The Rialto Returns

Rialto Cinemas to Reopen in Sebastopol

At last, Rialto Cinemas has found a new home.

On Friday, May 4, owner Ky Boyd will reopen the Rialto for business in Sebastopol, taking over the Sebastopol Cinemas location on McKinley Street—and on the phone this week, can barely contain his happiness. “We’re going to give the venue a very refreshed feel and bring our brand of programming and customer service,” he says. “We’re excited.

The purchase agreement with Cinema West’s Dave Corkill caps Boyd’s two-year search to replace the Santa Rosa theater he lost in 2010 to Dan Tocchini in a much-condemned deal between property owner Lynn Duggan and Tocchini’s partners Larry Wasem and Richard Coombs. “From the day we learned what was happening to us on Summerfield, we have been engaged in the pursuit of a new location,” says Boyd. “I can’t even tell you how many projects we looked at that for whatever reason didn’t pencil out.”

As the only theater serving Sebastopol, and because Boyd will have nine auditoriums to work with, the new Rialto Cinemas will screen a mixture of art-house films and mainstream movies. This weekend, opening films include Coriolanus, The Undefeated and Chimpanzee alongside more mainstream fare like The Avengers, The Five-Year Engagement and The Pirates: Band of Misfits. The Rialto will continue its National Theatre Live and Live from the Met series, will host the Jewish Film Festival and will broadcast This American Life live on May 10. And, yes, Boyd is bringing the old movie posters from the Santa Rosa location to re-hang in the new spot.

Boyd says that no grand opening is planned for Friday, “but we may,” he notes, a tone of great relief in his voice, “have a quiet celebratory glass of Champagne amongst ourselves.”—Gabe Meline

Sonoma County Library