Rialto Theatre

1625 N. Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33602

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Related Websites

Rialto Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Claughton Theaters

Architects: P.J. Kennard

Functions: Special Events

Previous Names: Cinema Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Cinema Theatre (formerly Rialto Theatre) Tampa FL

The former Rialto Theatre opened as a playhouse on N. Franklin Street on November 24, 1924 with “The O'Brien Girl” presented on the stage. By 1926 it had gone over to screening movies. From April 1945 it was operated by the Claughton Theaters chain as the Cinema Theatre. It was still open in 1956, but had closed by 1957. It was in use as an auto repair shop for many years, but this was closed in late-2005. The exterior of the stagehouse still retains a “ghost” of the painted sign reading “Rialto Theatre”. By 2017 it was in use as a Special Events venue.

Contributed by John Evans

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Nunzienick on April 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I had seen a really nice photo showing a crowd of people lined up outside awaiting entrance to a movie called “Hotel Berlin” What’s unique about this photo is that it shows the name of this theatre had apparently been changed from Rialto to The Cinema. But now I can’t seem to find this photo anywhere! I thought it was part of the photo collection at the library but it’s not listed within the collection. If it was ever part of the collection then it’s been removed. If I ever see it again I’ll post it.

Here’s another view of the building taken on 11/19/31:
View link

And another view taken on 5/2/25:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Beautiful pictures,Just got in from working BEAUTY and the BEAST what a killer show. Almost a five hour out.I mean Killer show,nothing went right Backstage,Charlie knows. Catch you later nick,this old stagehand is beat to the DAWG BONE.

Nunzienick on May 28, 2010 at 10:49 am

Here’s the photo I was searching for. A crowd awaits entrance to “HOTEL BERLIN” in 1945.
Note the banner now signifying the name change to Cinema.
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 28, 2010 at 11:36 am

Love the pictures,Nick. I saw the “JAWS” AD with Bill.Great.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on December 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I visited the Rialto again last week. I was able to get inside the theater and take a look around. It’s still being used as a warehouse and has more or less been gutted. The projection window is still visible, as is the giant arch over the stage. My two interior and two exterior shots are visible here.

Nunzienick on February 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Just saw your posting Andy. Great shots! You were lucky to have gotten inside. Nice shot of the proscenium arch…looks like the theatre had a nice-size screen. I drive down Florida Avenue at least once a week when I leave downtown. I always look towards the rear of the building as I pass by and see the faded “Rialto Theatre” lettering painted at the top rear. As much as I would love to see the interior I never had the nerve to park and walk to the building with all those unsavory characters lurking about in that area. I’m glad to hear the building is at least being used and not abandoned to deteriorate further. Thanks for the photos!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 8, 2011 at 3:35 am

Great shots Andy,glad I am checking on my Tampa theatres today,a lot of NEW pictures to enjoy.You are right about Downtown areas Nick,Be careful guys.

rivest266 on September 25, 2017 at 8:18 am

This opened on November 24th, 1924.

Ad and article below

Found on Newspapers.com

rivest266 on September 27, 2017 at 9:02 am

This reopened as Cinema on April 29th, 1945. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

The Rialto is being operated as an event space. Here is their web site.

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