UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17
1400 S. Columbus Boulevard,
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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.
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