Istanbul’s legendary Atlas and Rexx cinemas have closed down due to financial problems. They had already suspended their operations due to the cornavirus outbreak, but amid growing financial problems, they have announced that they will not open their doors again.
Atlas Cinema, located on İstiklal Avenue in Taksim neighborhood, opened in 1949. The legendary movie theater was housed in an indoor arcade named Atlas Pasajı (Passage). With a street presence, it was one of the meeting points of people gathering in Taksim.
“We could not earn any money for the last seven, eight years. We could not cope with the current circumstances. The Culture Ministry has been wanting to turn this place to a cinema museum for a while now. We could not manage their insistence and in some way were forced to shut down,” İrfan Atasoy, the son of one of the co-partners of the movie theater, told the media platform Medya Scope.
Rexx Cinema in Kadıköy district has similarly closed down amid financial problems. The cinema’s owners allegedly could not afford to pay the rent demanded by the Greek Orthodox Foundation anymore.
Just like Atlas Cinema, Rexx was one of the few Istanbul movie theaters where the entrance is on a street. It first opened its doors in 1920s under the name of Apollon; it later changed its name to Hale Cinema in 1930s. The building was demolished in 1961, with the new structure having been given the name of Reks Cinema. In 2000s, its name changed to Rexx Cinema.
Right on the corner of Kadife Sokak, Kadıköy’s most famous street for day or night hangout spots, Rexx Cinema was one of the popular meeting points of Istanbulites.