WESTFIELD, NJ — The nearly 100-year-old Rialto Theatre has closed, catching both municipal officials and the public by surprise.

The marquee of the movie theater on Friday advised that the theater is closed and told the public to call New Vision Cinemas for refunds. A message left with the number for New Vision Cinemas that was left on the marquee Friday morning was not immediately returned.

Mayor Shelley Brindle in a statement said municipal officials were caught by surprise by the closure. Brindle said the municipality was discussing several projects with the theater and had scheduled a meeting at the now-closed location for Friday.

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“It was as much of a surprise to us as it was to the employees who were notified late yesterday,” Brindle said. “I know that an event like this invites speculation and rumors, and I want everyone to know that we are diligently working to obtain more information about the decision and any related transactions or plans that may be in the works for the property.”

Screenings for AddamsFest have also been planned for the theater.

In June of last year, Rialto Holdings LLC, the property owner, had sought to evict New Vision Cinemas LLC, for failure to pay rent, a notice filed in Superior Court in Elizabeth shows.

A message left with the attorney representing Rialto Holdings was not immediately returned. The number for New Vision Cinemas LLC listed on the eviction notice was not working.

The theater has been a staple of the downtown since 1922. It's sister theater, the Cranford Theatre, remains open.

For refunds, the public has been asked to call New Vision Cinemas at 866-640-9040.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapionto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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