At a time when inflation is eating away at family budgets, the Cinema Foundation has announced National Cinema Day on Saturday, September 3. It’s a one-day event where all tickets at participating theaters will be $3 or less.
That’s a big dip from the national average of $9.17 a ticket.
More than 3,000 theaters with over 30,000 screens are participating in National Cinema Day. AMC Theatres announced that it’s celebrating by offering popcorn and drink for just $5 as well.
The special day is to welcome back folks who haven’t been to the movies since the pandemic and to celebrate the surprisingly solid summer 2022 box office. AP reports that before each $3 screening, theater-goers will be shown a sizzle reel of upcoming films from A24, Amazon Studios, Disney, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Neon, Paramount, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony, United Artists Releasing, Universal and Warner Bros.
The hope is to continue the momentum of this summer into the fall. If National Cinema Day is successful it could also become an annual event, much like Record Store Day.
\u201c#NationalCinemaDay is Saturday, 9/3! All tickets, including IMAX and Dolby Cinema, are only $3+tax, and our fountain drink and popcorn cameo combo is just $5+tax. https://t.co/O6q3d38ats\u201d
— AMC Theatres (@AMC Theatres)
“After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Cinema Foundation President Jackie Brenneman in a press release. “We’re doing it by offering a ‘thank you’ to the moviegoers that made this summer happen, and by offering an extra enticement for those who haven’t made it back yet.”
The summer of 2022 has been seen as a success by some in the motion picture industry because theaters pulled in roughly $3.3 billion or 80% of the 2019, pre-pandemic box office. The totals may be lower than the last pre-pandemic summer, but 2022 saw 30% fewer releases.
The summer box office rallied this year due to big showings from “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: Rise of Gru,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Jurassic World Dominion.”
Even though there has been a big box-office rebound, the types of films that have found success in theaters has dramatically changed over the past few years.
“The dramas, the middle-of-the-road action movies that are not the A-list franchise tentpoles—those have really struggled,” Matthew Belloni from Puck, told NPR. “[Studios] don’t see evidence that there is an audience for the mid-budget and lower-budget drama movies in theaters, so they’re just not putting them in. But there can’t be a surprise hit if they’re not in theaters.”
Let’s hope that National Cinema Day is a big success for both theaters and movie-goers. Over the past few years, there has been a paradigm shift where more people now prefer to watch movies in their homes on streaming services than going to theaters. This has many worried that the experience of seeing movies on the big screen may become a thing of the past.
There’s something exhilarating about the communal experience of watching a film with an audience and listening to a booming sound system and seeing images fly by on a massive screen. Films were made to be seen this way and it’d be a travesty to lose the cinema experience. Events like National Cinema Day that encourage people to relish the cinema experience could prove to be an effective way to remind people of the power of seeing a film on the big screen.