$3 movies are great. But films are free at these airports

Saturday, September 3 has been declared National Cinema Day. And movie theaters around the country are celebrating by selling $3 tickets for all movies, all formats, all day.

Moviegoers will need to pay taxes and any ticketing service fee extras. But they won’t pay any upcharges for movies screened in IMAX, RPX, 4DX, or other special formats.

3,000 theaters with more than 30,000 screens will be participating in National Cinema Day on September 3, including many of the major chains.

If you haven’t been in a ‘real’ movie theater since, say, before the pandemic, this is a chance to see the latest blockbuster films on the large screen for cheap. Many theaters are also promising exclusive previews and special in-theater promotions.

$3 is a great movie price. Free is better.

$3 is a great price for a movie, but if you’re traveling this weekend, the Stuck at The Airport film reviewer reminds you that films are free, anytime, at a handful of airports in the United States.

Portland International Airport (PDX)

Portland’s non-profit Hollywood Theatre hosts a free 22-seat microcinema, the aptly-named Hollywood Theatre at PDX, at Portland International Airport on Concourse C. The theater showcases about an hour’s worth of films by Oregon filmmakers. And the run-down changes quarterly.

The Summer 2022 offerings include this short film about the world’s only Contact Lens Museum, located in Forest Grove, OR.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has a free video art gallery located pre-security on the departures level of the International Terminal. Four new films are presented each month. And each film is 20 minutes or less in duration.

August 2022 was emerging filmmakers month and the videos are by filmmakers from the School of Cinema at San Francisco State. You can watch excerpts of those films here.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

The see18 Film Screening room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport shows free film shorts around the clock. The current content is drawn from Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) and TED.

The screening room is also used for art exhibitions, live performances, and special event programming.

What other airports have free movies?

Singapore’s Changi Airport shows free full-length films in movie theaters located in Terminals 2 and 3.

Let us know of other airports offering free movies.

Video Arts Screening Gallery Open at SFO

After a 20-month hiatus, the video arts screening room at SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is open.

The gallery screens short-form documentaries, experimental films, and all forms of animation. It is located pre-security on the departures level of the International Terminal. Hours: daily, 5:00am to 10:00pm.

With a nod to COVID-19, this month, the gallery is showing the work of four filmmakers from around the world whose work reflects how the pandemic impacts our lives and our interactions.

You can see the films next time you go to SFO. Or you can see them here.

In Sorry for the Inconvenience, by Jane Chow, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker from Hong Kong, a lonely teenager tries to help her parents keep their restaurant afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles Chinatown.

In Air, Canadian filmmaker David Findlay presents an exploration of the critical importance of physical contact in our interpersonal communication.

Turkish illustrator and animation director Tuna Bora collaborates with London-based animator Jonathan Djob Nkondo in this excerpt from Solipsism.

The film tells the story of a young girl who, amidst self-isolation, becomes lost inside the world that surrounds her.

And in Dancers in the Loop, French filmmaker Julie Rohart identifies inspiration found in the isolation of Paris’ lockdown in the winter of 2020.

Short films, courtesy the SFO Museum

While travelers are returning to airports, not all amenities are back up and running quite yet.

That includes SFO Museum’s Video Arts screening room at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

But that doesn’t mean you can watch some great short films. The SFO Museum is curating themed programming from its archives that anyone can watch online – in the airport or not.

For the month of July, the short films are all about the importance of family. The four films in the series are below,

SFO Museum also has a great archive of its current and past exhibitions online, Flight Patterns – Airline Uniforms from the 1960s – 70s, Surf’s Up! Instrumental Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Early American Motorcycles.

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition Alisa Eagleston, Conservator

More chances to watch drive-in movies at airports

This summer several airports, including Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Southern California, turned their empty parking lots into drive-in movie theaters.

We’re pleased this temporary airport amenity sticking around into the fall. We see at least two airports will be hosting drive-in movie nights in advance of Halloween.

Nebraska’s Lincoln Airport (LNK) will show Disney’s ‘Hocus Pocus’ for free during a drive-in movie night on October 16. They’ll also be hosting a kid’s Halloween costume contest.

And on October 17, Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) will host a drive-in movie night in the airport Economy parking lot. ‘Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone’ will be shown.

Drive-in movies at Ontario Int’l Airport

Here’s an airport trend we’re thoroughly enjoying.

Ontario International Airport (ONT) in California is partnering with the City of Ontario and Street Food Cinema for a series of free drive-in movies.

The films are going to be shown on two 50-foot screens over four different nights on the northeast corner of the airport property.

And movie-goers will be able to tune into the film audio on their car radios.

The first movie on the schedule is “Ford v. Ferrari,” on June 19.

This is a perfect choice because many scenes in the film are shot at ONT.

The other movies to be shown at ONT Airport will be “The Sandlot” on July 3, “Princess Bride” on July 17, and “Napoleon Dynamite” on July 31.

Showtime for all four nights is 8:30 p.m.

The free movie series hopes to bring people together at a safe social distance (in their cars). The series will also support local food banks by encouraging movie-goers to bring donations of boxed food.

And it turns out the City of Ontario and Ontario International Airport (ONT) have a rich film tradition.

Movies such as “Argo,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “A League of Their Own” and “Up In The Air” are among the dozens of features shot in town over the years.

This is definitely a nomination for “Airport Amenity of the Week.”