Summer is prime time for movie watching. The kids are out of school, the weather is hot and there are a lot of summer blockbusters to chose from. But seeing a movie these days isn’t cheap. The average movie ticket price hit an all-time high in 2018, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. It costs, on average, $9.11 to see the latest flick on the big screen.
That’s up from $7.18 in 2008 and $4.69 in 1998, which seems like an absolute bargain these days.
And the ticket, of course, doesn’t include the cost of popcorn, candy and a drink. Snacks can set you back another $10 or more per person, depending on what you order. One report says that move theaters make a whopping 85% profit on concession stand sales.
But you don’t have to pay top dollar to see a blockbuster. If you’re looking to save money at the movies, here are 8 ways to cut your costs.
Go to the matinee
Most theaters offer special matinee prices for afternoon movies. You can shave $1 or more per person off the ticket price when you head to the movies in the afternoon instead of the evening.
Look for discounts
Lots of theaters offer deals on specific days each week, often Tuesdays. AMC Theatres, for example, has Discount Tuesdays. Regal has Value Days. Cinemark also offers a Discount Day at its theaters. Marcus Theatres has its SuperSavers program.
Exact deals may vary depending on your location, but you can often snag $5 movie tickets and great discounts on concessions when you take advantage of these deals. Some theaters also offer discounts for seniors and students.
Skip the concessions stand
It might be easier said than done when you’re hungry or craving some buttery movie theater popcorn, but it’s worth it when you can save $10 or more on high-priced snacks. Instead, plan on eating a snack before the movie or treating yourself to something special and more affordable once the lights go up.
Join the rewards program
Many large movie theater chains offer rewards programs where you can earn points for free tickets and food each time you go. They include:
Ask for movie theater gift cards
If you or your kids love going to the movies, ask friends and family to give movie theater gift cards the next time a birthday or holiday rolls around. You may get to go to the movies for free, depending on how much you receive, and your home won’t get cluttered with gifts you might not really want.
Look for summer movie deals
As we shared in our post featuring cheap ways to entertain the kids this summer, lots of movie theaters offer ways to save money at the movies with free and cheap summer movie series for families via weekday morning screenings. You’ll typically pay about $1 for a movie ticket and can also take advantage of steep discounts on concessions too.
Check out free screenings
The movie theater isn’t the only place screening movies. Parks, museums and libraries often offer free or discounted movies, especially for families. Check out what’s offered near you.
Make it a home movie night
While seeing the latest blockbuster with a giant popcorn at the theater is fun, it can also get expensive. Plan at-home movie nights regularly where you can sprawl out on the couch with your kids, friends or extended family for a double feature and some homemade popcorn. You’ll get to see a couple of flicks, enjoy your loved ones and save a tremendous amount of money at the same time. And that sounds like a pretty good deal.
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