Over 550 venues have signed up to participate in the event, including all of the major UK cinema operators and a wide range of smaller cinema operators and venues.
Echoing the success of similar ‘cinema day' events of the late 1990s, National Cinema Day is intended first and foremost to be a celebration of UK cinema and cinema-going, the country's most popular out-of-home leisure activity.
With the aim of encouraging and enabling as wide an audience of cinema-goers as possible to enjoy the big screen experience, National Cinema Day comes at a time when the sector has shown strong recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, with both box office and admissions now tracking at 80% of the record-breaking levels seen in 2018 and 2019, themselves the biggest years for cinema-going since 1970.
That success shows that while many still enjoy watching films on streaming and other services at home, nothing compares to the sights, sounds and sheer immersive experience of watching a film in its natural home, the cinema theatre.
National Cinema Day has been developed by the cross-industry body Cinema First and is supported by the Film Distributors' Association and the UK Cinema Association. The event will be promoted through an ambitious and wide-ranging marketing campaign.
Looking forward to this weekend's event, Iain Jacob, Chair of Cinema First, said:
‘There seems no better time than now to celebrate UK cinema-going, one of the nation's favourite out-of-home leisure activities. Coming off the back of a very strong summer for the sector and looking forward to further film highlights over the rest of the year, we wanted to give everyone a chance to enjoy the big screen experience.
While all the evidence confirms that cinema-going is amongst the most low-cost, best value-for-money leisure opportunities, we also of course recognise that there are significant impacts on household finances, brought about by the current cost of living crisis and wanted to do our bit to make a trip to the cinema even more affordable for the whole family. We look forward to National Cinema Day being a huge success.'
Further information on National Cinema Day, and details on those UK cinema sites participating, can be found at the National Cinema Day website www.nationalcinemaday.uk.