NEW YORK — For one day, movie tickets will cost just $3 at most U.S. theaters as part of a newly minted “National Movie Day” to entice moviegoers during a quiet period at the box office.
The Cinema Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Association of Theater Owners, announced Sunday that Sept. 3 will be National Discount Day at more than 3,000 theaters and on more than 30,000 screens. Major chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, are participating, as are all the major movie studios. At participating theaters, tickets will be no more than $3 for each performance in any format.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally one of the slowest weekends in theaters. This year’s August lull was particularly acute for exhibitors. Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas, cited the scarce supply of major new releases in its recent plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
But if it succeeds, National Movie Day could flood theaters with moviegoers and potentially keep them coming back in the fall. Before each screening, ticket buyers will be shown a fast track of upcoming films from A24, Amazon Studios, Disney, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Neon, Paramount, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony, United Artists Releasing, Universal and Warner Bros.
“After record-breaking returns to theaters this summer, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” Jackie Breneman, president of the Cinema Foundation, said in a statement. “We’re doing it by offering a ‘thank you’ to the moviegoers who made this summer happen, and by offering extra temptation for those who haven’t returned yet.”
After more than two years of the pandemic, movie theaters rebounded significantly over the summer, seeing business return to near pre-pandemic levels. Movies like Top Gun: MaverickMinions: Rise of Gru,“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and Jurassic World Dominion boosted the domestic summer box office to $3.3 billion in ticket sales as of Aug. 21, according to data company Comscore. That’s behind 2019 overall by about 20%, but exhibitors had about 30% fewer wide releases this year.
National Cinema Day organizers described the event as a trial that could become an annual event. While some other countries have experimented with a similar day of cheap movie tickets, the initiative is the first of its kind on such a large scale in the US
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