Aug 29, 2022 - Economy

Movie tickets will be $3 at Regal, AMC, more theaters Saturday

Movie theater screen with rows of seats, many which are empty

The first National Cinema Day will be Sept. 3. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Movie tickets will be $3 on Saturday — a fraction of their regular price — for the first-ever National Cinema Day at the majority of movie theaters nationwide, including Regal Cinemas and AMC.

Why it matters: Labor Day weekend has long been considered one of the slowest weekends for theaters and this summer has been slow even though movie theater attendance has rebounded since theaters reopened following COVID closures.

  • The explosion of streaming options coupled with the health crisis has changed moviemaking, and watching, permanently, Axios’ Hope King and Herb Scribner report.
  • Cineworld, the parent company of Regal, is preparing to file for bankruptcy to restructure its massive debt load, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.

By the numbers: This year's box office, while up significantly from this point last year, is still down more than 30% compared to 2019, Axios’ Sara Fischer reports.

  • So far in 2022, the percentage of box office revenue that has gone toward R-rated films is the lowest it's been in over 25 years.

National Cinema Day 2022

Driving the news: The Cinema Foundation, a non-profit arm of the National Association of Theater Owners, says the Sept. 3 discount will be available in more than 3,000 theaters and 30,000 screens.

  • The one-day event features all movie tickets for only $3, including premium format screens like IMAX and Dolby Cinema, and for all showtimes.
  • Saturday's showings will also feature exclusive previews from upcoming movies.
  • A special Cinema Day website has been set up to find participating theaters.

Be smart: The $3 ticket price does not include tax and convenience fees such as online and third-party ticketing fees.

  • Look for other promotions. AMC said in a tweet that it will have a "fountain drink and popcorn cameo combo" for $5 plus tax Saturday.

What they’re saying: “After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Jackie Brenneman, Cinema Foundation president, 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,” Brenneman said.
  • "This day is for movie lovers across the US, celebrating how movies are meant to be seen, on the big screen," said Ken Thewes, Regal's chief marketing officer, in a news release.

Meanwhile, MoviePass is moving forward with its comeback and says it will launch a new beta service on or around Labor Day.

  • Aug. 29 was the last day to sign up for a free wait list but the service won't be available nationwide at first and "markets will be launched in waves."

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