Box Office Boom: Plano-Based Cinemark Has Highest Single-Day Attendance Since Christmas 2019, With Help From Mario

In all, Cinemark Holdings' theaters sold more than 1 million tickets on Saturday, the company said—a post-pandemic record.

Just weeks after the founder of Plano-based Cinemark Holdings was succeeded on its board by his son after 40 years at the company, Cinemark had an historic weekend that may put its pandemic woes in the rearview mirror. And a guy named Mario had a big, white-gloved hand in the achievement. 

According to the movie theater company, Saturday marked the highest single day of attendance for the company since Christmas Day of 2019—which occurred just before COVID-19 led to long-term closures of movie theaters worldwide. 

In all, Cinemark Holdings’ theaters sold more than 1 million tickets on Saturday, the company said.

Saturday’s theater seat-filling was motivated by Illumination Animation and Universal Pictures’ “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” along with a strong opening from Amazon Studio’s “Air” and muscular carry-over from “John Wick: Chapter 4,” “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” and “Scream VI.”

‘Sensational openings’ demonstrate sustained consumer enthusiasm 

“The sensational openings of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Air, coupled with outstanding ongoing results from a wide range of films across varied genres this long weekend, further demonstrates the sustained strength of consumer enthusiasm for an immersive, larger-than-life, theatrical experience,” Sean Gamble, Cinemark’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We commend our many studio partners for producing such a diverse array of compelling content that captivated a wide range of audiences and enabled Cinemark to achieve this weekend’s significant attendance milestone,” Gamble added. “2023 moviegoing is off to an exceptional start, and we are thrilled for consumers to experience a growing volume of highly anticipated films over the coming months.”

Follows earlier 2023 hit films like “M3gan”—with big new titles set to open soon

The first quarter of 2023 already showed signs that audience were taking another look at movie theaters, and paying their way inside. 

Viral success with the horror film “M3gan” and remaining punch from the “Rocky” franchise installment “Creed III” helped set up Saturday’s 1-million-plus ticket-selling mark, Cinemark said.

And some big titles slated for the next few months could put even more moviegoers in theater seats, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One,” “Fast X,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Elemental,” “The Flash,” “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie” and more.

“The industry box office is well-positioned for continued recovery,” Cinemark said in its statement.

517 theaters with nearly 6,000 screens in 42 states

One of the biggest players in the business, Cinemark’s venue lineup encompasses various brands that also include Century, Tinseltown, and Rave. The company operates 517 theaters with 5,835 screens in 42 states domestically and 15 countries throughout South and Central America. 

The company’s innovations include offering Movie Club, the first U.S. exhibitor-launched subscription program; the highest “Luxury Lounger recliner seat penetration” among the major players; XD, “the No. 1 exhibitor-brand premium large format”; and expansive food and beverage options.

The company also offers “D-BOX immersive cinematic motion seats” in select theaters that “provide feedback to the whole body and spark the imagination through motion,” along with ScreenX 270-degree technology to pull viewers deeper into the action.

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