National Cinema Day brings cheap tickets to Tucson theaters

A National Cinema Day advertisement. On Sept. 3, moviegoers can see movies for $3 at cinemas nationwide. Courtesy National Cinema Day.

Movie night in America used to look different.

Before the COVID-19 mask recommendations and social distancing, the movie theater was a staple of a night out on the town. Families, friends and dates would line up at the box office ready to pay an arm on a ticket and a leg on the popcorn (or you smuggle a three-course meal in the hoodie, no judgments here).

Now, the dynamic of visual entertainment has changed entirely. We got spoiled seeing new releases streamed on HBO Max and other streaming sites. 

Even after a tumultuous year like 2020, movie theaters still find difficulty consistently filling seats even after opening their doors to the public over a year and a half ago. Consumers are opting to stay at home, stream their entertainment and have their normal-priced drinks and snacks delivered to their front door.


To combat low turnout, national theater chains including AMC, Cinemark and Harkins are participating in National Cinema Day on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The Cinema Foundation, a nonprofit from the National Association of Theatre Owners, announced Sunday that more than 3,000 participating theaters across the country will offer movies for no more than $3 per ticket.

New releases including Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” all the way to classics such as “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and  “Jaws” will be available at participating theaters in Tucson for the $3 ticket. Some participating theaters including Cinemark theaters will be offering drinks and snacks at discounted prices.

The goal of National Cinema Day is not just to get people in seats, but to remind movie lovers how wonderful it is to see a movie on the big screen and how hard it is to replicate that experience at home.

Seven Tucson theaters will be participating in the inaugural discount day. For a full list of where, what and when you can take advantage of National Cinema Day, see the full breakdown here, as well as your theater’s website for showtimes.

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism. 

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