Merle Hay Mall Cinema

3800 Merle Hay Road,
Des Moines, IA 50310

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rayman29 on October 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

The space is vacant, but the building is still standing. To the best of my knowledge, the chairs were sold, but I’m not sure about the projector or the rest of the theatre.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on October 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm

What is the current status of this wonderful big screen theater? I am still angry that the River Hills and Reviera are both gone. Don’t get me started about the Paramount downtown. Has the MH Cinema been stripped out completely? Is it even still standing?

Logan5 on June 8, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Des Moines Register article about the 2014 closing:

Chris1982 on December 16, 2014 at 1:07 am

Tri States Theatres opened this theatre.

rayman29 on December 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

The theatre is still open for a little over another week. Their last day is December 15th. Wish I could make it, but I’ll be too late. I don’t want to see Hunger Games, but since I won’t make it anyway the point is moot. It would be cool to buy one of the seats.

Chris1982 on November 13, 2014 at 2:58 am

This theatre should be listed as closed.

rayman29 on May 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

I am sad that this theatre will close. The new theatre at Merle hay sounds nice, but this has such a great sized screen. Sad to see another single screen theatre with a big screen go away. I wonder what they will do with the space once it closes.

rivest266 on July 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm

This opened as Plaza on January 28th, 1966. I uploaded it’s grand opening ad in the photo section.

Logan5 on January 28, 2012 at 1:36 am

The Merle Hay Mall Cinema was formerly the “Plaza Theatre” – when it opened c. 1967.

rodmo71 on June 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Before it “officially” re-opened in the fall of 1993, they had special screening on the four weekends leading up to to the grand re-opening to test the new sound systems. They showed The Empire Stirkes Back, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Top Gun and Days Of Thunder. Also they will occasionally show limited-run (one week) revival screenings in the spring and fall between tentpole season. One of those was Lawrence Of Arabia and I got to see it in all of it’s 70mm glory.

And yes, it is still the biggest regular theater screen in Des Moines. The only one larger is the IMAX Dome that opened downtown a few years ago.

ecrabb on March 12, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I just caught an afternoon matinee screening of Watchmen in this theater, and I was really impressed. I’m an avid home theater fan, and have pretty high expectations for the presentations I watch. Because of that, I rarely have the inclination to go sit in a modern “stadium-style” cineplex theater – and haven’t in several years. Wow, was I blown away! Awesome screen, excellent sound, and really top-notch experience. I was even surprised with the very fair and reasonable ticket and concession prices.

If all theaters were like this, I probably would have never built a home theater in my basement. OK, there’s still the “babysitter problem”, but the theater is great.

Two thumbs up for Merle Hay Mall Cinema!

tktboy on February 13, 2006 at 10:19 pm

A properly big screen, bigger sound, reasonable ticket/concession prices, and a seating capacity not prone to sellouts! Absolutely the best place in town for big-screen action epics (King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Revenge of the Sith, etc).

MikeGeater on October 8, 2001 at 6:03 pm

This theatre was one of three built on the same interior floor plan by ABC/TriStates Theatres. (The other two were the Plaza/Cedar Rapids, IA and the Parkway, Moline IL. The three were designed by Henry George Greene of ABC Theatres.) All featured rocking chair seating, large screens complete with drapes, and 70mm Projection. Because of their basic floor plan, all were extremely efficient to operate. I managed each of the three for varying periods of time. I call these theatres and others like them as the “second generation” of movie palaces.