Newsflash: Elmwood Changes Hands

Rialto Cinemas (not to be confused with the Renaissance Rialto chain) recently bought Berkeley’s Elmwood theater, a regular venue. The theater is dark this week as the new owners give it some much needed renovations.

The buy appears to have happened suddenly, or at least quietly. Only about a week ago I received an announcement from the Buddhist Film Festival that Dreaming Lhasa would open at the Elmwood today. But I didn’t receive the usual press announcement of what the theater will play this week. The theater’s old web site simply said (and still says) that “Showtimes are not available for this date,” even though the date is today.

Aside from physical improvements, I’m in the dark about Rialto’s plans for the Elmwood. Judging from their existing theater in Santa Rosa, and a brief conversation I had with a Rialto representative who could only make an educated guess, I suspect they’re going the indiewood route, with pictures like Sicko and A Mighty Heart.

I wish them luck. Unless their programming turns into a real disappointment, I will keep them in the schedules.