Get movie tickets for just $3 on National Cinema Day

Tom Cruise celebrates in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Many movie fans have returned to theaters this summer and now they're getting a big thank you with National Cinema Day, a one-day event that offers movie tickets for just $3 on Saturday, September 3, across thousands of movie theaters in the US.

Being organized by the Cinema Foundation, more than 3,000 participating movie theaters across the US are giving moviegoers of all ages a day at the movies to see any movie currently playing at any time of day in any format at a discounted ticket price of no more than $3. In the UK, the Cinema Association is doing the same, selling tickets for £3 on September 3. 

Some of the movies that are expected to be available on September 3 include the Idris Elba-led movies Beast and Three Thousand Years of Longing, Thor: Love and Thunder, Nope, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Bullet Train, Where the Crawdads Sing, Elvis, Gigi & Nate, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, Breaking, The Invitation, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, re-releases of Jaws and Spider-Man: No Way Home and more.

National Cinema Day also features exclusive previews of upcoming movies from the likes of A24, Amazon Studios, Disney, Focus Features, Neon, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros. and more.

Special in-theater promotions are also part of the celebration. AMC Theaters have announced that they are going to be offering their fountain drink and popcorn cameo combo for $5 (plus tax); many concessions are Cinemark theaters will go for $3, including medium fountain drinks, candy and small popcorns ($1 more for a large). You can see what your local theater is offering by visiting its website.

"After this summer’s record-breaking return to cinemas, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing," said Cinema Foundation President Jackie Brenneman. "We’re doing it by offering a 'thank you' to the moviegoers that made this summer happen and by offering an extra enticement for those who haven’t made it back yet."

The Cinema Foundation is a non-profit focused on promoting the cinema exhibition industry. Since March 2022, its stated mission has been to help shape "he future of the great collective experience of moviegoing and the cinema industry. It works to support and impact the health of the cinema sector both in the short term and for years to come and is continuously expanding its contributions to the magic of moviegoing."

More information about what’s going to be offered is available on the National Cinema Day website, or you can keep up with the latest announcements on Twitter with the hashtag #NationalCinemaDay. Local movie theater websites are also going to have info on the day’s festivities.

Since the pandemic, many wondered about the fate of movie theaters as audiences got accustomed to being able to watch the latest titles at home. However, movies like Top Gun: Maverick — which has become the sixth highest grossing movie at the US box office of all time — The Batman, Jurassic World: Dominion and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have helped rejuvenate the passion for going to see movies on the big screen.

And there’s more on the way, as many 2022 new movies are ones that almost demand to be seen on the biggest screen possible, including The Woman King, Don’t Worry Darling, Black Adam, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Strange World and Avatar: The Way of Water.

If National Cinema Day has you interested in making a return trip to the movies, then also be sure to check out movie theater subscription services, including the relaunching of MoviePass, as these provide a way to make frequent visits more affordable.

Here's an official video promoting National Cinema Day and its $3 tickets.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.