1 Boulevard Poissonniere,
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Le Grand Rex (Official)
Previously operated by: Gaumont France
Previous Names: Rex Theatre Jacques Haik, Rex
News About This Theater
- Apr 23, 2004 — The Grand Rex Paris to Add More Screens?
The biggest movie theatre still operating in Paris, the Grand Rex opened on 8th December 1932 with “Les Trois Mousquetaires”(The Three Musketeers) starring Aime Simon-Girard, Henri Rollan & Thomy Bourdelle. It was built for independent operator Jacques Haik, who already operated the 5,000 seat l'Olympia music hall, and was the man who made Charlie Chaplin famous in France. In 1933 it was taken over by the Gaumont circuit who operated it until 1941, when it was taken over by the German Nazi occupiers and it became a Soldatenkino, for the use of German troops on leave. It was damaged by a bomb in September 1942 and remained closed until its reopening on 13th October 1944 during the Liberation of Paris.
The Rex Theatre Jacques Haik was designed by architect Auguste Bluysen in an Art Deco style, both externally and in its foyers, dance hall and restaurant areas. The Atmospheric/Moroccan style auditorium was the work of architect/interior decorator Maurice Dufrene, styled in collaboration with noted American theatre architect John Eberson. Originally seating was planned for 3,700, but was reduced to 3,300-seats on orchestra, mezzanine and balcony levels. It is in a perfect shape a big screen called “The Grand Large”, a screen on the stage within the proscenium that can be removed. It is used for some movies and as a tradition every Christmas a Disney movie is screened with a pre-show real waterfall and light-show on stage.
The original ‘Le Grand Rex’ auditorium with its 2,750-seats remains the largest single movie auditorium in Europe. It now hosts live concerts, with some film use for star-studded premieres and first runs.
In November 1974, three screens 1-3, were added in the space of the former basement ballroom which have seating for 304, 350 and 85. In 1983, four screens 4-7, were added in the next building (a former shoe warehouse) which seat 200, 235, 100 and 150. Films are always presented in their French versions.
In 2004, a new project for 12 screens and a remodelling keeping the main auditorium intact was planned, but by 2009, this had been abandoned. Since 1988 many films screened in the original auditorium are now screened on a huge screen named “The Great Large” which drops down from the ceiling in front of the proscenium arch. The Grand Rex was renovated in 2017.
There is an additional attraction in the basement called “Les Etoiles du Rex”. Looking like a Euro Disney attraction, which took you on a ‘self conducted’ backstage tour which described the history of the theatre and the movies with plenty of thrills and special effects. This 45 minute experience reopened as the Rex Studios on 1st January 2022. On 9th June 2021 another space in the lower basement opened as an Escape Room attraction.
During closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic beginning in March 2020, the Grand Rex was given a total renovation beginning in December 2020 and was completed in June 2021. The original auditorium now has 2,702-seats. The additional 6-screens have seating for: 500, 262, 210, 155, 125 & 100.
90 minutes Guided Tours of the entire building are held at 10am on Sunday mornings, taking visitors into the foyer, onto the stage, up into the two balconies and outside onto the roof. The tour guides speak in French and tickets must be pre-booked online.
On October 5 1981, le Ministere de la Culture added Le Grand Rex to the list of historic monuments.
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