusive booking of the original “Star Wars.” The movie ran for 29 weeks in the River Hills auditorium (May 27-Dec. 13, 1977), and then when replaced by “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” it moved to the Riviera auditorium, where it ran for another 27 weeks. The combined 56-week run is, I believe, second only to the 113-week roadshow run of “The Sound Of Music” (at the Capri) as the longest-running movie in Des Moines exhibition history.

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm

The Cinerama exhibition history in Des Moines posted here.

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

As mentioned earlier, the Wells Fargo Arena now stands where the River Hills/Rivera Twin used to be.

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 30, 2009 at 7:42 pm

This theater should be changed to closed/demolished

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Newspaper ad from the Des Moines Register, May 27,1977

“Begins Tonight! Star Wars. Star Wars will presented with DOLBY SOUND a special new sound system that the River Hills has installed that will astound your mind with the ULTIMATE QUAD SYSTEM. Adults $3.00, Children under 12 $1.25”

Playing at the Riviera Twin- The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.

Cinerama
Cinerama on February 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Ads for films playing at the theatre – http://cineramahistory.com/riverhills.htm

JHays
JHays on September 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I use to work there back in the mid to late 70’s! Great memories of when movies ran…for a YEAR! Like Star Wars. I remember the 1 year anniversary. We employees got dressed up like the characters.

DennisLynch
DennisLynch on May 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm

It may have shown a Cinerama film, but it would have been a single strip print. This theater was not built for the full 3-projector setup. The curved screen was also not deep enough for the full 146º wrap around image. It is not only closed, but sadly, it was torn down years ago to make room for an arena.

CJ1949
CJ1949 on May 31, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Demolished March 2002.

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