Cheap Movie Tickets
How to Save Money at the Movies
Cinema chains do well during tough economic times because consumers cut back on extravagant splurges like all-inclusive vacations and look for affordable ways to "get away," such as cheap movie tickets, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. However, even that quick escape is becoming increasingly expensive. Time Moneyland reports that the average price for one ticket reached $7.93 last year and is expected to rise this year on the strength of popular and pricier 3-D films. So, how can you avoid paying nearly $10 for a single ticket, not to mention snacks, and still get in some screen time? Here are some ways to score cheap movie tickets and save money on concessions as well.
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Know when to go.It's no secret that a matinee time slot is cheaper than a Friday-night showing of the same movie. Movie theaters have traditionally offered discounted matinee prices and cheaper movie tickets for children, students, and senior citizens. Now theaters are also offering discounted days no matter your age. So the next time you want to see the newest box office hit, check and see if it's cheaper on a Tuesday than on a Friday.
Use daily deal sites.Avoid paying full price for movie tickets by keeping an eye on daily deal sites and apps for discounted tickets. Living Social, Groupon, and Google Offers have all offered movie tickets for less than face value at some point in the past year.
Buy cheap movie tickets in bulk.Many things are cheaper when you buy them in bulk, and that includes movie passes. MSN Money recommends looking for movie passes at Costco or Sam's Club if you're a member. You may be able to buy a year's worth of movies for the whole family at a discounted rate.
Check for theater discounts.In addition to having discount days, movie theaters may also offer memberships with special prices on concessions and rewards programs though which customers can earn free movie tickets or snacks. For example, the Regal Crown Club (Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, and Edwards Theatres) is free to join, and members can buy $2 candy on Mondays and $2 popcorn on Tuesdays. They also accumulate points toward free movie passes with each purchase.
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Avoid mainstream theaters.Instead of going to the biggest movie theater in town, hit up the drive-in or dollar theater. Drive-ins often charge a flat fee per car, meaning you can easily get four to six people to a movie for less than $25. In Ohio we saw prices as low as $10 to $12 per car. As for so-called dollar theaters, some truly are still dollar theaters. At Cinemark Carriage Place Movies 12 in Columbus, Ohio, the price for a single ticket is $1 to $2 depending on the day. The downside is that often the shows are limited to movies that have been running for a long time.
Steer clear of the snack bar.Regardless which theater you visit, it is well worth it to avoid the concession stand. Movie theaters post profit margins of 85% or higher on drinks and snacks, according to estimates cited by The Hollywood Reporter. An obvious solution is to buy that box of Sour Patch Kids at the grocery store instead of spending $5 at the theater, but many cinemas ban outside food and beverages (a policy that has prompted one Michigan man to sue his local movie theater). Bars in cinemas seem to be increasingly popular but should also be avoided. They're stocked with overpriced beverages designed to loosen the purse strings.
Finally, remember that box-office hits cost less on DVD than you would shell out on movie tickets -- even cheap movie tickets -- for the entire family. If you really want to cut spending, make movie outings a rare treat.