NEW YORK (AP) — For one day, movie tickets will cost just $3 at the vast majority of U.S. theaters as part of a new “National Movie Day” to entice moviegoers during a quiet time at the box- office.
The Cinema Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the National Association of Theater Owners, announced Sept. 3 on Sunday as a national cutback day at more than 3,000 theaters and on more than 30,000 screens. Major chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, are participating, as well as all major movie studios. At participating theaters, tickets will cost no more than $3 for each performance, in all formats.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally one of the slowest weekends in theaters. This year, the lull in August was particularly acute for exhibitors. Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas, cited the lack of supply of major new releases in its recent plans to fill the Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
But, if successful, National Movie Day could flood theaters with moviegoers and potentially keep them coming back in the fall. Prior to each screening, ticket buyers will see a 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.
“After the record-breaking return to theaters this summer, we wanted to do something to celebrate cinema,” Jackie Brenneman, president of the Cinema Foundation, said in a statement. “We do this by offering a ‘thank you’ to the moviegoers who made this summer possible and by offering an extra incentive to those who have yet to return.”
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: Maverick”, “Minions: Rise of Gru”, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Jurassic World Dominion” pushed the summer domestic box office to $3.3 billion in ticket sales as of Aug. 21, according to data firm Comscore. This follows 2019 totals by around 20%, but exhibitors had around 30% fewer large-scale releases this year.
National Film Day organizers described the event as a trial that could become an annual fixture. While 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 United States.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP