Missed out on the summer movies? Or want to rewatch your favorite one? You’re in luck because it’s National Cinema Day this Sunday, Aug. 27, and most theaters across the country are offering tickets for only $4.
“Building on the unprecedented success of last year’s inaugural National Cinema Day, the Cinema Foundation is calling on film fans across the country to gather for a national day to celebrate the magic of the movies on the big screen,” said the National Cinema Foundation in a statement.
“The second annual National Cinema Day celebrates the power of movies to bring us all together, and discounted admissions for all movies at participating U.S. theaters in all formats (including Premium Large Format screens) will be no more than $4.”
How many movie theaters will be part of National Cinema Day?
Approximately 30,000 screens across 3,000 locations are expected to take part in the one-day event, according to The Cinema Foundation, the non-profit organizing the event. Popular cinema chains, including AMC Theatres, Regal Movies, and B&B Theatres have also announced their participation in the event and are offering discounted popcorn.
To buy tickets or see a list of participating theaters, visit NationalCinemaDay.org, Fandango or your local movie theater’s website or app.
What movies will be shown in cinemas?
Summer hits including “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” and “Blue Beetle” are on the menu as well as new films opening this weekend like “Gran Turismo,” “Golda,” “The Hill,” “Retribution” and “Bottoms”.
Recent family hits like “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Sing-Along”, and classic re-releases like “Jurassic Park (3D),” “American Graffiti,” “Lady Bird” and “Oldboy” are also part of the lineup. The $4 ticket will apply to all movies, screens and formats.
“One of the lessons we learned from last year is this became more of a family outing because of the pricing. So we are trying to put content out there that is more oriented to the families first,” Tim Handren, the Chief Executive Officer at Santikos, a chain of cinemas primarily in the San Antonio area in Texas, told USA TODAY.
The event will also feature independent films and exclusive new content that can only be seen in theaters. A sneak peek of anticipated autumn releases is also expected to play before each screening.
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Does National Cinema Day happen every year?
This is the second consecutive year theaters are celebrating National Cinema Day at the end of the summer and for good reason, given last year’s roaring success. More than 8 million moviegoers were part of last year’s inaugural National Cinema Day, organized by The Cinema Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Theater Owners.
The one-day event, held at more than 3,000 participating locations with more than 30,000 screens, collected box office returns of $23.8 million dollars for the day – 8% more than the previous Saturday’s sales – even with the discounted ticket price of $3, the theater group said.
“Movies have the power to bring us together to share in the joy, the thrill and the magic of a great story told on the big screen,” said Michael O’Leary, President & CEO of the theater-owners group. “National Cinema Day is a celebration of movie fandom and of the uniting role that movie theaters play in our communities.”
This year’s event is taking place on Sunday instead of last year’s Saturday, and ticket prices have increased a dollar. The average movie ticket in 2022 cost $10.53, according to the theater group.
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After last year’s National Cinema Day, in a Fandango consumer survey of more than 2,000 U.S. ticket buyers, participants noted the top five reasons they would likely buy tickets for the next National Cinema Day, including affordable pricing, ability to see a specific movie they’ve wanted to see, time with loved ones, being a big fan of a particular movie franchise, and fun activity for their weekend plans.
Anticipation for the event
Anticipation and hype for the event is building up, with cinema owners noting an increase in bookings and pre-sales for Sunday. Some cinemas like AMC Theatres and B&B Theatres have even added more shows for the day to accommodate an increase in viewership.
“The response has been really positive,” said Elizabeth Frank, EVP Worldwide Programming and Chief Content Officer for AMC Theatres. “Both in engagement and feedback on social media and also our theaters. You can feel people getting excited about the movies.”
“I think it’s gonna be a pretty big day,” said Handren. “We’re seeing good early ticket sales for Sunday, based on early data.”
However, Handren believes that because National Cinema Day is on Sunday, it might not receive the same level of attention that last year’s Saturday event did.
“However, it will be a robust day for a Sunday, no doubt,” he said.
“We’ve got ten times the pre-sales as we do on Friday or Saturday, which is unheard of. That’s incredible,” Chief Content, Programming and Development Officer of B&B Theatres Brock Bagby tells USA TODAY.
Cinema executives also view this event as a way to give back to the community and build stronger relationships with their audiences because the profit margin is slim, given the ticket price and concessions in snacks.
“We believe that this is an opportunity for us to welcome a lot of people and view it as a part of community engagement,” said Frank. We’re not seeking to do this as an opportunity to maximize revenue. It’s good business and it’s as much good community engagement as it is profit.”
“What cinema is all about is to get people out and help them remember why this is a great family experience,” said Handren. “It’s a great escape from some of the parts of life that are not that fun.”
“We’re we’re not doing this to make money. We’re actually doing this to remind moviegoers why they want to come back to the movies,” he added.
Bagby said that the event is more about giving back and thanking customers, communities, patrons, and guests than a profit-making venture.
“[It is also] a way for some people that may not be able to go to the movies very often to experience any format, which I think is so exciting,” added the B&B Theatres executive.
As for which movies are the most popular, all three cinema executives unanimously agreed that “Barbie” is taking the lead, along with other family entertainers like “Blue Beetle”, “Gran Turismo,” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”.
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What is The Cinema Foundation?
The Cinema Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to promoting essential cinema exhibition industry by developing future diverse workforces and growing moviegoing communities through research, education, and philanthropy.
Since March 2022, the foundation is dedicated to shaping the future of the great collective experience of moviegoing and the cinema industry.