UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17

1400 S. Columbus Boulevard,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Though advertised in major newspapers movie clocks as “Center City” (downtown Philadelphia) the Riverview is in South Philadelphia in a shopping center near the Delaware River at Exit 20 off I-95. Ads state “Free Lighted Parking”.

The exterior is largely glass. The huge lobby lacks pretty decoration.

The Riverview opened on November 1, 1991 with 11 auditoriums on one floor, and a total of 3600 seats. In the late 1990’s, a second floor was added with six more auditoriums, and all of the auditoriums in the theater were stadium seated. The stadium seating of the main floor auditoriums made some of them appear awkward in scale. Upstairs, there are some huge screens including auditorium # 2 which has 380 seats and a screen that I estimated at 50 feet wide for a scope film. Upstairs auditorium # 4 has about 175 seats and a not very large screen that I estimated at 25 feet wide. All auditoriums have excellent digital surround sound. JKRoller Architects of Philadelphia, PA designed the Riverview, and the increase from 11 to 17 screens.

From its opening, the Riverview has been very popular. Its popularity contributed to the demise of downtown (Center City) Philadelphia’s mainstream moviehouses, none of which had more than four screens. The Riverview’s crowds are often noisy in the auditoriums during the movies. Many Philadelphians attend movies earlier in the day to avoid the noisy crowds, or avoid the Riverview altogether.

Contributed by Howard B Haas

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

HowardBHaas on August 25, 2007 at 8:09 pm

June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the UA Riverview 17 as a “3.5” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment “Best Center City mainstream choice – for now” Very high ratings were given in the categories of Seating and Cleanliness.

Philadelphia Weekly November 2006
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“the poor old UA Riverview can’t seem to ditch its negative image despite two enormous screens that, along with the main theater at the Ritz Five, are the best venues to see a movie in town.”

ScottWeinberg on August 27, 2007 at 7:46 am

This theater has two excellent auditoriums, but it seems to attract a pretty rowdy crowd — regardless of what movie you’re seeing.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 27, 2007 at 7:59 am

I was just back in Philly last week and was sadden to look at the nespaper and see nothing but megapexes. Ecept for 3 or 4 theaters all the others are gone. Even the popular Eric Pennsuaken aka UA Pensauken is no longert in existance.

HowardBHaas on August 27, 2007 at 8:21 am

Yes, years ago, none of us Philly natives what have believed it!

Yet, that’s reality, and why starting last weekend, and this past weekend, I added 13 multiplexes/megaplexes in Philadelphia & its burbs (on the PA side) to this site including this theater. All the others in the newspaper on the PA side had already been entered.

of course, this is also good reason to ensure the Boyd is restored and reopened including for movie premieres, film classics & film festivals, and live shows the rest of the year. Many people experience movies in stadium seated auditoriums in plexes, but people should still be able to experience them some time during the year in Golden Age Hollywood style movie palaces!

dave-bronx™ on December 26, 2008 at 7:01 pm

From – 12/26/08:

Phila. man shot because family talked during movie

By Barbara Boyer

A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29, of the 1900 block of Hollywood Street is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations.

“It’s truly frightening when you see something like this evolve into such violence,” said police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore.

Police were called to the Riverview Theatre in the 1400 block of Columbus Boulevard about 9:30 p.m. where the gunshot victim, a Philadelphia man who was not identified, told police a man sitting near him told his family to be quiet and threw popcorn at his son.

After exchanging words, Vanore said Cialella allegedly got out of his seat to confront the family when the father got up to protect them. That’s when the victim was shot once in the left arm, sending others in the theatre running to safety.

Cialella then sat down to watch the movie. Police arrived a short time later and arrested Cialella and confiscated his weapon, Vanore said.

moviebuff82 on December 27, 2008 at 10:01 pm

very scary. thank god it didn’t happen in rockaway!

ediemer on June 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Great theater when it was new-saw “Far And Away”, “Hoffa”, and “Gettysburg” in 70mm here. They were in two different auditoriums, so either there were two 70mm installations, or the projector was moved. No problems with patrons, either-you can blame the chain for letting things get out of hand.

HowardB on February 5, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Have never experienced a problem at this theater with audience behavior (but I do tend to go at off peak hrs). The big rooms on the second level are wide and have very large screens (guessing over 50 ft wide), excellent sound and good site lines.

TheALAN on September 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

In what style was this theater designed? Where is the marquee?

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