France: Iconic Grand Rex cinema temporarily shuts down amid COVID-induced films and audience drought

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Parisians reacted to the closure of the iconic Grand Rex cinema, on Monday, as it temporarily closed its doors due to coronavirus after having opened in June following the lockdown.

Apart from the nation-wide lockdown earlier this year, this is the first time the cinema, one of the largest in Europe, closes since its inauguration in 1932, as it remained open even during World War II.

Two main factors were reportedly the low attendance and lack of new films, especially blockbusters from the United States whose shootings and releases are being postponed daily as a result of COVID-19.

This results in a lack of new content for cinemas worldwide, leading them to project past films. On the day of its closure, the Grand Rex held a marathon showing of DC Comics films, and is set to have a Harry Potter marathon after it reopens in late August.

“I think the Grand Rex is an institution, and unfortunately, seeing it closed is sad, for Parisians most of all, who can’t see good showings and good films this August,” said one visitor.

Because of its exceptional Art Deco architecture and magnificent interior, the Grand Rex was classified as a French national historical monument. It is planned to reopen on August 25.

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