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 21 comments)

veyoung52 on December 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

My expectations were in some ways exceeded. I had not been in the Riverview since its expansion in'the nineties, so I was pleasantly surprised that auditorium #13 (the h8 70mm room) and its adjacent #12 had not been severely stadium-ized with the upper section resembling a height ride at an amusement park. This nearly always leads to fuzzy multi-channel imaging and often, as in the Cinemark XD rooms, a one-size-fits-all screen that diminishes the impact of scope. That said, aud #13 here has a moderate rake with good views of its approximate 40-45 foot scope screen, in the 2.2:1 ratio which means letterboxing for wider aspect ratios as was the case here. It would have been nice that, given the cost of the install (or reinstall since the original Riverview did have at least one set of 35/70mm machines) to have temporarily masked off the top and bottom of the screen. Throughout the print there was a green vertical stripe down the right side of the image, and the image did often show off the soft focus often evident in UP70 photography. I will within the next few hours post on the riverview’s page on three photos I took inside the auditorium. Oops. almost forgot: the ticket taker graciously handed out the souvenir program booklets…nice touch!

I’ve posted three photographs. The one with the color information removed clearly shows the contrast between the projected letterboxed image and the actual screen material.

Mikeoaklandpark on December 27, 2015 at 6:15 pm

When I saw the 50th anniversary digital print of My Fair Lady locally here in NC, the aspect ratio was 2.20. The theater it played in has masking that that closes top and bottom. After the slide they closed the masking to scope ratio 2.35 for some previews, but once the filme started they opened the masking and MFL was shown with the black bars at the top and bottom juts like your picture shows TH8 was.

Cinedelphia on January 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

So, UA Riverview is showing the “Hateful Eight” 70mm Roadshow in the pre-expansion big auditorium. That had to be a far superior experience than the 25'wide 1.85 to 1 unmasked screen presentation I went to at Neshaminy 24. Should went with my initial instinct and saw it at Riverview. I saw “Far and Away” in that same room in regular 2.21 to 1 70mm and it was a great experience.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Cinedelphia, was it not shown in scope? I assumed even digital it was filmed in 2.35 aspect ratio.

HowardBHaas on January 1, 2016 at 8:19 pm

70mm scope films are shown at 2.2 aspect ratio not 2.35

veyoung52 on January 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm

A 70mm scope print, such as the ones for “h8 8”, are to be shown in the a.r. of 2.76 to 1. The 2.2 (or 2.2.1) ratio is the nominal standard for so-called flat 70mm prints. Keep in mind that on a given 70mm film, the actual projected image may be “hard-masked” on the print to attain any ratio that can be fit into the frame.

HowardBHaas on January 1, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I was thinking of “Far and Away” in my reply. I am guessing the digital version of The Hateful Eight is also shown as 2.76 aspect ratio like the 70mm version.

veyoung52 on January 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

The ongoing comments on reddit would indicate that wherever a digital copy had to be substituted for the print (“H8 8”) the ratio matched that of the film. There may or may not be a “special edition” BluRay in the works maintaining the 2.76 as well.

Cinedelphia on January 2, 2016 at 6:26 am

It was the 70mm version and was shown in the correct 2.76 to 1 aspect ratio that I saw. The auditorium had a 1.85 to 1 screen which uses top masking to achieve the more typical 2.39 to 1 ‘scope ratio. For the “Hateful 8” in 70mm they opted to not use the top masking and projected the film across the top of the unmasked screen, leaving a large amount of screen below exposed as opposed to a relatively small amount if the top masking had been used. Just for the sake of clarification, 70mm “Ultra Panavision” is basically the 70mm version of Cinemascope in that the 2.2 to 1 70mm frame has a slight anamorphic squeeze that yields the extra wide 2.76 to 1 aspect ratio. “Ultra Panavision” was actually developed as a simpler, less expensive alternative to the three camera/ three projector “Cinerama” which was also projected at 2.76 to 1 ratio on a deeply curved screen. Just a shame that AMC did not opt to do the Roadshow in Aud 24 which has a 2.39 to 1 61 foot wide screen…would have been a real event in that theater.

rivest266 on October 8, 2016 at 11:45 pm

November 1st, 1991 and August 28th, 1998 grand opening ads in the photo section for this cinema.

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