Rialto Theatre

121 W. Church Street,
Champaign, IL 61820

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Showing 13 comments

Mike
Mike on June 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Thanks for providing the link Chuck. Not sure why it didnt work for me…

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

It seems as though “Champaign’s Finest Theater” is not just the name of the video posted above, but was actually a slogan the Rialto used in its advertising.

Mike
Mike on June 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Here’s a video that chronicles the Rialto Theatre. The title is subjective but was also the theatre’s slogan after it was renovated in 1938. I did this for my old boss and very good friend, John Russell who turns 79 on the Fourth of July. The Russells owned and operated the theatre for most of its 70 year history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_kd2JRBCQ&feature=relmfu

seymourcox
seymourcox on May 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

This video tells the history and shows vintage images of the Rialto Theatre;
View link

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on April 13, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Some of the letters from your marquee didn’t however…..

jwballer
jwballer on March 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

A 2/7 Barton was installed in the theatre in 1915.
It was moved to the York Theatre in Elmhurst IL.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Latest news from Greg Boardman (mostly about the Art but he does mention the Rialto.)

Fellow Independent and foreign language film lovers and Boardman’s Art Theatre supporters…

What good is being on an email newsletter list, if you don’t hear the news there first?

Many of you know that I was investigating reopening the Rialto Theatre (directly across from the Art Theatre) because my lease ends at the Art on December 30, 2009.
While I would have loved the challenge and I love large, old, single-screen theatres, unfortunately, the owners of the Rialto Theatre did not feel the time was right for them.
Other locations were explored, but none would have been ready in a timely manner.

I have sold my equipment and furnishings to a new operator, Sanford Hess, who has secured a lease with the owner of the Art Theatre, David Kraft.
It is my understanding that the new operator will be using a professional film booker to secure films.
My hope and belief is the Art Theatre will continue to provide CU with quality Independent and foreign language films.

I am proud to have taken the Art Theatre from its closed and run down condition in 1993 to the best theatre in CU today.
The lobby/concession area remodel, the picture and (especially) the sound presentation, is my design.
I have booked every film shown since reopening in June of 2003. I worked with the U of I to bring French, Latin American, and Asian film festivals to the Art Theatre.

I would like to thank all of you for your interest in quality films, your attendance, and your film suggestions.
Without your support, CU would suffer with only the multiplex offerings from the corporate giants in town.
They thought we would fail. They hoped we would fail. They did what they could to bring our failure about. But in the end, Boardman’s Art Theatre performed better than the multiplexes in some head-to-head battles.
And they don’t even come close to our attendance when they attempt to show films that truly belong at the Art.
Your support for our presentation of quality Independent films now has many film distributors calling me to see if they can book their films into the Art Theatre.
We should all be proud of that.

In addition to your support, Boardman’s Art Theatre could also not have been successful without the help of talented, honest and dedicated managers and staff over the years.
And none has been better to rely on than Yvonne Green, my present manager, and her staff.

Finally, I will miss all of the above and hearing from you. I wish that I could have been at the theatre more often, to discuss with you the many fine films you have enjoyed.
I hope you continue to support the Art Theatre. Yvonne will be staying on for some time, helping with the transition.
Smart Cards will continue to be operational into the new year.
I will send out a few more newsletters before my lease is up.

PS. I wanted to show “A Serious Man” from the Coen brothers before my lease ran out, but “An Education” may take us into “Precious."
The Coen brothers' films are some of my favorites.

Sincerely,
Greg Boardman

Mike
Mike on June 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I worked at the Rialto Theatre from 1969 till it was leased to Keresotes in 1978. I was in high school and college and managed the theatre the last three years it was operated independently by the Russell family. I have been in the industry for about 30 years with such companies as General Cinema, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures and Consolidated Theatres. I know the business and I know every inch of this theatre. I would love to see it ressurected as an art house!

Please post any additional information about this development as I would lover to follow any progress made.

Mike
Mike on June 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I worked at the Rialto Theatre from 1969 till it was leased to Keresotes in 1978. I was in high school and college and managed the theatre the last three years it was operated independently by the Russell family. I have been in the industry for about 30 years with such companies as General Cinema, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures and Consolidated Theatres. I know the business and I know every inch of this theatre. I would love to see it ressurected as an art house!

Please post any additional information about this development as I would lover to follow any progress made.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Text of email I received yesterday from Greg Boardman, owner of the Art Theater across the street from this house:

Some of you may have heard that we are looking into other locations for our art theatre. This is true.

Our lease expires at our present location in the Art building, December 30, 2009. I heard from someone who spoke to the owner, that his belief was that when the community learned that it would be losing its art theatre, a buyer would come forth. The owner informed me that he was no longer offering the Art for rent. He is asking $1,143,888.50 for the building!

But the community, hopefully, will NOT be losing its art theatre. Boardman’s Theatres is working to be in a new location, with little interruption, before December 30, 2009. There are several possibilities.

I am working with the owners of the Rialto Theatre, directly across from our current location on Church St., to explore that possibility with them.

I recently met with city officials in both Champaign and Urbana. Everyone is very enthusiastic and supportive. There seems to be genuine support for Boardman’s Theatres and the types of films we bring to the community. If the financial support is there as well, it may be possible to expand beyond a single screen with a new-build in another location.

Boardman’s Theatres is working to continue to provide the finest film experience and more…in a new location(s).

I will be attending Showest next week as part of my effort to research and plan for our move.

As things develop, I will keep you all informed. It’s going to be an exciting year! I appreciate your continued support.
Thank you!

wayne2565
wayne2565 on October 17, 2004 at 10:17 pm

My husband and I live in belleville Il and we are converting our family room into a home theater and its been very hard to find affordable seats for the room we are looking to purchase 8or 9 theater chairs for a reasonable price.Please contact us if you have anything for sale or know of someone

moranmi
moranmi on July 29, 2004 at 12:16 pm

I worked at the Rialto Theatre from 1969 until it was leased to Kerasotes in 1978… The Rialto never regularly showed foreign films.It was in fact always first run main stream product … the theatre was owned and operated independently by the Russell family in Champaign. First by Eugene Russell until his death in the 1950’s then his son John Russell owned it until 1978. The Russell’s owned the building well into the 1980’s when the Robeson family purchased the building and converted some of it to storage and office space for their adjacent department store.