I’ve come across even more ways to save money on movie tickets, so I’m combining an older post (which you can see here) to share a total of 12 ways to save on movie tickets. I also included a list of sites that offer free movie screenings below.
Second-run movie theaters – I’m lucky to have a theater nearby that plays movies only a few weeks old. It makes me feel like I’m not missing out on a movie when everyone is talking about it. And you can’t beat the price – a fraction of mainstream theaters.
Work/school discounts – Many universities give students discounts on movie tickets. So do many companies (typical of bigger ones). All you have to do is buy the movie ticket vouchers at the school’s ticket office or your company’s HR department. Make sure to check ahead of time if there are any restrictions. Some tickets are not valid for the first two weeks of a new release.
Facebook coupons – A while back I wrote about compromising ethics to save money and one of the examples I included was sneaking snacks into the movies to avoid ridiculous concession prices. You can now score freebie popcorn or drink coupons by “liking” theaters on Facebook. AMC is one movie chain that regularly releases movie coupons on Facebook.
Daily deal sites – If you can get a Fandango movie ticket discount on a daily deal site, go for it. Just be aware that Fandango has a service fee. AMC movie tickets is another one I’ve seen discounted on daily deal sites.
AAA discounts – Reader Robin suggested getting movie theater deals through AAA if you’re a member. While browsing their site I discovered they have discounts to theme parks and more.
Senior, military, or student? – Many theaters offer discounted prices to students, seniors, and military personnel so make sure to ask at the box office about a discount. Most of the time, discounts for seniors, military, and students are not advertised. Be sure to bring ID.
Head to Costco. Not only can you buy a year’s worth of toilet paper but you can get cheaper movie tickets. I bought two tickets for $15.49 for the Regal Cinemas chain that I will use to watch “Inception.” The cashier told me the warehouse also sells AMC tickets for a couple cents more.
Buy in bulk. If you’re loyal to a theater, take advantage of their rewards program. AMC Theaters’ Stubs program is $12 a year but includes free concession upgrades, $10 in rewards for every $100 spent, and a waiver for online ticket fees. The Regal Cinemas’ Regal Crown Club awards one point per $1 spent. When you rack up 120 points, you can redeem them for a free ticket. Other theaters send special offers to members.
Entertainment Book. Another friend, Kristin, said she buys Entertainment Books when they are discounted (the books are currently going for $25-$40 for 2012). Movie tickets cost $5 to $6 with the Entertainment Book.
Go to a matinee. The easiest way to save money and avoid the crowds is to head to the movie theater in the morning and not during peak days like Friday and Saturday. Make sure to check the times your local movie theater considers matinees as it varies from theater to theater. You’d be surprised how late some matinees start!
Think independent. I’m not suggesting you go by yourself. Find local independent theaters and frequent them for their low prices. The theater I went to is small and only has three screens but it was clean and had an old Hollywood vibe to it.
Movie screenings – Catching a movie before it’s release date is possible if you’re willing to do some work. All you have to do is score an invite. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds! I first learned about movie screenings while I was walking around my university campus. There’s usually a couple of guys and gals hanging around campuses asking students if they want to screen a movie, but you don’t have to go track these people down. Below are some sites to consider if you want to screen a movie.
- Film Metro – It’s free to sign up with this site. Once you do, you’ll start receiving invitations to screenings.
- GoFobo – To access free screenings on this site, you’ll have to register. Most screenings are private and a RSVP code is needed. When there are extra seat available, invites are sent to those who are registered. These are sent shot notice.
- Confirm4Movies – This site requires you to register on the USA Audiences websites. Once in their database, you’ll get invitations to screenings. For most these screenings you’ll have to arrive one hour prior to the movie starting and you’ll be asked to answer a few questions afterwards.
- MyCinemaAccess – Registration is free for this site. All you have to do is wait to learn when screenings are available and RSVP. They are adamant about not overbooking a screening, so they ask that if you RSVP you show up.
- Cinemit – This site only offers screenings in Boston, Washington, New York and Philadelphia. To get an RSVP to a screening you’ll have to register with them. It’s free. Screenings will be posted on the site and member are required to answer a question to be considered. It’s based on a first come, first serve bases and there is no right or wrong answer.