Entertainment

4 Clever Tips for Saving Money at the Movie Theater

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Want to take in the hottest blockbuster, but dread the ever-climbing cost of movie tickets that are up more than 20 percent in the past 10 years? We got money pros to share their best cost-cutters that make it easy to save!  

Get instant discounts

Belong to a warehouse club? Great news! “You can find multi-packs of movie tickets for national chains (including AMC, Cinemark, and Regal) at BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club for up to 20 percent less than full price,” says Heidi Miller, founder of TheFrugalGirls.com. Another way to avoid paying full price for tickets is by visiting daily deal websites — places like Groupon and LivingSocial regularly offer discounted tickets for chain and independently owned movie theaters.

Score big with freebies

Surprising as it sounds, not only is it possible to get a free movie ticket—you can get it for a new film before anyone else sees it! Gautam Anand, founder of TheCinemaholic, explains, “Early movie screenings are typically arranged for the press; however, there usually aren’t enough people to fill up the theater, so the vacant seats go to regular folks.” To get alerted when free screenings are available in your area and learn how to get a complimentary ticket, visit AdvanceScreenings and tap the “Get Notifications” link at the top.

Snap up super deals

Even though admission is getting pricier, there’s still stiff competition among theaters for your business. The good news for you? Many now offer deals and coupons that can be found right on their own websites and apps, says Miller. “Offers can include reduced-price tickets for certain times or days, discounted concessions and rewards programs that give you the opportunity to earn credits toward future purchases.” 

Tip: “Depending on the theater, deals may vary between the website and app,” notes Miller. “So be sure to sign up for both.”

Join a club for savings

Visit a certain movie chain again and again? “It might offer a membership club that saves you on tickets, food, and fees,” says Anand. For example, the AMC Stubs A-List membership starts at $19.95 a month and gets you up to three movies per week and 10 percent back on concessions. The Cinemark Movie Club costs $8.99 monthly for one movie per month and 20 percent off concessions. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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