Going to the movies is expensive AF. Follow these tips to save a bit next time you hit up the cinema.
1. Buy your tickets directly from the theater’s website instead of Fandango
Via Fandango and AmcTheaters.com
Sure, Fandango is super convenient. You can store your billing information and buy tickets from any number of theater chains?—?but that convenience comes with a $2 per ticket fee, as opposed to the $1.50 that AmcTheaters.com charges for the exact same ticket.
2. Or better yet, buy your tickets in person
If you have time to swing by your local theater, then you can avoid the convenience fee altogether!
3. Check sites like Dealflicks.com
I’ve recently become obsessed with Dealflicks, a site that works with movie theaters to “fill empty seats” resulting in savings of up to 60% off. I’ve only ever scored 25% off, but yeah, depending on how many participating theaters there are in your area, the savings can totally add up. Also, if you regularly see multiple movies per month. you can sign up for a monthly pass from MoviePass.com. They work with larger chain theaters and have packages starting at $14.99, which give you access to two movies per month.
4. Stay on top of free screenings
A lot of studios will offer free screenings to help get the whole word of mouth thing started. There’s no real regularity to these screenings, so you’ve got to stay on top of it by checking sites like GoFobo and AdvancedScreenings.com. You can also check with the studios directly?—?Warner Bros. and Universal both have online tools to help you find screenings.
5. Purchase gift cards from warehouse clubs like Costco
Discount clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club sell movie tickets and/or theater gift cards, and the deals are actually pretty legit! Just make sure to check the terms and conditions because some have limitations on the types of movies you can use the tickets on.
6. You can also save with gift card swap sites
7. Bring an empty bottle and fill it at the water fountain
It’s almost always against the rules to bring outside food and beverages into a theater. However, most theaters have water fountains, so if you don’t want to break the rules but don’t want to pay for hydration, then bring your own empty water bottle. You can then fill it up at the water fountain for free!
8. Speaking of snacks, don’t ever buy more than one bag of popcorn
Instead, get a large popcorn to split. You can ask for a drink carrier and use it to share the popcorn, or bring your own paper bag, etc. Whatever you do, don’t ever buy more than one bag of popcorn?—?it’s a total rip-off!
9. Watch out for fake IMAX screens that still come with the IMAX price tag
Long story short, there’s a big difference between legitimate IMAX screens and those that are technically “IMAX-Digital.” These screens, which many refer to as LIEMAX screens, weren’t build to full IMAX specifications. They were once just standard screens that were converted to enhance the theatrical experience to near-IMAX levels. Unfortunately, they still carry the additional fee of seeing an “IMAX” movie. Be aware of these markups, because if you’re going to pay the IMAX markup, you might as well enjoy the full IMAX experience.
10. Sign up for the loyalty reward programs
Via Regal and AMC
AMC and Regal are the two largest theater chains. They both have rewards programs that can help you save on tickets and concessions. Definitely worth signing up if you visit a theater from either chain with any regularity.
11. Keep an eye on your local theater’s calendar for themed discount days
One of my local theaters offers $2 off on Tuesdays and although it’s a weekday, I can’t resist the savings! In general, many cinemas have discount family days or other special events. Check out your preferred theater’s website and make sure to take note of the opportunities to save.
12. If you see a lot of movies?—?or eat out frequently?—?invest in an Entertainment coupon book
My mom swore by Entertainment coupon books when I was growing up, and you know what? She was a smart woman. In addition to coupons for discount movie tickets, they also have deals with all kinds of local restaurants, large and small retailers, hotels, and more. Dinner and a movie? Yes, please.