For the past several years, I’ve worked every position imaginable at your typical high-priced, corporate-run megaplex. Fortunately, free movie tickets are part of the few dismal benefits of the job. And actually, considering the recent ticket price increase that occurred a few months ago, that’s not such a shoddy benefit to be had. Truly, I sometimes cringe when ringing up customers’ ticket prices. With the knowledge that ticket prices aren’t going down anytime soon, people are looking for alternative ways to save money at the box office. Here are some tips that will help you save money on movie tickets:
1. Go to a matinee show – On average, matinee performances will save you 2 bucks on movie tickets.
2. Children & Senior pricing – Make sure to specify if you are purchasing tickets for children or seniors. Usually, children under 3 will be free. Also, if applicable ask if the theater provides any military or student discounts.
3. Discount Days – Some theaters offer a lower admission price on certain days of the week. Be sure to check if any theaters in your area offer this discount – it could cut 3 bucks off your ticket price!
4. Free Film Festivals – Many theaters provide free family screenings during the summer months. From May through August, my theatre plays free kids movies 3 days a week at 10 am before regular theater hours. It’s definitely a great option for parents bringing kids to their first movie. You save a bundle – plus, if your kid acts up you can leave without feeling guilty about wasted money.
5. Rewards Card – Following the retail trend, many movie theaters offer customers a free rewards card. At my particular location, our card is completely free, takes under 30 seconds to fill out, and rapidly accumulates points towards free popcorn, free soda, and free movie tickets. Honestly, I can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t sign up. It’s free! You get free stuff! Do the math, and save money on your next trip to the movies.
6. VIP & Premiere Super Savers (For Regal Cinemas) – You can purchase these movie ticket vouchers at a discounted price from places like AAA, Credit Unions, Sam’s Club, or sometimes even your employer. These basically work as a movie pass, which you redeem for a ticket at the box office. Just be advised that IMAX or 3D features and often new releases will require an additional surcharge at the box office. I recommend calling the theater ahead of time to verify if a particular pass is valid. On unrestricted movies, you’ll save money on expensive tickets.
7. Entertainment Book Coupons – if you own the hefty Entertainment Book, put those coupons to work! Regal, Dipson, and AMC theaters have quite a few good coupons in there that will help you save money on movie tickets and concessions. Again, surcharges may be required at the box office, so check ahead to save yourself the headache.
8. Avoid Online Ticket Sales – While services like Fandango.com are often very useful (and completely crucial for consistently sold-out shows like Avatar), they are often unnecessary during slow times or weekdays. In fact, it actually takes up more of your time, and raises your total ticket price. Here’s the thing – Fandango typically charges an extra 1-2 dollars per movie ticket! Why pay that fee if you don’t need to? Save money by skipping online ticket sales. If you’re concerned about a movie selling out, call the box office and ask how ticket sales are going. I get phone calls like this ALL THE TIME, and it’s not a big deal. I can usually advise people if pre-purchasing movie tickets is a good idea or not.
9. Cheaper Theaters – Is there a theater in your area that plays older features at a discounted price? Waiting a few weeks to see a movie is a small price to pay if it saves you 6-8 bucks per movie ticket. Popcorn and soda prices tend to be cheaper, too. Also, if your city is lucky enough to have a drive-in theatre, you can double up on your features, AND bring in your own treats. Not only do you save money on your tickets, but you also get to enjoy the movie from the cozy comfort of your car.
10. Skip the 3D: In the last year, 3D technology has really come to the forefront of the movie-going experience. Most movie theatres have digital projectors with 3D capabilities. My particular theatre also operates a 5-story IMAX theatre, which regularly presents 3D features. If you’re interested in movies that are being shown in 3D, keep in mind that those ticket prices will be significantly higher than regular movie ticket prices (ticket prices are usually between 12 and 16 bucks!). My advice: save your money. I have seen TONS of 3D movies, and most of them are underwhelming in a major way. If you really want to see what all the fuss is about, save the 3D thing for something epic. Avatar was worth it, in my opinion. Alice in Wonderland? Not so much.
10. B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Candy) – Hey, I don’t want to encourage people to wholly disregard theatre policy by hauling in pre-made buckets of corn and sodas from gas station. BUT – as long as it’s in your purse or pocket and it doesn’t smell, believe me, no one is going to say anything. Just be smart about it and conceal it. You’ll save at least 75% on candy.
11. Buy larger sizes and share – If you must buy popcorn and drinks, be sure to purchase larges and ask for individual trays to divvy it up. You can ask for little cups, too. A lot of theatres will give you free refills on the larger sizes.
Follow my advice and you will save money, time, and aggravation; going to the movies has never been better.