Theaters want people to put away their Labor Day weekend picnic baskets and see a movie for just $3 or less on Sept. 3 in celebration of the first-ever National Cinema Day.
More than 3,000 movie theaters will participate in the one-day event, which will apply to tickets for all formats, including Imax. Circuits offering the special pricing include AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Theatres and the embattled Regal Cinemas.
The promotion is the brainchild of the Cinema Foundation, a new non-profit organization that’s affiliated with the National Association of Theatre Owners.
“After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Cinema Foundation president Jackie Brenneman. “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.”
Normally, Hollywood studios and cinema operators would be loathe to shave their prices so dramatically, and especially on a Saturday.
In this case, however, it could be a win-win for all involved.
Historically, Labor Day weekend is always slow at cinemas as consumers focus on end-of-summer activities. This year, it is even more quiet than usual as exhibitors contend with a dramatic slowdown in terms of August studio product after a huge March-July. The downturn is due in large part to post-production delays due to the pandemic.
The new nationwide offerings over Labor Day are the specialty pic Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, starring Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall, and a pair of rereleases: Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which is being offered in 3D, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
In 2019, the average ticket price in the U.S. was $9.16 per NATO (the organization hasn’t updated that stat since the pandemic began).
The Cinema Foundation, launched in March, is dedicated to developing future diverse workforces within the exhibition industry and growing moviegoing communities through research, education and philanthropy. It is supported by NATO and an array of new partners, including technology companies, food and beverage leaders, members of the creative community and other individuals and companies dedicated to the future of cinema.
National Cinema Day will feature sneak peeks of upcoming titles from A24, Amazon Studios, Disney, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Neon, Paramount, Sony, Sony Pictures Classics, MGM/United Artists Releasing, Universal and Warner Bros.