The Cinema Foundation, the nonprofit extension of the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), is hoping that moviegoers will take advantage of $3 movie tickets on a weekend generally reserved for outdoor activities. Labor Day is seen as the unofficial end of summer. With fall around the corner, many tend to use the weekend for one final vacation getaway before the season changes. However, with $3 tickets for all movies, all day, every format, you may want to rethink your weekend plans.

Over 3,000 movie theaters are taking part in the nationwide promotion. To find out if a theater in your area is participating go to https://www.nationalcinemaday.org/ and scroll down to the bottom where you can search by city or zip code. 32 theaters in the Fort Worth area were listed when I performed a quick search, that list expands to over 50 when searching under Dallas. There is a good chance that your favourite cinema is taking part in the celebration.

Movie studios and theaters are also rolling out special screenings this weekend to celebrate National Cinema Day including an all-new 3D conversion of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic “Jaws” starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. According to Jeremy Carroll, a stereographer who worked on the conversion alongside Spielberg, for the first time the audience will feel like they are in the water with the shark, Yikes!

When you think about it, a few scenes in “Jaws” look like they were filmed for 3D, including the opening credit sequence which gives the audience the shark’s POV, the scene where the shark surprises Chief Brody as he chums the water, and the fear-inducing Ben Gardner’s boat scene with oceanographer Matt Hooper attempting to salvage a tooth from the vessel’s hull. That scene is frightening in 2D, I can only imagine what another dimension is going to do to my anxiety.

For me, “Jaws” is my rollercoaster. The best part is the ride lasts 124 minutes. When I was 11 years old, I called the local theater and asked them if I could get in without a parent. The film was rated “PG” but came with a disclaimer, “May be too intense for younger children” which caused me to panic. What a relief when the voice on the phone confirmed I was good to go. That summer I skipped Astroworld and spent most of it at the movies watching “Jaws.” By the time school started I had seen Spielberg’s thriller 32 times and I was on a first-name basis with the theater’s manager who eventually stopped charging me.

Some cinemas are offering specials today to go along with $3 tickets. AMC theaters have a fountain drink and popcorn combo for only $5, Cinépolis is offering a classic burger and bottomless soda combo for $15, and Angelika Film Center & Café is offering $3 popcorn (all sizes), $3 sodas, and $3 ICEEs to go along with the discounted ticket price. Be sure to check your favorite theater for extra specials.

There’s nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen and with $3 tickets, specials on concessions, and “Jaws” in 3D, you can count me unreachable until Sunday. See you at the movies.

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Joe Friar head and shoulders

Joe Friar

Member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA), the Houston Film Critics Society, and a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.