Prepared at no charge to anyone by
Bert Towle, the North Bay Movie geek. Click on my name to ask questions or cheer or hiss about Sonoma Movies dot com.
Complaining about a theater or film is OK if it makes you feel better, but I don't work for the theaters, distributors or studios. Though I try to keep the schedules accurate, all showtimes are subject to change. I get one or two (out of 4000 or so) wrong each month. Call the theaters for their most current information (sometimes they're wrong too)!
- Why do you do this?
- 26 years ago I started Sonoma County's Movie Page because in 1994 the Chronicle didn't list Petaluma movies. I decided Sonoma County deserved an online movie schedule so I built one. I'd been getting email from people who wanted me to do pages for their overlooked county, theater or city (even other states). I figured I could cover the whole North Bay with the tools I've built over the years so I added NorthBayMovies.com 4 years later.
- Who pays for it?
- This page is funded solely by me, contains no advertising, and is intended for the amusement of the North Bay movie-goers. I still remember when the internet promised everything would be free, so here you go.
- Where's the prices?!
- The theaters don't provide price information with the schedule information. Long ago when I used to do only Sonoma County I polled the theaters twice a year to get prices. Within 6 weeks some theater's price was incorrect. I'd rather have no prices than wrong prices, so no prices are reported.
- What's a Private Screening?!
- In addition to the usual party and event offerings, during the pandemic some theaters started offering Private Screens. That allows a group to reserve an entire auditorium for a limited number of people at a flat rate. Most offer choices of fils they're currenty playing, some offer other choices including the opportunity to show your own media.
- What's a GAT, Pass, Gift certificate (book, card)?!
- Passes are issued by the studios, distributors, sometimes theaters and sponsors to allow free admission with restrictions. Most often, passes aren't accepted during the first 2 weeks of the typical film. Theaters can ignore pass restrictions, follow them, or even extend the restrictions. Passes are pretty scarce these days.
GATs (Group Activity Tickets) are prepaid discount tickets generally offered through an employer or some other organization. The theaters participate in those programs to get cash in anticipation of a future movie-goer. Some are for specific theater chains, a few can be used at multiple theaters. GATs are generally restricted in the same way as passes, but are usually allowed for low-attendance shows.
The "Gift Certificate, (book, card)" could include GATs or it could be a gift certificate package or card depending on where it's purchased. If the gift comes from a theater, it usually can be used like cash in exchange for tickets or concessions. As a rule (again depending on the theater) gift certificates/cards are accepted without restriction because they are treated like money.
- Why list films before they open?!
- In most case films are listed only when tickets go on sale. Major releases often pre-sell 3 or more weeks in advance, occasionally selling out shows before they open. I list films when theaters say they're selling tickets. Some of the smaller theaters publish schedules far in advance and I try to help them out by showing their schedules as early as possible.
- Where's the Rio Theatre Schedule?!
- They're closed until they find a buyer for the theater.
- Where's the Raven Theatre Schedule?!
- They closed during the Covid shutdown.
- Where's the Sonoma Cinema Schedule?!
- They closed during the Covid shutdown.
- Where's the Coast Guard Training Center Schedule?!
- Their distributor doesn't allow publicity outside the facility, so I had to remove their schedules. You can still get info from their site. Most on-base services are reserved for base personnel, active duty members, and their dependents.
- What about online ticketing?
- Ticketing is handled by the third-party chosen by the theater. The theater's ticketing system identifies whether seats are available so that tickets are only available for sale while seats are still open. If the theater sells out online, you may still be able to get tickets at the door.
Ticket selection is generally not a secure transaction but ticket purchase is secure. That means encrypted messages are sent between your computer and the ticketing computer during the transaction. The two computers negotiate an encryption key at the start of the transaction. Without knowing the key, the transaction is nearly impossible to decipher. Your browser will show a small closed padlock symbol indicating the transaction is secure if the web page is not "framed". If it is framed, the frame where the transaction occurs will be secure, but the browser won't show the padlock symbol (it's an all or nothing symbol).
If the padlock looks open or you can't see a padlock, don't put in any credit card information.
- Why don't you do online ticketing for the Rafael any more?
- Their ticket processor disabled the ticketing page for NorthBayMovies.com and the theater didn't care to do anything about it.
- How many theaters are covered?
- The North Bay has 26 commercial theaters and 2 at colleges; 169 movie screens.
- How many shows are listed?
- You used to have over 4100 show time choices each week in North Bay with wide variances by day, time of year, disasters and pandemics.
- Where does the information come from?
- I get information from the theaters by email or media distributions in several formats. Some theaters don't provide schedules consistently (or at all).
- How often is the movie page updated?
- Information is updated whenever changes are reported by the theaters. There's usually nightly updates. Not reported by the theater - not updated.
When something's amok with my back-office environment, I try to post updates on the
main page - look there first if things don't seem right.
- What information is provided?
- Show times, discounts, special performances, restrictions, and sound system are reported when provided by the theaters in a usable format. Links to external sites (IMDb, publicity sites and web tools) are provided as a courtesy to the reader.
Food, video games and gift certificates will never be reported, I promise.
- How is the page created?
- I built a database that holds the movie information and relates the theaters' schedule to it. The schedule data is converted by routines I've built unique to each theater organization (there's no industry standard). Some manual tweaking is required most weeks.
Products used in the creation of this page include Microsoft Access, TopStyle, and Photoshop.
- Where's the web server?
- The web site is hosted at
DreamHost - a 25 year old company with good service, features and prices based on my experience. They're located in the L.A. area but, of course, the Internet doesn't care where anything lives.
- Can you make a movie site for my business, newspaper, radio station, etc.?
Sure. You can even get references for other movie sites I support.
- Can you make a web site for me?
- Nope. I'm retired from that now.
North Bay Movies dot com and all original content are Copyright © 1994, 2020 by PACS. All rights reserved.