Rex Cinemas Mackenzie

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Rex Cinemas Mackenzie
Rex Cinemas Mackenzie is located in Singapore
Rex Cinemas Mackenzie
Rex Cinemas Mackenzie
Location in Singapore
Full name Rex Cinemas Mackenzie RD
Former names Rex Theatre
TJ Live House @ The Rex
Rex Cinemas
Address 2 Mackenzie Road, Singapore 228673
Location Singapore
Coordinates 1°18′17.3″N 103°51′00.0″E / 1.304806°N 103.850000°E / 1.304806; 103.850000Coordinates: 1°18′17.3″N 103°51′00.0″E / 1.304806°N 103.850000°E / 1.304806; 103.850000
Public transit  NE7  DT12  Little India
Owner Malayan Theatre Ltd (former)
Shaw Organisation (former)
Rex Cinemas (former)
Carnival Cinemas
Operator Malayan Theatre Ltd (former)
Shaw Organisation (former)
Rex Cinemas (former)
Carnival Cinemas
Type Movie theater
Opened 1946 (1946)
Renovated 2009
Closed 1983 (as Rex Theatre).
2018 (as Carnival Cinemas Mackenzie)
Reopened 2009
Fuji Ice Palace (former)
Foo Chow Methodist Church (former)
TJ Live House (former)

Rex Cinemas Mackenzie, formerly Rex Cinemas and Rex Theatre, is an Art Deco style cinema building in Singapore. the cinema was adjacent to Ellison building along Mackenzie Road. The cinema was bounded by major road, Bukit Timah Road and secondary roads Mackenzie and Selegie Road.


Built on the former site of the Singapore Boxing Stadium which was closed and demolished in 1946, the theatre opened in 1964. It started out as a cinema, a concert venue, then an ice skating rink, into a church, a disco and back to being a cinema again.

The theatre hall was different from the other cinemas in Singapore in terms of its layout organisation. The front and back stalls seats of the cinema hall sloped downwards to meet each other. This gives movie watchers seated in the front to have a better view of the screen without straining their necks.

The first film screened in Rex Theatre was an English film, The Jungle Book. As its peak popularity in 1976, Rex Theatre attracted the largest crowd when they screened Earthquake which came alongside with new sensurround sound effects that sent simulated vibrations around the cinema seats, depicting a real earthquake. The last film being screened at Rex was Jaws 3-D in 1983.[1]

Surrounding Spaces[edit]

Street Hawker Food[edit]

Rex Theatre was once brimmed with hawker food, a uniquely Singaporean identity that ought to be embedded in the social history of Singapore. The side lane of Rex Theatre was once a thriving place for cheap and scrumptious hawker food. Patrons could be seen hanging outside the left lane of the cinema mingling and socializing with each other and indulging in street hawker food.

Old Chang Kee[edit]

Old Chang Kee curry puffs was one of the food which played a significant memory for movie patrons. In 1973, Chang opened his second stall at a coffee shop on Mackenzie Road, near the Rex Theatre. The curry puffs were so famous that it became known as Rex curry puffs.

Singapore Traction Company[edit]

Public Transportation was one of the vital factor which brought people from different parts of Singapore to the vicinity of Rex Theatre. In the 1950s, the bus depot that belonged to the Singapore Traction Company was situated right beside Rex Cinema, which currently an open air-carpark. It was one of the biggest bus operator that ran trams operated by overhead electric cables. The location of the bus depot was so convenient for movie patrons where they could alight right at the doorstep of Rex Theatre. The bus company went bankrupt in 1971.[2]

Foo Chow Methodist Church[edit]

Foo Chow Methodist Church step in and took over Rex Theatre in 1999 for a year to hold worship services. It functioned as a temporary church as the original church along 90 Race Course Road was undergoing reconstruction and upgrading due to bad foundation in the earth. It was found to be unsafe for operation due to tunneling works for an MRT line. A year later, the church then moved back to its own premises.[3]

Redevelopment and reopening[edit]

Senthil Kumar, alongside with his father Narayanasamy Muthu, who runs a few businesses which jewelry chain Kamala Jewellers in Singapore, decide to breathe new life into the former Rex Theatre by chipping in S$2 million. They had an interior make over with an addition of 2 smaller halls upstairs and the main hall filled with 570 seats while the other two, could hold 82 patrons each. The theatre was reopened as Rex Cinemas in 2009, which a majority of Indian and foreign workers patronised due to its Hindi, Indian and Bollywood films.[4] There were Indian Muslim shops nearby selling food where it hoped to bring back memories of hawker stalls along the side lane of Rex back in the past.

In August 2017, the premises was acquired by Carnival Cinemas and renamed as Rex Cinemas Mackenzie.[5]The cinema ceased operation in July 2018.


The theatre had a renowned social history from 1946 to present.

1946, Rex Cinema first open its doors by Malayan Theatre Ltd, filmed a spectrum of multi-genre and multi-racial films

1967, Ownership of cinema changed hands and it came under Shaw Organisation

1976, Gain its peak popularity.

1983, Rex Theatre shut down its doors due to rampancy of videotape piracy and eventually the business plunged. From then on there were no cinemas in the district.

1985, Rex Theatre was converted into a performance house with famous singers from Taiwan and Hong Kong. They held their concert there and attracted a lot of people.

1989, The performance house made way for Fuji Ice Palace, an ice rink which ceased operations in 1993.

1999, Rex Theatre housed Foo Chow Methodist Church[6] for a year.

2000, It was reopened as a disco known as TJ Live House @ The Rex.

2007, Rex Theatre was left abandoned.

2009, Rex Theatre was converted into a 3 hall modernized cinema and reopened as Rex Cinemas.

2017, Rex Cinemas was taken over by Carnival Cinemas and renamed as Rex Cinemas Mackenzie.

2018, Rex Cinemas Mackenzie ceases operations in July that year.


  1. ^ "Shaw Online - About Shaw - Shaw History". Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  2. ^ "Singapore Traction Company begins operations - Singapore History". Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  3. ^ Singapore, National Library Board,. "Old racecourse (Farrer Park) | Infopedia". Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  4. ^ "Going back to the movies at Rex". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  5. ^ Laghate, Gaurav (2017-08-25). "Carnival Cinemas acquires 4 screens in Singapore, eyes expansion in other international markets". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  6. ^ "Foochow Methodist Church". Retrieved 2018-04-11.