'Jaws' To The Rescue: $3 Movie Ticket Promotion Boosts Attendance For AMC And Others, Led By Older Titles

Zinger Key Points
  • The inaugural National Cinema Day offered movie tickets for $3 at many U.S. locations Saturday.
  • Two movies that have been in theaters for weeks outperformed newer titles, with Spider-Man and Top Gun topping the box office.
'Jaws' To The Rescue: $3 Movie Ticket Promotion Boosts Attendance For AMC And Others, Led By Older Titles

The Labor Day weekend is often a time for the last vacations of the year, camping, barbecues and trips outdoors.

It's not known as a strong box office weekend, but the movie theater sector put an emphasis in getting butts in seats this year with a new promotional offering. Here’s how National Cinema Day performed and which movies led the way over the holiday weekend.

What Happened: The inaugural National Cinema Day was held on Saturday, Sept. 3 and saw over 3,000 movie theaters nationwide offer tickets for $3. On Saturday, over 8.1 million people saw a movie, making it the highest Saturday for all of 2022, according to The National Association of Theatre Owners.

The total is even more impressive when compared to the 7.8 million people that saw a movie in the U.S. for all of Labor Day weekend in 2021.

The 8.1-million figure on Saturday also comes close to matching the total of the entire pre-COVID-19 pandemic Labor Day weekend in 2019, which had 8.2 million admissions. Movie theaters had admissions of 1 million on Friday and had admissions of 4.2 million for all of last weekend.

The Cinema Sector Backdrop: National Cinema Day was created to thank moviegoers for a strong summer of box office figures and a return to theaters by many fans after years of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participating theater chains in the U.S. included AMC Entertainment Holdings AMC, Cinemark Holdings CNK and Regal Cinemas.

Many movie theaters also offered discounts on concessions, with AMC offering a drink and popcorn combo for $5. Theaters also offered the $3 price point for many premium screen options including screens for IMAX Corporation IMAX.

AMC CEO Adam Aron shared on Twitter that AMC sold 1.6 million tickets on Saturday as part of National Cinema Day and also sold a ton of concessions, without sharing a figure for food and beverage.

“Movie theaters are dead is such a load of… umm… merde (per an earlier tweet, google it. It’s more classy in French. As a CEO, I should try to be classy.),” Aron tweeted along with his signature hashtag of “chokeonthat” in reference to high short interest in AMC shares. "Merde" is French for "s***." 

Related Link: Best Time To Go Watch A Movie? AMC And Other Theater Chains Are Offering $3 Tickets

Old Movies Power Box Office: The box office for Friday through Sunday was $53 million, according to Box Office Mojo. This puts the weekend ahead of last weekend’s $52 million but makes it one of the worst Labor Day weekends since the 1990s by dollar amount. The Labor Day weekend is also the fourth lowest-grossing weekend of the year.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which was released by Sony Group Corp SONY in December, was the top grossing movie from Friday through Sunday, at $6 million, according to Box Office Pro. The movie was re-released in theaters with 11 minutes of added footage.

Paramount Global PARAPARAA release “Top Gun: Maverick” grossed $5.5 million for a second place finish. The movie has been in theaters since May and became the sixth movie to ever pass $700 million in domestic box office thanks to the $3 ticket promotion.

Reports from Variety say that “Top Gun: Maverick” may have the better weekend for Labor Day when final numbers come in, which would make the sequel the only movie to rank No. 1 at the box office for both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

Another movie that improved thanks to the promotion and the holiday was “DC League of Super-Pets” from Warner Bros. Discovery WBD. The movie was one of a limited amount of family movies in theaters and grossed $5.45 million from Friday through Sunday. “DC League of Super-Pets” ranked third for the weekend, compared to sixth place in the previous weekend.

Rounding out the top five grossing domestic movies were “Bullet Train” from Sony at $5.4 million and “The Invitation,” also from Sony, at $4.7 million.

Another old movie returned to theaters with the 1975 hit “Jaws” getting its first release on IMAX screens. The movie grossed $2.3 million from Friday to Sunday in IMAX and 3D screens, ranking in tenth place for the weekend.

The lone new release. “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” from Focus Features, a unit of Comcast Corporation CMCSA, ranked 14th at $1.33 million from Friday to Sunday.

Photo via Shutterstock. 

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