South Surrey's Rialto Theatre shuts doors

White Rock
White Rock's Rialto Theatre, which opened in 1994, has closed.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

South Surrey's Rialto Theatre has shown its final film.

The theatre, located at 1732 152 St., closed its doors Monday, with parent company Criterion Entertainment citing a "shrinking demand for 35-mm film."

The theatre – like the Clova Cinema in Cloverdale, which is set to close this summer – was one of just a handful in Canada still using 35-mm film, as opposed to making the shift to digital.

According to the release, there are no distributors of 35-mm films left in Canada – the last remaining lab, in Ontario, closed last year – and a major distributor in California is also set to close.

Converting the Rialto to a digital system was "closely examined" according to Criterion, but "in the end, proved too prohibitive given the theatre's age, size and overhead."

Less than five per cent of movie theatres in Canada still run 35-mm film.

"The demand for it has fallen so much that the studios are becoming selective as to which of their titles will be released in 35-mm format… unfortunately, this has made it increasingly difficult to secure suitable product for the Rialto market," the release states.

The Rialto opened in November of 1994 and had 11 employees.

Criterion Entertainment also operates the Caprice Cinemas, at 2381 King George Blvd., and though no one at the Vancouver-based company could be reached for comment, a manager at the Rialto said the South Surrey theatre is to stay open.

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