National Cinema Day in the UK and the US proved successful in providing a boost to ticket sales, with an estimated 8.1 million movie fans attending their local venue in the US and 1.46 million in the UK on Saturday.
Discounted tickets were available for £3 and $3 to entice moviegoers back to cinemas, which are currently struggling due to a slow rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Cineworld and Vue have made recent headlines after struggling to bounce back due to low ticket sales.
The 8.1 million figure is the highest-attended day of the year for cinemas in the US, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. More than 3,000 venues across the US including cinema chains such as AMC and Regal took part in the initiative.
The event offered an estimated boost of $24.3m (£20m/€24m) to cinemas across the US according to Comscore. This is 9% ahead of the previous Saturday, which also happened to be one of the lowest-grossing weekends of the year.
Jackie Brenneman, president of the Cinema Foundation, told Variety: “With National Cinema Day, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing.
“This event outstripped our biggest expectations. The idea of the day was to thank moviegoers for an amazing summer and now we have to thank them for this amazing day.”
Meanwhile in the UK, Comscore reported 1.46 million people attending the 300 cinemas that took part, a figure that is three times higher than pre-COVID times. The UK held a similar initiative in 1997 and enticed 1.34 million ticket buyers to attend the cinema, with entry costing just £1.
National Cinema Day in the UK was developed by cross-industry body Cinema First and supported by the Film Distributors’ Association and the UK Cinema Association.
Iain Jacon, chair of London’s Cinema First, said: “The appeal to audiences of the true cinema experience is universal, enduring and deep rooted.
“We wanted to celebrate this with a ‘big thank you’ to audiences and a great offer for everybody in the UK.
“People clearly really loved our inaugural National Cinema Day. The cinema experience has always been the most enriching and positive form of escapism, by combining the joy of cinema with an amazingly accessible price we are proud to have supported our audiences at this incredibly challenging time.”