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Grab a movie ticket, snacks and a seat. As the lights dim in the theater, take a look around. Spoiler alert: The person sitting next to you might have paid less to see the same movie.
Wondering how to save money? Here are six ways to get cheap movie tickets.
Things to do before you go
1. Join a loyalty program
Movie theater loyalty programs reward frequent patrons with discounts. For example, for $15 plus tax a year, AMC Stubs Premiere members enjoy benefits like discounted tickets on Tuesdays and free upgrades on popcorn and fountain drinks. You’ll also earn points that can be redeemed for monetary rewards. (Get a $5 reward for every 5,000 points. Rewards can be redeemed on things like food and tickets.)
Many theater chains offer rewards programs. Check with your local theater to see the cost of a membership, then do some quick calculations to figure out how many movies you would have to see each year to make up the cost of joining.
When you sign up for a movie membership, fill in personal information, like your birthday, and some theaters will send you celebratory deals to use during your birthday month. You could get a free tub of popcorn, for example.
2. Check out Costco
Did you know Costco sells movie tickets and gift cards for movie tickets? And like most other things at the warehouse club, they’re a good deal. For example, we found a Cinemark gift card worth $50 for $39.99. So while you’re stocking up on chicken and eggs, check for movie tickets, too.
Tactics to try at the box office
3. Go on the right day
You could save money simply by seeing a movie on a certain day of the week. Go online and find the theaters near you, then browse any available discount days. We’ve seen several theaters that offer cheaper prices on Tuesdays, for example.
4. Cash in on discounts
Bring your ID to the ticket window and you could be eligible for a discount because many theaters offer special pricing to some patrons. Discounts typically apply only on select days, for specific showtimes or at certain theaters, so plan your visit accordingly.
At Cinemark, for example, discounts include military, student, senior and family. Go to Cinemark's discount page to see if there is a theater near you that participates.
5. Redeem a coupon
Just like you can find coupons for retail stores, you can also use coupon websites and apps to find deals for movie theaters. Just search for “movies” or by theater name. Deals are usually for a percentage off or a free concession with purchase.
6. Take kids to summer movies
During the summer, some theaters host special movie programs for kids.
For example, Cinemark has offered its Summer Movie Clubhouse on certain days from June to August. The cost is $1.50 per movie. And while the movies are tailored to kids, the price is the same for guests of all ages. Timing of the series is determined by local theaters.
Now ... shhh, the movie’s starting!