Punters across the U.K. can claim 200,000 free tickets to watch any film screening at 500 sites on the weekend of June 19 and 20, as part of the National Lottery Cinema Weekend.
The weekend is part of several celebrations in June, designed to acknowledge the vital contribution of the National Lottery towards funding the arts in the U.K.
The Lottery was set up in 1994. Some 55% of money spent by customers on lottery tickets go towards prize money and 23% towards “good causes.” These good causes include funding the arts across the country via institutions like the British Film Institute (BFI), the Arts Council, and sports and community organizations.
The Cinema Weekend will see 500 venues, including BFI Southbank and members of the National Lottery-funded BFI Film Audience Network, participate in the initiative.
Tim Platt, head of marketing at the BFI, said: “We are thrilled that so many cinemas across the U.K. are taking part in Cinema Weekend, welcoming back audiences after such a challenging year. There’s nothing quite like the shared experience of watching film on the big screen, which is an experience we’ve all missed so much. The generous support of National Lottery players has been so important for our industry, so what better way to say ‘thank you’ than a free trip to the cinema.”
The Lottery has helped contribute £42 billion ($58.5 billion), or £30 million a week, to 625,000 projects over the years.
Through the BFI, the National Lottery supports new and established filmmakers, film education and training, as well as enabling the U.K. public to see a wide range of films. The Lottery has funded the making of more than 600 British films, winning 15 Oscars, 108 BAFTAs and 29 awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Lottery is operated by Camelot. Adam Chataway, Camelot’s head of brand partnerships for the National Lottery, said: “National Lottery Cinema Weekend is a big ‘thank you’ to our players and a celebration of what they have made possible via BFI who invest over £50 million of National Lottery funding a year to develop and support original U.K. filmmakers and films.”
U.K. cinemas are due to reopen May 17.