Thousands Rally in Zagreb against Announced Closure of Europa Cinema

By 7 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 7, 2019 - More than 2,000 people gathered in front of Europa Cinema in Zagreb on Saturday afternoon to show support for the cinema’s management, as the future of the Zagreb movie theatre Cinema Europa (Kino Europa), which is the oldest active cinema in Croatia, seems uncertain.

On Friday, the cinema’s management announced that they would close the cinema this weekend after they received notice from the City of Zagreb that they would need to exit the premises on 1 June 2019 due to renovations.

Cinema Europa management said in a statement that the City was using the guise of the renovations to get rid of the cinema’s current management and bring a new tenant in.

However, on Saturday afternoon, the Zagreb Film Festival director Boris T. Matić admitted that their reaction a day before was a result of their shock and surprise.

He said that 10 years ago when they were awarded the lease, the cinema was in a state of dilapidation. Matić insisted that under the concession agreement, they were supposed to invest two million kuna, and they had invested five million kuna to date.

On Saturday afternoon, the city authorities said that the renovation of the premises was necessary and refuted allegations that there were plans to repurpose the building, located in Zagreb's Cvjetni Square.

Matić said that he would hold a news conference on Tuesday to inform the public about the details of the investments the current management had made so far.

Croatia’s Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, on Saturday morning also raised her voice against the closure of Cinema Europa. She called on the two sides to show their good will and reach agreement on the future functioning of the cinema.

The City of Zagreb said in a statement on Saturday that the current management’s lease expires on 1 June and the premise would remain a cinema after renovations are complete.

Cinema Europa said a second protest would be held on Tuesday, 9 April at 5:30 pm outside the cinema.

Cinema Europa, which turns 94 years old this month has been extremely successful over the last ten years, holding over 14,000 projections with over one million visitors. In 2016, Cinema Europa won the European Best Cinema Award. The cinema is a protected cultural heritage and national treasure of Croatia.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.