River Hills/Riviera Twin

222 Crocker Street,
Des Moines, IA 50309

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 15 comments

JHays
JHays on September 13, 2012 at 6:01 am

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.

Cinerama
Cinerama on February 9, 2012 at 8:50 am

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

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 30, 2009 at 1:50 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.

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm

This theater should be changed to closed/demolished

rodmo71
rodmo71 on June 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm

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

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

The Cinerama exhibition history in Des Moines posted here.

Coate
Coate on April 7, 2009 at 11:59 am

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 April 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

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

Coate
Coate on March 25, 2009 at 5:56 am

RIVER HILLS did not open with “2001: A Space Odyssey” as claimed in the post above. It opened with a reserved-seat run of “Mediterranean Holiday” on April 19, 1968. (“2001” followed the booking of “Mediterranean Holiday on June 26, 1968.)

The RIVIERA half of the complex opened a week before the RIVER HILLS half on April 12, 1968, with the debut attraction being “Where Angels Go…Trouble Follows.”

edigman
edigman on July 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm

I very much miss the River Hills Theater, with its huge curved screen, and spaceship blue-green metal flaked vinyl upholstery. It opened in 1968 with “2001: A Space Odyssey”. I remember the day I saw that movie there, and the year, because, after the movie let out, I walked a short distance downtown, and happened to meet presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, who was coming out of a building on Grand Avenue after giving a speech. When the building was torn down, I retrieved several of the letters that spelled out “River Hills” and “Riviera”, and a small piece of the wall, which I still have.

Calmuse
Calmuse on September 26, 2007 at 1:27 pm

There was huge curving screen (90-foot?) on the River Hills side and an excellent sound system. Both theaters were upscale by the standards of 1960s-1970s structures with large lobbies and comfortable seats—not at all like the little boxes in cineplexes.

Although I was a minor at the time, I got in to see “The Godfather” at the Riviera (accompanied by a parent). Also saw “2001” at the River Hills there when it first played in Des Moines. When I lived in the area again in the ‘80s, both theatres were still screening first-run top-drawer features (“Gandi,” for example).

RobertR
RobertR on December 6, 2004 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Charles, what confused me was in the second paragraph it says “the Riviera twin side” so I thought the non-Cinerama side had 2 screens.

RobertR
RobertR on December 6, 2004 at 3:58 pm

Am I reading this wrong or would this have made it a triplex?

zooklaw
zooklaw on December 6, 2004 at 2:32 pm

The buliding was to be demolished, last year, to make way for the new convention center/arena. And yes, the cinerama screen was still in place at close.

RobertR
RobertR on February 21, 2004 at 7:46 am

Was the Cinerama screen still in place when it closed?