TL;DR: The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is hosting a one-day event designed to lure moviegoers to local cinemas with discounted tickets. National Cinema Day takes place on September 3 and will be held at more than 3,000 participating locations spanning more than 30,000 screens in the US. Ticket prices will be no more than $3 for any movie, any show time and any format (before tax and any applicable third-party ticketing fees).

Most major theater chains including AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are taking part in the promotion. In addition to discounted tickets, select customers will also have access to special in-theater promotions. Previews of upcoming titles from A24, Amazon Studios, Disney, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Neon, Paramount, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony, United Artists Releasing, Universal, and Warner Bros. will also be shown.

Labor Day weekend is historically one of the slowest weekends at the box office but organizers are hoping to buck that trend. The summer lull has been especially pronounced this year as some moviegoers have been slow to return to theaters following pandemic-induced closures. The relatively weak slate of films hasn't helped matters, either.

Cinema Foundation president Jackie Brenneman said that after the summer's return to cinemas, they wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing. "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 branch of NATO dedicated to promoting the cinema exhibition industry.

Cineworld Group PLC, which owns the Regal chain, recently said it is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US as it struggles with billions of dollars in debt. Blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic Park: Dominion have helped put butts in seats but still, ticket sales were down nearly 20 percent compared to the summer of 2019 (before the pandemic) as of about a week ago.

Potential moviegoers are encouraged to check their local listings for participating theaters and tickets. NATO has also set up a dedicated landing page to help visitors find movies and cinemas.

Image credit: Alex Litvin, Simon Ray