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Here's How That $4 Movie Day Played Out

Sunday's National Cinema Day was a hit, seeing increased sales for Barbie, Blue Beetle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and more.

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Blue Beetle saw one of the biggest bumps thanks to National Cinema Day.Image: Warner Bros.

What happens when movie theaters slash ticket prices drastically for one day only? Apparently, people turn out in droves.

This past Sunday was National Cinema Day, an event where thousands of movie theaters across the United States charged only $4 for any movie in any format, for one day only. It’s the second year of the event (though last year tickets were $3) and, according to reports, it was once again a rousing success. This year’s event brought 8.5 million moviegoers to theaters, an uptick from 2022's 8.1 million. That, of course, means more money was made this year ($34 million vs. $24 million) but much of that is because the tickets were more expensive.


The two films that saw the biggest improvement in audiences from Saturday to Sunday were the family-friendly action films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and Blue Beetle. Mutant Mayhem saw a 37% increase in attendance while Beetle saw a 32% increase. Those were followed by the R-rated comedy Strays, with a 25% bump.

However, those films all fell behind the day’s highest-grossing film, Barbie. It only saw a 6% increase from Saturday to Sunday but made the most money of everything, because it was bringing audiences in all weekend. It grossed $5.7 million over the course of the day, followed by Blue Beetle’s $5.5 million, Gran Turismo’s $4.7 million, Mutant Mayhem’s $3.3 million and Oppenheimer’s $2.2 million. (Barbie won the entire weekend overall, though Gran Turismo attempted to claim the title by factoring in previews from previous weeks.)


Oh and if you’re wondering, “Is 8.5 million people a lot for a Sunday?” Well, compared to the previous, non-discounted Sunday, it’s 16% higher. So, yes, but not maybe as much as one might think.

In the end, what’s the takeaway here? Well, that everyone loves a deal. That much should be obvious. But also, the fact family-friendly movies like Blue Beetle and Mutant Mayhem saw the biggest increase from Saturday to Sunday certainly suggests families want to come to the theaters, but may find it generally too expensive.

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