8.5 Million Moviegoers Went to Theaters on National Cinema Day, Up 5% From Last Year

An estimated 8.5 million people went to the movies this Sunday on National Cinema Day, a 5% increase in attendance from last year’s inaugural event.

On National Cinema Day, hosted by the Cinema Foundation, all showtimes in every format (including Imax and Dolby) were $4 at participating theaters.

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Even with heavily discounted tickets, the box office saw a 16% increase over the previous Sunday, Aug. 20. Moviegoers aged 18-24 and 25-34 each made up 22% of the National Cinema Day audience, according to Comscore, while patrons aged 13-17 accounted for 16% of ticket buyers. Women turned out in slightly higher numbers than men, making up 52% of the audience.

“National Cinema Day was a significant success in bringing together millions of film fans of all ages to enjoy movies on the big screen,” said Bryan Braunlich, executive director of the Cinema Foundation. “Movie theaters and all our partners helped maximize the impact of the day with creative marketing and special promotions that added to the overall excitement, while a diverse slate of exciting films provided something for everyone to see. Thank you to all those hard-working individuals who make the theatrical experience magical.”

This year’s one-day event, which is designed to populate multiplexes and sell popcorn during the dog days of summer, accounted for $34 million in ticket sales. That’s a boost from last year’s inaugural National Cinema Day, which saw $24.3 million in revenues and brought in 8.1 million moviegoers.

More than 3,000 locations, including major chains and smaller independent venues, across the U.S. and Canada participated in National Cinema Day, with theaters reporting sold-out showtimes in many formats throughout the day.

“The positive response to National Cinema Day is just another reminder of how much people love going to the movie theater,” said Michael O’Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “In every corner, audiences came together in large numbers this weekend to share in the experience of seeing great stories on the big screen. These numbers show us that the future of exhibition is strong, and that consumer enthusiasm for the theatrical experience continues unabated.”

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