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National Cinema Day draws in record audience numbers for 2023 edition

Tickets were on sale for £3 as part of the event

A young joyful couple is with their daughter in the cinema, watching an exciting movie.
National Cinema Day took place on Saturday, 2 September in the UK (Getty)

National Cinema Day drew in a record number of audience members to the cinema, with film fans turning up in their droves to celebrate the occasion.

The event took place on Saturday, 2 September in the UK and saw ticket prices for all types of screenings be reduced to under a fiver, with most tickets costing just £3.

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Screenings ranged from recent hits like Barbie to Oppenheimer and Blue Beetle, to new films like Denzel Washington's action thriller The Equalizer 3 and horror film Cobweb, as well as re-released classics like Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, amongst many others.

According to Comcast, National Cinema Day led to a record 1.56 million admissions in the UK, marking a 6% increase in moviegoers heading to the cinema compared to last year's inaugural event.

National Cinema Day was founded by Cinema First in 2022, and in the UK it is supported by both the Film Distributors’ Association and the UK Cinema Association.

It was created in order to help boost the cinema industry following the devastating impact that the Covid pandemic had on sales numbers, and in the US the event took place on Sunday, 27 August with a similar increase in overall attendance.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie, which was amongst the films being screened for a reduced price during National Cinema Day 2023. (Warner Bros.)

Following the success of the event, Iain Jacob, Chair of Cinema First, said in a statement: “National Cinema Day is intended to celebrate the nation’s love of cinema-going and to say a ‘big thank’ you to audiences through providing a great offer to everybody in the UK.

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"After the success of last year’s inaugural event, to see this second edition prove even more successful shows beyond doubt that the cinema experience offers the most enriching and positive form of escapism.

"We are delighted to have been able to welcome so many people back to the Big Screen. Thank you to everybody who came.”

Toby Bradon, General Manager of Vue UK and Ireland, said: ‘Every day is a celebration of the big screen at Vue but Saturday was particularly special as it marked National Cinema Day.

‘To celebrate the occasion, we offered £3 tickets all day – and it’s clear film fans appreciated the sentiment, with Vue seeing admissions across the country more than double compared to the previous Saturday."

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Watch a clip from Barbie