Movie theaters to offer $3 tickets on Saturday after industry reports “incredibly strong” summer

Movie theaters throughout the U.S. will offer $3 tickets on Saturday for the first annual National Cinema Day, the Cinema Foundation announced. The initiative comes as the industry saw an “incredibly strong” summer after a pandemic-induced lull, according to one analyst.

The one-day event will be held at more than 3,000 participating locations and include more than 30,000 screens, according to a news release. National Cinema Day is meant to celebrate this “summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas,” Cinema Foundation president Jackie Brenneman said in a statement. 

“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,” Brennerman added.

Empty Cinema with Empty seats
Movie theaters throughout the U.S. will allow customers to watch movies for only $3 on September 3, for National Cinema Day. 

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Theaters were forced to shut down in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and once they reopened struggled to get back to pre-pandemic levels. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore, told CBS News this week “it was cause for alarm for theater owners and it’s been a long road to recovery.” But prospects are now looking up.  

“This past summer was so incredibly strong that any notion that the movie theater could not recover from the pandemic was certainly dashed by what will wind up being about $3.4 billion in ticket sales for what was a blockbuster summer movie season,” he said. 

The National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian told Yahoo Finance that cinema is making a “comeback.” 

“The resurgence of cinema coming out of the pandemic is alive and well,” he said.  

Dergarabedian believes it’s a critical period for the movie theater industry, as customers weigh streaming a movie and buying a ticket to see a blockbuster. 

“This is an important moment for movie theaters because streaming being so prevalent and with so many options for entertainment, consumers have become much more selective on what they choose to spend their hard-earned dollars, but when presented with great movies as diverse as ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Elvis,’ consumers love going out to the movie theater,” Dergarabedian told CBS News. 

Although we’re entering a “slower post-summer period at the box office,” he said it’s only temporary, as notable movies such as “Bros,” “Black Adam,” “Don’t Worry Darling” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will likely draw viewers back to the theater later this year. 

Dergarabedian said 2023 will also feature its own impressive lineup, including “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and “John Wick 4.” 

“National Cinema Day will serve as a perfect reminder of the great lineup of films on the way to the multiplex in the coming weeks and months,” Dergarabedian said. 

Not only will tickets be discounted, but National Cinema Day will also include “exclusive previews and special in-theater promotions,” according to the Cinema Foundation.

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