Feel like going to the movies? If you want to save some money, try doing it this Thursday.
As part of Israeli Cinema Day, held in the country for the first time under the banner "Movie Time," movie tickets will be sold throughout the day for just NIS 10 (about $2.80) for a regular film and NIS 14 ($3.95) for a 3D film.
The campaign, aimed at encouraging viewers to visit movie theaters, includes all of the country's cinema chains – Cinema City, Yes Planet, Rav Hen, Lev, Globus and Globus Max, as well as most private cinemas.
Some of the movie theaters will open as early as 11 am, allowing cinema fans to watch two and even three films one after the other, without emptying out their pocket. The bad news is that popcorn, beverage and snack prices at the theaters will not be reduced in honor of the festive day.
"A cinema day in the same format has been held with great success for years in many countries around the world, and is now making aliyah to Israel for the first time," says Cinema Industry Association Director Danny Kafri. "The plan is to turn the initiative into an annual tradition.
Although the Internet is still threatening the film industry, allowing every person to download movies and watch them illegally, it turns out that Israelis still flock to movie theaters in masses.
The association reports a constant rise in the past five years in movie ticket sales. More than 13 million tickets a year were sold in Israel in 2011 and 2012. According to figures compiled for January through September 2013, the association estimates that ticket sales will reach 140 million by the end of the year – a rise of more than 50% from 2008.
What is the reason for these impressive figures? Kafri explains that "entertainment centers combining luxurious movie theaters have been opened in recent years at a total investment of hundreds of millions of shekels."
There are some 40 cinemas across Israel with 280 movie theaters. Another 10 cinema complexes are expected to open around the country in the coming years.
Israel's cinema city is undoubtedly Rishon Lezion, which has 47 movie theaters. It is followed by Haifa and the Krayot area with 39 theaters, Ramat Hasharon with 22 theaters, Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan with 19 theaters each, and Jerusalem with 12.
According to industry figures, young Israelis like the idea of combining a film with shopping and a meal at a restaurant or a visit to a pub. In a comprehensive survey conducted recently for the Cinema Industry Association, 36% of Israeli youth defined going to the movies as their favored recreational activity.
Fifteen percent of Israelis aged 18 to 24 prefer to go to a movie, while 16% of Israelis aged 35 to 46 mentioned cinema as their favorite entertainment activity.
The three-dimensional films introduced in Israeli cinemas in recent years have been attracting viewers too. Some 3.3 million (10%) of movie tickets sold in Israel in 2012 were for 3D films.