FILMGOERS have said they are ‘extremely sad’ about the temporary closure of the Phoenix Picture House.

The Walton Street Cinema announced it would temporarily be closing its doors.

The Picturehouse announced its closure last week, as its owner Cineworld said it would close all of its cinemas nationwide, including the 25 Picturehouses the chain owns.

Read also: Exclusive - Oxford pub to close forever

The retro Jericho cinema held its last viewing on Friday and since moviegoers from across the county have been retelling their best memories of the cinema.

Dinah Roe, 44, a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, said: “The Phoenix Picture House has given me some of my best Oxford memories, not just because of the films, but because of its warm, welcoming and unique community atmosphere and brilliant staff.

“I remember tentatively leaving the house for my first outing after my daughter was born to attend the 'Big Scream' screening for babies under 1-year-old.

“It didn't matter that the film was a run-of-the-mill romcom that I barely remember - what I remember was the magic of sitting in the theatre with all the other new parents as the lights went down and we all started to feel like our old selves again.

“I'll never forget bringing my parents along to watch the live transmission of the Bolshoi Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker when they visited one Christmas; they are not in good enough health to make the journey to Oxford anymore, but we will always have that Christmas memory.

“I am so grateful to the Phoenix Picture House for being an important part of my own Oxford story, and I hope it lives up to its name and returns to us shining bright.”

Read here: Ex-postmaster 'extremely excited' over victory in conviction appeal

Daniel Drage, 42, from North Oxford, similarly reminisced about the cinema.

He said: “Going to the Phoenix Picturehouse on a Sunday morning is a ritual for me - they've got good coffee and the staff clearly feel a great passion for the films they show.

"You can always have a good chat with them before and after the picture and that's a big part of the whole experience.

“That they're closing for the foreseeable future makes me extremely sad - I feel for the staff because they don't deserve this kind of situation. They work hard, they love their jobs and they add an extra dimension that a mainstream cinema can't provide. I hope they all get fixed up with new gigs pretty soon.

“I also feel sorry for the local community in Jericho - the Phoenix is one of many local businesses under threat that contribute so much to our daily lives.

"We must support local businesses and our other great Oxford cinemas, The Curzon and The Ultimate Picture Palace, all we can. Shop local.”

Read also: Greene King pubs still closed in Oxfordshire

Councillor Dr Louise Upton, who represents the North Ward of the city, said: “I’ve been going to the Phoenix since I was a student here in the late 80’s and have many happy memories of events.

“It is such a lovely cinema - they do a great hot chocolate and have a cosy little bar upstairs where you can meet friends before a show. Fingers crossed that it will be opening again in the spring.”