Cerrito to reopen in mid July!

The Cerrito Theater could open as early as July 15 with a new operator, Rialto Cinemas, which operates the Elmwood in Berkeley and the Lakeside in Santa Rosa. Ky Boyd, new theater manager, hopes the first show will be “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.”

Friends of the Cerrito Theater welcomes Ky and the Rialto to town!

The El Cerrito City Council/Redevelopment Agency, which owns the historic theater, unanimously approved the Rialto proposal on Monday, June 29.

Rialto plans to serve pizza, sandwiches, salads and wine and beer. The former It Club would be rechristened the Scene, and serve as a wine and tapas bar. Programming would switch from second-run and some first-run movies to first-run, and ticket prices would rise – but would remain less than at first-run theaters in Berkeley or Emeryville, Rialto says.

Rialto plans three shows a night on weeknights, and four or five on weekends – longer hours than provided by the previous operator.

Age restrictions will be dropped, though details remain to be worked out. The goal is to allow children and teenagers to attend all shows (except when the movie code says no). Rialto also plans programming for infants and their parents.

Special events, community film showing, benefit showings, would still be on the schedule. Ky promises that programming will be responsive to the local audience and wants to hear from members of the Cerrito audience – so show up for films and let your voices be heard!

Although the theater plans to open in mid-July, it may be several weeks before food is served – and several more before wine and beer join the menu, thanks to menu planning and license issues.

Rialto is pondering the issue of seating, with plans to replace much of the informal, table seating with fixed seating. But community support for informal seating may sway their decision.

Rialto promises to liven up the front of the theater by adding boxes for movie posters. Rialto has said they appreciate the historic nature of this 1937 Art Deco treasure and intend to preserve its historic elements.

See you at the movies!

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