DNA's Comedy Lab

155 S. River Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Regal Entertainment Group, Signature Theatres, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Previous Names: UA Cinema I & II, UA Riverfront Twin, Signature Riverfront Twin, Regal Cinemas Riverfront Twin

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DNA's Comedy Lab

Opened as the UA I & II on July 10, 1970, this once boasted one of the largest indoor movie theatre screens in Santa Cruz County. The main house, which once sat over 500 patrons, had 70mm capabilities, although it never once played any 70mm films, but still managed to grab more than its fair share of blockbuster movies in the mid-1980’s through early-1990’s, including “Gremlins”, “Aliens”, “The Fly” and “Total Recall”. The second auditorium, which shared a spacious lobby with the main house but used its own side of the snack bar, sat around 250. The projection throw was approximately the same as the main house, but was not quite as wide.

The Riverfront Twin was operated by Signature Theatres after United Artists exited the Santa Cruz market in the late-1990’s. Regal Theatres (who had purchased UATC in the meantime) purchased Signature Theatres in 2004. It often gets the second-tier movies that Regal does not book in to its nine-screen theatre a few blocks to the West. It was closed in early-July 2018. In June 2019 it reopened as DNA’s Comedy Lab. It was closed on March 16, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contributed by Edward Havens

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rivest266 on July 26, 2015 at 8:16 am

July 10th, 1970 grand opening ad as UA Cinema I & II in photo section.

terrywade on July 15, 2018 at 8:46 am

This nice Santa Cruz cinema after 48 years has closed this past week. I am not surprised that Regal/UA did not to renew the lease as the main problem over the years was that the marquee was set way in the back River ST area near the main entrance. Most of the foot and car traffic is on the Front ST side of the theatre. Regal only played their not so hot first run films here and It did not even advertise what was playing. Lets hope this solid clean building with two semi large seating areas will not become a rock music club. You won’t hear sound leakage here like the newer Regal 9 down the street. Time for Drafthouse Cinemas or another movie company to take It over and show movies or live events that Regal and Landmark won’t play to this rich college/tourist area. No need to put in boring recliners and loose seating, keep it large. Bring in Dolby Atmos® or another hi end sound system with curved screen and curtains. No Imax yet in Santa Cruz. Time for showmanship to return to this surf city Santa Cruz CA. Move the marquee so people can see It and offer entertainment events with movies for this hot movie starved college town.

David_Schneider on February 7, 2019 at 11:02 am

This article says the Riverfront Twin will become DNA’s Comedy Lab comedy club and community space later this year:


terrywade on July 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm

This former UA/Regal Riverfront Twin Theatre has opened again in downtown Santa Cruz CA now called DNA’s Comedy Lab. They serve beer & wine with some food. They mainly use the right side former movie auditorium. We wish them luck and maybe they can run classic older comedy movies on DCP in the other space on the left side of the large wide lobby on special nights. Time to bring into the Santa Cruz area some new comedy acts and other events. Glad the owners did not gut the inside for something else! Check out the new photos as of July 6 2019.

terrywade on March 31, 2021 at 10:08 pm

I have heard the DNA Comedy Lab has closed in the old Regal Riverfront Twin Theatre. Just could not make It with being closed during the C19 lock down. Hope some other entertainment people can take over the lease and re open soon.

MovieGuy64 on July 26, 2022 at 11:24 am

Miss the days when Santa Cruz County had the Sash Mill, Nickelodeon, Rio, Capitola Theater, Aptos Twin, and Riverfront. The multiplex does not have the same character.

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