Last September 3rd, “National Cinema Day” was celebrated in more than 3,000 theaters in North America, with $3 tickets to every showing of every movie all day long. It was a gigantic success — 8.1 million attendees (a record high for 2022 at the time), totaling $24.3 million. Hopefully there’s another installment on the way. Here are six reasons why it worked last year:
THEATERS NEEDED IT
“Top Gun: Maverick” was a phenomenon last summer. But cinemas were still yearning for strong attendance. This allowed a lot of people who hadn’t been to the movies in a few years (or longer) to take-in the theatrical experience again.
If you take the Top 12 movies of the day and divide their per screen averages by 3, that’s 2,530 people per multiplex. One of the busiest days for many theaters since before the pandemic… and tremendous concessions sales.
I got to see “Where the Crawdads Sing” (which had already been out for a month and a half) at a packed showing of well over 100 people (including many over the age of 65). This day served as an opportunity to see a film (or two or three) you might’ve missed from earlier in the summer — or even take-in a re-release of “Jaws” or “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.
IT WAS ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND
National Cinema Day was two days before Labor Day, with many kids in the country still out of school. This allowed “DC League of Super-Pets” to shoot-up from the No. 7 spot the day before to No. 2 for National Cinema Day (barely behind “Top Gun: Maverick”), with $2.54 million — its biggest day since exactly three weeks earlier, on Saturday August 13th. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” also did very well with $1.8 million, also its biggest day since Aug. 13.
BOX OFFICE INCREASED EVEN WITH CHEAPER PRICES
Every single movie in the Top 30 for Sept. 3 saw its box office increase on Saturday over Friday, even with ticket prices slashed from $13 to $3. “Top Gun”, “Super-Pets”, “Minions” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” even did better than the previous Saturday.
REGAL STARTED A COOL PROGRAM
The big reason National Cinema Day was a success was because of the $3 ticket prices. Irresistible. Later in September, Regal Cinemas announced a $5 “Monday Mystery Movie” screening of a film yet to be released. It was Apple’s “The Greatest Beer Run Ever”. Since then, there have been 13 more $5 “Monday Mystery Movies” (with another one coming-up soon). The program is clearly working. People can’t deny the chance to see a preview screening of a new movie for only $5.