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
Harry Davis and John Harris establish the Nickelodeon theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Movie theater owners introduce the electric popcorn machine to cinema patrons.
Walt Disney produces the first animated full-length color film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
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
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.
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!
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
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.
Half a dollar for a movie ticket
A movie theater ticket cost 50 cents in 1956.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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