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Movie Theatre Day – April 23, 2023

Movie Theatre Day is celebrated on April 23 each year. This holiday celebrates movie theaters and the thrills they bring into our lives. Today, movie theaters are more than relaxation centers, they also offer a great avenue to have romantic dates, meet new faces, and hang out with friends or family members after a hard day’s work. Much more, some movies now premiere first at the theaters before they are released to other channels for sales and streaming. This underlines the influence and importance of movie theaters today. Sadly, with the advent of the internet and the proliferation of streaming networks, movie theaters now face extinction and low patronage.

History of Movie Theatre Day

A movie theater (also sometimes called a cinema) describes a place where people go to see movies on a big screen. For over a century, movie theaters have served as a favorite spot to unwind, meet new people, and enjoy quality entertainment. On June 19, 1905, the first common type of public motion picture theater in the U.S. opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Harry Davis and John Harris — owners of the movie theater — named their cinema Nickelodeon. The name was derived from the words ‘nickel,’ the price of admission into the movie theater, and ‘θέατρο’ or ‘odeon,’ the Greek word for ‘theater.’ Previously, there had been several attempts by different individuals, groups, and companies to bring relaxing entertainment to people in the form of motion pictures in a film theater. Due to the limited technology available in those days, Nickelodeon’s first films were short films (only about 15 to 20 minutes long) shown as flickering shadows displayed on white sheets. While they may appear ridiculous today, they were a scientific breakthrough back then, and the films were largely successful. As they grew in popularity, more theaters multiplied across the country, heralding what became the cinematic industry.

Subsequently, color and sound films arrived in the 1920s. As the technologies improved, so did the size, architecture, clientele, location, ownership, and the types of amenities movie patrons enjoyed. Such were picture palaces, drive-in theaters, optimized movie formats, and large multiplexes and megaplexes (theaters with more than 10 screens). With these innovations came popcorn — a favorite cinema snack — and other concessions like candy and soft drinks. Today, cinemas have facilities like air conditioning, comfy cinema chairs, restaurants, arcades, and exquisitely decorated interiors to attract customers and enhance the viewing experience.

Movie Theatre Day timeline

1905
The Birth of Nickelodeon

Harry Davis and John Harris establish the Nickelodeon theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1925
Popcorn Arrives in Theaters

Movie theater owners introduce the electric popcorn machine to cinema patrons.

1937
Adding Colors to Films

Walt Disney produces the first animated full-length color film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

1950s
The Era of the C.G.I. and V.F.X.

Producers employ computer-generated imagery (C.G.I.) techniques and visual effects (V.F.X.) to create fantastical settings, impossible creatures, and jaw-dropping effects in movies.

Movie Theatre Day FAQs

What is World Theatre Day?

World Theatre Day is sponsored by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) each year. The day is celebrated by ITI Centers, ITI Cooperating Members, theater professionals, theater organizations, theater schools, and theater lovers across the world on March 27 every year.

What is the oldest movie theater?

The oldest continuously operating cinema theater is the Washington Iowa State Theatre in Washington, Iowa which opened on May 14, 1897, and has been in continuous operation for over 125 years!

What was the first movie in a theater?

As of 1905, the Nickelodeon theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the first to show short films like “Poor but Honest” and “The Baffled Burglar” all day long.

Movie Theatre Day Activities

  1. Visit a movie theater

    Celebrate this day by visiting a cinema closest to you to see a movie or two. This is a great way to support local movie theaters and keep them in business.

  2. Go on a movie date

    If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you could go out with a friend or romantic interest. Buy some snacks and drinks along for a better movie date experience!

  3. Involve your family

    Find out if your local cinema is showing a family movie. Go out with your family and have a fun night out at the cinema!

5 Interesting Facts About Movie Theaters

  1. Americans’ daily spending at the movies

    Americans spend about $26.6million a day at movie theaters and they spend even more before and after a movie.

  2. Half a dollar for a movie ticket

    A movie theater ticket cost 50 cents in 1956.

  3. No smelly feet in the theater, please

    It was once illegal to remove your shoes if you had smelly feet while in a theater in Winnetka, Illinois.

  4. A movie theater in the White House

    Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President who got permission to build a movie theater and swimming pool in the White House.

  5. The world's first drive-in movie theater

    The world’s first drive-in movie theater was built on June 6, 1933, near Camden, New Jersey.

Why We Love Movie Theatre Day

  1. Celebrating history

    The movie theater industry has come a long way, evolving and adjusting to meet the needs and demands of its customers. This day is an amazing opportunity to celebrate the cinema industry and its historic innovations.

  2. A day to relax

    Cinemas offer a relaxing and thrilling experience like no other. On this day, we can kick our feet up and enjoy a true cinema experience, guilt-free!

  3. Supporting local businesses

    Today, the cinema industry is under threat by streaming services. Movie Theatre Day offers a great opportunity to support the threatened industry and its dedicated employees.

Movie Theatre Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 23Sunday
2024April 23Tuesday
2025April 23Wednesday
2026April 23Thursday
2027April 23Friday

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