Even today, 90 years after its opening, the Grand Rex is the largest cinema in the world with its 2700 seats !
A big event
On December 8, 1932, 3,300 guests in tuxedos and sequined dresses thronged Boulevard Poissonnière in front of a huge Art Deco façade: Le Tout Paris celebrated the birth of the largest cinema in Europe. Jacques Haik, the owner of the place, the one who made Charlie Chaplin known in France looks at the event with pride, after so many efforts deployed… While some cried genius and others madness, Jacques haïk, operator and film distributor, had to defy the most pessimistic and did not yield on any point: neither the area of the room (2000 m2 on the ground), nor the height of the building. The only concession: the number of places, which has gone from 5,000 to 3,300.
A German requisition
However, despite the immense success of the Rex, Jacques Haïk had to file for bankruptcy. The new Gaumont company bought the cinema and resold it a few years later . During World War II, . The Germans requisition the room and transform it into a « Soldatenkino« . They then screened propaganda films and films authorized by the Nazis for the licensees. In the room, a huge clock, permanently lit, reminds the time while a loudspeaker gives, during the projection, the railway timetables… However, two months after the Liberation of Paris, on October 13, 1944 , the Rex reopens its doors to the public with an American film and chewing gum during intermission. While the electric current is rationed, the Rex, after the purchase of an engine and an alternator, can function thanks to large reserves of fuel left by the Germans.
A big digital facade
In 2009 Le Grand Rex modified its storefront by installing one of the largest digital facades. This allows you to rediscover its art deco columns while giving it a more modern character. For more than 60 years, the Grand Rex has been programming the latest cartoon from the Walt Disney Studios for the Christmas holidays. This is an opportunity to offer young and old a complete show where the film is preceded by the magic of the waters and an animation with the characters dear to children.
A million spectators
Today, the Rex welcomes almost a million spectators. It also regularly organizes various exceptional events such as concerts, shows and the most beautiful previews in the presence of film crews. Its largest screen in Paris called « Le Grand Large » was inaugurated by « Le Grand Bleu » by Luc Besson in 1988. Recognizable by its monumental Art Deco facade, its starry vault culminating at 30 meters and its Moorish decorations, the Grand Rex has been a listed monument since 1981 and is highly regarded by Quentin Tarantino. At night, its luminous strip is reminiscent of Times Square. Nostalgia creeps in everywhere; the escalator, the first in such a place was inaugurated by Gary Cooper. Hitchcock came to present the Birds there.
The Grand Rex,
2 Boulevard Poissonniere, Paris