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You can watch live Olympics coverage at a movie theater this summer. Here’s what a ticket gets you.

You can watch live Olympics coverage at a movie theater this summer. Here’s what a ticket gets you.

Get ready to watch athletes representing Team USA at the 2024 Summer Olympics like you’ve never seen them before — on the big screen.

For the first time in Olympics history, the 2024 Paris Summer Games will be screened in movie theaters across the country. More than 150 IMAX theaters are live broadcasting the opening ceremony on July 26. And beginning on July 27, 160 AMC Theatres nationwide will be screening selected live daytime coverage from NBC each day through the end of the Games on Aug. 11.

“Sports fans like to cheer together, and during the last [Summer] Olympics, we noticed the watch parties across the United States that NBC showcased during their coverage,” Ryan Noonan, vice president of corporate communications at AMC Theatres, told Yahoo Entertainment. “Whether it was a hometown crowd coming together to cheer on their local Olympic athlete or youth sports clubs gathering to root for their favorite competitors, there was clearly interest in these gatherings and group watch parties.”

The growing popularity of virtual watch parties inspired the partnership of NBC and AMC Theaters to bring the Olympic games to the big screen, he said.

“This is a whole new ball game,” Jason Squire, host of The Movie Business Podcast and professor emeritus at USC School of Cinematic Arts, told Yahoo, explaining that bringing live sporting events to the big screen is a “win-win” for everyone.

The Olympics opening ceremony on July 26 will be broadcast live for the first time ever at select IMAX theaters nationwide, kicking off at 1:30 p.m. ET.

This year’s ceremony will be a four-mile-long trek on the Seine, with roughly 100 boats carrying thousands of athletes as they float by some of Paris’s most iconic landmarks. It will end in Trocadéro.

The theater locations have yet to be confirmed but will be made public before tickets go on sale June 26, an IMAX spokesperson told Yahoo. Fans looking to watch with friends also can rent out entire IMAX theaters, the prices of which are decided by the venue.

Showings of NBC’s Olympics coverage are expected to run around four hours each day per screening, Noonan said.

One ticket will grant you access for a block of time on the day of purchase. According to Fandango, shows will start at different times between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET each day, depending on the schedule of events, and will include coverage of sports including basketball, swimming, volleyball and track and field.

Olympic fans who want a more private big-screen viewing experience can buy out the theater through AMC’s group sales portal for large group screenings .

MAP: See if a movie theater near you is showing the Olympics

People are interested in the theatergoing experience for more than just movies. According to a 2024 Fandango study, ticket buyers who were surveyed said comedy tours, concert films, TV premieres and finales, and sporting events were among the top events they’d want to see in a theater.

Movie theaters are also continuing to find innovative ways to sell seats this summer, which is typically the “most profitable time of year” for the movie business, according to Squire.

“The film industry is distressed,” he explained. “Showing the Olympics on the big screen is a test to see how many seats theaters can fill without the draw of big celebrities or big-budget movies.”

Following the theatrical release of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, which earned over $261 million in global box office sales, Squire said fans are hungry for new ways to enjoy live events, such as sports and concerts, without the burden of surging ticket prices.

“It’s like being in an arena,” he said of watching sporting events in a movie theater. “You have the camaraderie infused with a classic movie theater experience of togetherness and all the appeal that has.”

Recent IMAX screenings of the Disney+ documentary The Beach Boys, as well as the upcoming screenings of the NBA Finals in Hong Kong and Taiwan are signs that a new frontier is being forged around fan experiences and live events, he explained.

“It’s an extension of fan culture and brand culture,” said Squire, who’s anticipating NBC and the Olympics to deliver high-budget marketing campaigns ahead of the screenings that are comparable to those of Hollywood films.

Should fans pack the theaters, he added, it could potentially be a game-changer for AMC Theaters, which has struggled with box office sales following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which saw theaters close temporarily, and dual Hollywood strikes in 2023, which delayed film production and theater distribution. The summer box office has yet to shape up in the way that Hollywood expected.

“It’s never been done before,” he said of the Olympics screenings. “But history shows that if you build it, they will come.”

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