I’m not sure who keeps inventing these random holidays that seem to happen every single day of the year lately. (Fresh Breath Day? No Pants Day? National Hot Dog Day? Do we really need a day devoted to celebrating hot dogs?) But here is one made-up holiday we can really get behind: National Cinema Day, which is coming next weekend, on Saturday, September 3.

In honor of this tribute to movie theaters, many of the biggest chains in the country, including AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Alamo Drafthouse are all offering $3 movie tickets. In most places all tickets that day will be $3 for every film — and there will be no extra charges for fancy formats like IMAX, 3D, or Dolby Cinema.

Check your local theater for to see exactly what they are offering. Some chains are offering additional deals as well; Cinemark, for example, is also advertising $3 ICEEs, drinks, candy, or small popcorns.

Movie theaters have rebounded somewhat from the worst of the pandemic, when thousands of multiplexes around the country were shuttered for months, and then reopened to limited attendance. The early portions of the year saw a few significant blockbusters, including Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but business has been down in August, due in part to a lack of big new releases. (Last weekend’s box-office total was the worst of the summer; the #1 movie in the country, the horror film The Invitation, grossed just $7 million.) And it will still be quite a few more weeks until the fall blockbusters, like Black Adam and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever begin rolling out in October.

So National Cinema Day is basically a way to get people in the door at a time when movie theaters are pretty empty. Filling theaters with $3 admissions is better than selling no $15 tickets — and if people come and have a great time and make plans to return in the fall for another movie, all the better.

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