Rialto 6 Theater comes under new ownership
MACOMB — The new owners of the Rialto 6, located at 1405 E. Jackson Street, intend to give customers a new outlook and a fresh experience at the movies.
Partners Jake McSparin and Paul Komada opened the theater doors Friday morning to several eager customers for the business’s first matinee. About ten people including women and children lined up at the concession stand to get drinks and snacks, while several other customers trickled through the door to queue up at the register to buy tickets. Showtime for the first movie, Incredibles 2, was 10 a.m.
Extended showtimes including 10 a.m. matinees and 10 p.m. showtimes are among several changes the pair are making to the theater. Other changes include lower prices on all tickets and concessions, discounts, and upcoming physical improvements to the building and parking lot.
Mark McSparin, Jake’s father and a consultant to the pair, has been in the theater business for over 25 years. While Jake and Komada bustled around the theater, taking care of opening-day details and serving customers, the elder McSparin told the Voice some of the plans in the works.
Among these plans are dealing with potholes in the parking lot, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior and new digital signage. He said the repairs should be “pleasant news to everyone.”
The new prices should also be welcome at $4.50, small popcorn included, for all matinees before noon, seven days a week; $4.99 admission Monday through Thursday before 6 p.m. and $5.99 after 6 p.m.; and just $1 more for all shows after noon Friday through Sunday, he said. On Mondays, anyone 55 and over will also get $1 off admission and $1 off any concession combo of a popcorn and a drink. Prices for candy are $2 to $3, and a small combo is $6.
The reduced prices and expanded showtimes are aimed at drawing more customers in to see the movies. He said that matinees are particularly enjoyed during the summer months, when many parents and daycares seek options to entertain young children.
“The whole company’s objective is to make it affordable to see movies and have a soda and popcorn,” he said.
Co-owner Jake McSparin has eight years’ experience of his own in the theater business. To date, he has helped launch two theaters, and has managed two others. The Rialto marks his first time as co-owner.
He handles much of the theater’s communication by Facebook and other social media as the company’s managing partner. He has launched a new website, rialto6.com, and is working on updating the other digital formats the theater uses, such as the digital signs. Movie showtimes will be posted on the website the Monday prior to a new release so customers can make plans and buy tickets in advance – a change from the previous owners, he said. He will be upgrading the automated phone system in a few weeks as well.
The theater is also partnering with Fandango, a phone app that allows customers to purchase tickets online, to make ticket-buying easier. Making information more accessible to customers is important, he said.
He admitted that attendance has declined at the theater in the past three years before he and Komada took ownership. He hopes to change that.
“Our goal is to capture more people and to draw second watchers (those who see a movie twice). We’re trying to make movie-going more accessible…and a little more friendly for the pocketbook.”
Beyond the numbers, he hopes to make movie-going at the Rialto a more positive experience for customers. He also hopes to meet the regulars.
“At these theaters, you find a core contingency of regulars. I’m excited to meet them,” he said.
Staff employed under the previous owners remain in place at the theater, he said, and applicants are welcome to apply.
Macomb Mayor Mike Inman also made an appearance at the theater for a chance to speak to the new owners and take a photo.
“Mr. McSparin is a known commodity to the community,” he said. “He and his partners own successful movie theaters across central and southern Illinois.”
For more information or to buy tickets, go to rialto6.com or call 309-833-2626 for automated showtimes, or 309-833-2900 to speak with a live attendant.
Reach Michelle Langhout by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook.