There is no need to spend a fortune at movie theaters since there are a number of easy ways to get movie tickets at a discount (and sometime for free). The main thing you need to do is always read the fine print on these tickets. While most are good at any time, some may have wait restrictions for newly released movies. Here is a roundup of some helpful programs that will help you get free and discounted movie tickets.
Free and discounted movie tickets options
Matinees: Matinee showings are usually priced lower than evening movies. Some theaters also offer “matinee days” (usually a Tuesday) where all seats are matinee price all day.
Pre-Matinees: Some theaters open in the late morning, and their pre-matinee showings often cost even less than the matinee price.
Senior, Student, Teacher and Veteran Discounts: These age-related (and profession-related) tickets are generally much less than a full priced adult ticket if you qualify.
Theater Websites: Some theaters offer discount tickets directly from their website. For example, Marcus Theatres offer $5.50 per ticket 20 pack directly from their website, marcustheatres.com. Check the website of your favorite theater; chances are they’re willing to make you an offer.
Movie Club Cards and Membership Programs: Most theaters offer customer loyalty movie cards and membership programs that can earn you free tickets and other discounts. AMC’s Stubs offers several member perks, including $5 admission on Tuesdays and refreshment discounts. The Alamo Drafthouse’s Victory program enrolls you pretty much the first time you purchase tickets online; membership in this program gets you free movie tickets on your birthday month, advance access to special screenings, food/drink discounts, and other benefits.
MoviePass: A popular way to get free and discounted movie tickets is MoviePass. This highly popular program appears to be a godsend for regular moviegoers: for $9.95/month (less than the typical cost of a full-price ticket), this program allows you to attend one movie per day. Though restrictions apply (you have to get your tickets in person), this appears to be a subscription worth maintaining. The list of participating theaters includes both well-known movie chains and arthouse cinemas. Sign up at moviepass.com.
Bulk Purchase Discount: Many theater chains sell tickets in bulk to homeowners associations, local companies, non-profit organizations, churches and schools at large discounts. These theatres will have lists available of these organizations; ask for one. If you are a member of any of these groups, ask their directors when they will be purchasing.
Kids Summer Movie Programs: Many theaters run special summer programs for kids with heavily discounted or even free movie tickets. Here are some of them:
- AMC Summer MovieCamp offers free movies from late June to mid-August on Wednesdays starting at 10:00 AM.
- Bow Tie Cinema’s Summer Kid’s Series is an 8 week series with free admission every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:00 AM beginning late June.
- Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse presents 10 weeks of movies on weekday mornings. Tickets for all 10 movies can be purchased in advance for $5 or can be purchased individually at the box office for $1 each.
- Classic Cinemas offers $1 movies for 8 weeks from June 13 to August 8 (excluding July 4) on Wednesdays starting at 10:00 AM.
- Marcus Theaters Kids Rule Summer Series has offered $3.00 movies (including discounted refreshments) at 10:00 AM Wednesday and Thursday. Their similar Kids Dream Winter Film Series offers $3.00 movies every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10:00 AM.
- Regal Cinemas’ Regal Summer Movie Express presents family-friendly movies in special $1.00 screenings Tuesday and Wednesday mornings through the summer.
AAA Automotive: Check AAA online. From their site: “SAVE BIG on movie tickets from AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Megaplex and/or Harkins just by visiting your local AAA branch! Ticket types sold vary by branch; actual savings on average ticket price varies according to theater/state; some restrictions apply.”
Costco Warehouse: Costco offers a vast assortment of discount movie options, from eTicket 4-packs for AMC and Regal theater chains to a discount subscription vouchers for Moviepass and online cinema site Fandor. Costco’s movie ticket page has more details.
Sam’s Club: You can get discounted gift cards for a number of movie theater chains, including AMC, Regal, Harkins, and B&B, as well as other movie retailers such as Redbox and Movietickets.com.
Local Coupons: Check newspapers, yellow pages, tourist guides and local entertainment guides often offer coupons for local movie theaters.
Entertainment Book: Free and discounted movie tickets can also be obtained from your local entertainment book. These books often have coupons for Regal, AMC, Cinemark, National Amusements and Carmike theaters. If you go to a few movies, it will pay for the price of the book and you’ll have hundreds of other coupons you can use to save money.
Product Promotions: Products that have tie-ins with certain movies will often offer discounted or free movie tickets with enough purchases. If you were planning to attend the movie, you get free food plus the tickets. Fast food companies also often hold these promotions.