The Rialto theater in downtown Deer Lodge burned to the ground five and half years ago. Now, thanks to a community effort, the theater's been rebuilt and restored.
Some local students got a sneak peek on Thursday.
"It's just a special moment to be open and have kids watching a movie," Rialto Board Member President Steve Owens said.
On the night of November 4, 2006, firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the Rialto Theater.
When they arrived they found the 85-year-old building engulfed. They never figured out what caused the fire.
?It was devastating to the whole community. The fire burned for three days, but that first night people just stood in the street and cried," Owens said.
Devastation turned into determination. The community and the country pitched in to help bring the landmark back.
"We got donations and letters from people across the country who say, 'We wish they would have saved our local theater.' We didn't think we had an option, it?s just something we needed to do. It was no question of 'should we,' just when do we get started," Owens said.
Owens said over 300 volunteers and donations from 40 states and 60 Montana communities helped restore the Rialto.
Crews salvaged what they could and rebuilt the rest.
"We were able to save a few things. This is the original chandelier, but everything from that wall to the stage was gone," Owens said.
Area students got to give the theater a trial run before its official opening this weekend. Students said they give the new theater their stamp of approval.
"It looks a lot like it used to, but it's good to have it back," one high school student said.
?I'm really excited. It's fun to have it open again," another high school student said.
It took $3.5 million to rebuild and restore the theater, but after the long wait folks are happy movies are returning to the Rialto's silver screen.
The grand opening is Sat. May 19th at 6 p.m. There will be a dedication ceremony along with food and drinks. The cost to get in is $50.
The movie is ?This Means War,? with Reese Witherspoon.