LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Spider-Man: No Way Home” returned to the top of the box office during a holiday weekend where U.S. theaters aimed to lure moviegoers with discounted $3 tickets.
The first national promotion of “National Film Day” became the highest-grossing day of the year, drawing an estimated 8.1 million viewers on Saturday, according to The Cinema Foundation. The one-day event — offered on more than 30,000 screens and held in more than 3,000 theaters, including major chains AMC and Regal Cinemas — collected preliminary ticket returns of $24.3 million, according to data firm Comscore.
National Movie Day was meant to flood movie theaters with moviegoers during the Labor Day weekend, traditionally one of the industry’s slowest weekends. The promotion seemed to spur people to return in the fall, inspired by the reel of upcoming films from major studios including Disney, Lionsgate, Sony and A24.
“This event exceeded our wildest expectations,” Jackie Brenneman, president of the Motion Picture Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Association of Theater Owners, said in a statement. “The idea of the day was to thank moviegoers for an amazing summer, and now we have to thank them for an amazing day.”
Some other countries have experimented with a similar day of cheap movie tickets, but Saturday’s promotion was the first of its kind on such a large scale in the U.S. National Movie Day organizers said the event could become an annual event.
“This proves that people love going to the theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Pricing is always an estimate.”
The top three acting movie titles of the day included Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” The Rock and Kevin Hart’s “DC League of Super Pets,” and Brad Pitt’s “Bullet Train.” Another top draw was “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which reclaimed the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office.
With never-before-seen footage, Sony and Marvel’s remake of the superhero film starring Tom Holland and Zendaya grossed around $6 million. It was followed by “Top Gun” with $5.5 million, “Super Pets” with $5.45 million, “Bullet Train” with $5.4 million and last week’s topper “The Invitation” earned a 4.7 million dollars to complete the top five.
The remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic “Jaws,” hitting the big screen for the first time in 3D, finished last among the weekend’s top 10 performers.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” $6 million.
2. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $5.5 million.
3. “DC League of Super Pets,” $5.45 million.
4. “Bullet Train,” $5.4 million.
5. “The Invitation,” $4.7 million.
6. “Beast,” $3.6 million.
7. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $3.1 million.
8. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $2.4 million.
9. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” $2.4 million.
10. “Jaws” (1975), $2.3 million.