I like movies. Pete and I often sit and watch them. But going to them? Ugh, it can get so expensive. From the tickets to the concessions, it’s a costly night out. And then, if you spend all that money and the movie is bad, it feels like such a rip off. So I’m here to help. I put together a great list of 7 ways to save money at the movie theater.
That way, if you save some money but it’s a bad movie, it wasn’t expensive. And if you save on movie tickets and your whole night out, you can go again at another time!
7 Ways To Save Money At The Movie Theater
1. Go to a matinee
Movie tickets can be expensive, but they’re less expensive during the day. Most people work during the day, and you generally can’t slip out for a long lunch to see the latest blockbuster.
But if you’re able to get to an early showing on the weekend, you may be able to get matinee prices. Be sure to check with your local theater to figure out what times are matinee prices and what times are full price, then plan accordingly.
Sometimes, matinee prices are any showings before noon and sometimes it’s the first showing of the day. That varies per theater chain, so it’s definitely worth it to call ahead.
2. Look for concession deal days
If you have a Marcus Theatres around you, Tuesdays are the best day to go to the movies there. Not only are tickets only $5, which is a deal. But it’s even better for members of the Magical Movie Rewards program.
If you’re a member of the program, you can get a free popcorn with your ticket. Plus, you can get select candy for free with any beverage purchase.
If you like to snack while you’re watching a movie, look for similar deals at your local movie theaters.
The deal at our theater is available all day, so even if you have to pay full price for the movie, at least your movie snacks are discounted.
3. Join a loyalty program
The cable company my parents had in New York also owned a nearby movie theater. Each Tuesday, cable subscribers could get two free movie tickets to any showing of any movie. My friend and I went nearly every week. It was such a great way to see movies without actually having to pay any extra to do so.
This is different than a movie theater’s loyalty program, like the AMC Stubs loyalty program. Members get free popcorn refills, earn points for purchases (which can be used towards tickets and concessions), save on tickets, and more.
Joining these types of programs is free although they will often have a paid program where you earn perks faster. Even if you’re only going to the movies on an irregular basis, it’s worth it to sign up and start acquiring perks.
4. Buy your tickets at the theater
Shopping online is so easy. You can do it from your home, in your pajamas. You don’t have to wait on lines or interact with people.
But there’s also a convenience fee that comes along with it, even when you’re buying movie tickets. That fee can add up if you’re taking your family to the movies because you’ll be charged an online ticket fee per ticket.
So put on pants and actually head to the theater to get your tickets and you’ll save that fee amount.
5. Subscribe to emails
Join email lists for your movie theater chains in your area.
Every few months, I get an email from Gofobo comes with an opportunity to attend a free screening.
Pete and I have gone every time because it’s basically a free date night. We’ve seen King Arthur, Criminal, and more this way. My mom and I saw In The Heights for free on Mother’s Day because of this. These are always advanced screenings that are offered before the movie itself hits the theater. So that in itself is just fun.
My parents on are AARP’s mailing list and often get free movie tickets too. They’ve seen Rocket Man and a few others. Those ones are often movies that are already out in the theater. I’m not sure how they choose the movies, but the free movies from AARP are always geared towards seniors.
6. Check out summer movie programs
Many theaters have summer movie programs with a free movie or very discounted movies on select days. Regal Theater’s Summer Movie Express is its program where you can see family movies for $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday.
For a family, this is a great option. The movie changes each week, so you can spend one summer day every week watching a movie … for about what you’d pay to rent the movie on Amazon.
7. Look for credit card perks
In the past, a Visa Signature card came with a great perk for Fandango. Visa Signature cardholders were able to get BOGO tickets on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
This offer isn’t available anymore, unfortunately, but the program did last for a few years after starting in 2009.
Keep an eye out for emails from your credit card. It might offer a similar perk.
Movies At Home
Even with all these options to save money, going to the movies might still be out of your budget. Don’t feel bad. Just get creative and check out one of our old posts: How To Have An At Home Movie Night.
You’ll get tips on movie snacks, how to create tickets, setting up your home to really feel like a theater and more. Honestly, we do this a lot (just without all the fanfare). Sometimes, it’s not about the theater. It’s about spending a couple hours off of the phone, watching a movie on a screen (even if that screen is your television screen).
We would love to hear your tips to help save on going to the movies too. Be sure to leave them for us in the comments!