WESTFIELD, NJ — The sudden closing of the Rialto Theatre raised questions about its availability for the town’s upcoming celebration of town native and Addams Family creator Charles Addams.

But the town announced Wednesday that the municipality would host a screening of the new Addams Family animated film at the Rialto Theatre. The screening will be held Thursday, Oct. 10, and is open to the winners of a new contest entitled “Rialto Rising,” officials said. The screening in Westfield will come one day before the film’s nationwide release.

“Tickets to this screening are extremely limited, and will be awarded to 30 winning entries (each receiving four free tickets) of the Rialto Rising contest,” the announcement said. “To enter, residents are asked to submit a letter-sized sheet of paper to convey what the Rialto means to them.”

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The trailer for the film, which is directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, pokes fun at Charles Addams Home state with highway sign indicating the Addams’ residence is in an eerie place: New Jersey.

Story continues below film preview.

With the availability of the Rialto in question, officials had considered other locations for the screening, including Presbyterian Church, the James Ward Mansion and the Board of Education administrator building, officials said. Charles Addams went to high school in what is now the school district’s administration building. But the Rialto remains iconic.

“Showing The Addams Family at our beloved Rialto will make for an incredible evening in Westfield as we gear up for AddamsFest,” said AddamsFest Chairperson Dawn Mackey, in Wednesday’s news release. “Jesse and Doreen Sayegh are tremendous community partners, and were fully on board to host this screening prior to the unexpected closure of their property.

“They remained committed to resolving all related issues in order to re-open their iconic theater for the evening, a true showing of their dedication to Westfield,” said Mackey, who serves on the Town Council.

Mayor Shelley Brindle pointed to the town’s collaborative relationship with MGM.

“We have had an ongoing collaborative relationship with MGM for more than a year as they took a great interest in Charles Addams’ hometown during their promotional efforts for this film,” Brindle said in the release.

“In August, we were thrilled to host 30 local journalists on a press trip coordinated by MGM, and we are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to screen the new Addams Family movie.”

All entries, which must be submitted by a Westfield resident, should include the entrant’s name, address, phone and email address, and can be dropped off or mailed to Westfield Town Hall (attn: AddamsFest) at 425 East Broad Street. The deadline for entries is 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. For more details, visit the AddamsFest website here

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