OVER 11,000 people have signed a petition opposing the conversion of Murcia City’s last historic cinema building into a multipurpose area which would include a gym.

Cinema Rex on Calle Vara de Rey opened its doors as the Teatro Ortiz in 1914 but switched to screening movies in 1926 when it became the Central Cinema.

It was renovated in 1946 and renamed as the Rex Cinema which screened its last film in August 2019, having outlasted all of the other major movie theatres in the city.

The building owners submitted their conversion plans in April and now Murcia City Council is going through a public consultation phase, which has prompted the petition against the project.

A group collected signatures outside the Rex on Thursday and called for it to reopen ‘since it is an irreplaceable piece of people’s memories’.

“This is the last historic Murcia cinema located at the intersection of four districts which contributes to a way of city living that refuses to die,” they added.

The Rex was even mentioned by Murcia filmmaker Elias Leon Siminiani during his acceptance speech in February’s Goya Awards in Sevilla after winning the best short film category.

The Madrid-based AISGE Foundation that manages copyright and intellectual rights for 17,000 Spanish actors has also backed the Rex in a letter to Murcia’s mayor.

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