7 Ways to Save on a Trip to the Movies

Love going to the movies? Give your budget a break with these 7 ways to save on movie tickets.

How to Save Money at the Movies

by NEA Member Benefits

Key takeaways

  • Ticket prices are often lower at off-peak showings.
  • Check your membership rewards for more movie savings.
  • Join loyalty programs for extra perks.

Everyone loves a trip to the movies. Unfortunately, however, the average price of a movie ticket has reached a new high in the second quarter of 2018—$9.38 per ticket, with even higher costs for 3D and IMAX—leaving many of us to wonder if we should just wait for the DVD. The good news is that it is still possible to enjoy a trip to the theater without breaking the bank. Here are seven money-saving tips that will have you beating the movie-ticket burn.

1. Go during “off times”

Save more by heading to the movies on weekdays, when early bird and matinee―and occasionally late-night―ticket prices are often discounted. You could save around $3 or more per adult ticket for early bird and matinee showings. Weekday evening shows can be good times to save because business is usually slower then. Smaller and independently-owned theaters in your area may charge less on a Tuesday night, for example, when business isn’t booming.

2. Take advantage of family-movie specials

Both independent theaters and large theater chains often offer deeply discounted (as low as $1 or less), showings of second-run G- or PG-rated movies. Some cinemas schedule screenings on early weekday mornings, while others hold once-per-week family nights. Check your local theater’s schedule for specific details.

3. Explore your affiliations

Most of us have car insurance, belong to an automobile or diner’s club or have other business relationships that provide benefits and rewards. Check their terms―you may be entitled to discounts you didn't know you had. As an NEA member, you can find deals and earn cash-back rewards on tickets through NEA Discount Marketplace!

4. Join a free loyalty program

AMC’s Stubs program gives $5 rewards for every 5,000 points and get $2 off on Tuesdays. Regal’s Crown Club awards 100 credits per $1 spent on tickets and concession transactions. Cinemark Connections awards 10 points on each ticket or concession transaction (up to 25 points in one day) you can use to save on tickets, concession items, rewards merchandise such as T-shirts, exclusive digital downloads, movie experience upgrades and more.

5. Join a wholesale club

Costco, for example, offers discounts on tickets from Cinemark, AMC, Regal and more.

6. Buy tickets in bulk

Visit BulkTix.com to buy four or more movie ticket passes that you can use at major movie theaters. Each voucher or pass is a credit for a full adult evening admission movie ticket. They're also valid at 3D and IMAX movies, but BulkTix advises that your local theater might add a surcharge for such special engagements. Or, you could buy tickets in bulk by teaming up with a group of friends, club members, coworkers or other groups to buy a larger quantity of tickets directly from the major theater chains.

7. Use your credit-card perks

Check to see if you’ve earned any points from your credit card purchases that you can use toward buying movie tickets.

More effortless ways to save

  • While buying online and collecting tickets at self-serve kiosks can help avoid long lines and sold out shows, ticket websites can charge a service fee for each ticket. If you drive by the theater while running errands or on your way to/from work, consider buying tickets in advance when lines are short. Many theaters will sell tickets to upcoming shows in advance.
  • Skip the 3D razzmatazz. Tickets can set you back as much as $20+ apiece!
  • Pick a theater with free parking or one that will validate your parking in a nearby garage.
  • Bring your ID. If you a member of the military, a student (alumni associations give deals, too!) or a senior citizen, you’ll usually get a discount at the box-office. Be sure to ask―and make sure to have your ID in case you need to verify you qualify for the discount.
  • Look for ticket deals on popular coupon and discount sites such as RetailMeNot and Groupon. Shop for discount priced movie ticket gift cards on sites such as Fandango and Gift Card Granny. Check rebate and rewards app such as Ebates, Ibotta and others for movie ticket and concession deals.

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