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Saving Money on Going to the Movies

Category Movies
A Couple Enjoying Popcorn and a Movie in the Theater
The cost of going to the movies seems to constantly rise. However, a night out at the movies is a lot of fun and something that most of us really enjoy. This is a guide about saving money on going to the movies.
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By 14 found this helpful
November 10, 2011

When seeing a movie at the theater, I usually end up buying a large popcorn for an additional 75 cents more to get a free refill, but I never really refill it. So, you not only paid big bucks for a movie, but you just lost an additional 75 cents. My solution, now right before leaving the theater, I get my free refill, take it home and keep it covered. Then I make snack bags for the kids to carry or I take one to work for snacking on.

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By mcastel from Orange, CA

Comment Was this helpful? 14
November 10, 20110 found this helpful

I love it, you paid for it, might as well get it and bring it home.

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November 10, 20110 found this helpful

I take a gallon size ziploc baggie with me and at the end of the movie, I pour the remaining popcorn into the baggie and get the container refilled. With the high prices they charge and the fact that I love the popcorn from the theater, I want to get my money's worth. I'm going to pickup some cheap shower caps at the dollar general to cover the container to protect from rain and wind.

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November 14, 20110 found this helpful

I haven't seen a movie in a theater for years, but I suspect I'd do the same thing - I might even be brave enough to use the baggie, too.

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March 30, 20104 found this helpful

Due to a recent a raise in the price of 3D movies you now are paying nearly $15 to see a movie in 3D in most areas. That's $5 more than seeing the non-3D version of the same movies. A family of four can save $20 by opting for the non-3D alternative.

Lewis from Port Orchard, WA

Comment Was this helpful? 4
March 30, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you for this tip: I didn't know there was an option!

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March 31, 20100 found this helpful

I live in a rural area of NC, 3D is usually not an option here anyway!

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March 31, 20100 found this helpful

Is it cheaper to see a 3D movies during the matinee in the afternoon? My family almost always goes to the matinee showings or we wait for our local drive-in to open so we can get two movies for the price of one. You can also bring food with you into a drive-in unlike a movie theater.

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Anonymous
March 31, 20100 found this helpful

Excellent tip, Lewis! We really don't need the treat of 3D to appreciate a movie ;-)

usspooh74, I am totally jealous that you have a nearby drive-in theater! I so miss them and the closest one for me is about 80 miles away :-( Even where I used to live growing up in Los Angeles the nearest one now would be about 40 miles (and an hour or more L.A. freeway driving time) away instead of only 4 miles :-(

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April 1, 20100 found this helpful

Our local theater will not do the 3D versions, you have to have the expensive capabilities with the projection and then pass that on to the customer. As it is, it cost me $5 as an adult, my grandchildren are $3. We go to every single movie that comes out that is 'ok' for the kids to see. Sometimes we go twice--grandpa takes them again. Even tho we are a small community, we still get alot of national releases on the same day metro theaters get it. Does not cost us any more. And the POPCORN SPECIAL IS the largest bag of popcorn (gal size) and 2 pop or water (16 oz) is only $5.50. Add another water for the 3rd person, it is a bargain. Sometimes we buy the DVD when it comes out only after seeing it at the theater.

The theater also has daily trivia giveaway tickets on the local radio station and you can win every 50 days. So for people who feel they can't afford it, can go that way. Drive 30 miles down the road to the next larger sized town and you pay the $10 per ticket as well as the $6 for popcorn and $3 for pop.

The owner makes deals with several surrounding schools when there is a big hit movie to hold matinees to do affordable field trips earned. Might be popcorn and ticket for $5.

By the way, our family often volunteers to run the theater a night here and there, get to see it for free then! If it is a busy opening night I will go up 45 min before the first movie starts and volunteer help with concessions. Pay? Popcorn and pop. This theatre is well known for the delicious popcorn it serves. Anything to help keep theaters running and in the community and still affordable.

If you need the 3D, buy the DVD, take it home and then get yourself a new 3D TV.

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April 5, 20100 found this helpful

We also have a drive-in, and it's great. They ALWAYS have at least a double feature, and often a triple feature for one price. You can bring your own snacks (we pack a cooler w/ our drinks, pop, our own popcorn and bring other snacks from home), we spread a blanket for the kids to sit on. The sound quality is great, because they put it through your car's audio system.

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April 8, 20100 found this helpful

Many movies are coming out in 3-D because it is so profitable, not necessarily because the movie itself is better in 3-D. So don't worry that you might be missing out if you don't see the more expensive version. Checking the reviews before forking over your cash is always a good idea.

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By 2 found this helpful
September 7, 2011

Call your theater or check online. There are two theaters in our town and one in a town about 40 miles away that all have a super deal on movies between 4:00 and 5:30. The tickets are only $5 for any movie playing during that time.

If you go on Tuesday, soda and popcorn are $1 each with free refills. This is much cheaper then a matinee. They even have the $5 movies on Saturday and Sundays. It pays to check into this.

By Mell from Traverse City, MI

Comment Was this helpful? 2
September 7, 20110 found this helpful

Seems to me that your savings will be spent on gas going the 40 miles each way.

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September 13, 20110 found this helpful

If your movie theater is a national chain, you can also find their website & sign up as a member. I'm registered with cinemark & we regularly get coupons for discounts on snacks such as 'get free small popcorn with purchase of a drink', which is the one out this month.

Used to belong to AMC, but they changed their membership & started charging for it!

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September 13, 20110 found this helpful

If your movie theater is a national chain, you can also find their website & sign up as a member. I'm registered with cinemark & we regularly get coupons for discounts on snacks such as 'get free small popcorn with purchase of a drink', which is the one out this month.

Used to belong to AMC, but they changed their membership & started charging for it!

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By 2 found this helpful
June 11, 2012

If your movie has a do-it-yourself butter dispenser, you probably hate all the butter soaking the top of the popcorn, while the rest remains dry. Poke one of the theater's straws into the bag, then hold it under the butter spigot. You'll have butter at the top AND the bottom.

By Ziggi from San Diego, CA

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By 2 found this helpful
May 4, 2011

Going to a movie can cost up to $20 for tickets for two and $15 to $25 for the popcorn and drinks. One good option is to buy the DVD for $15 or less and you can watch it over and over.

Comment Was this helpful? 2
May 5, 20110 found this helpful

This is a really good idea. We started buying movies when we had 4 kids at home - no way could we afford to take all of us to the movie theater! Now we only have 2 teenagers left at home, but all the kids have great memories of "Family Movie Night"! Our rule was that we all had to sit down & watch it together the 1st time,then they could watch it as many times after as they wanted. I missed not going to out sometimes, but I enjoyed spending time with my kids SO much more!

Funny thing, is some people would visit our home & ask us why we had so many movies - these were the same people spending a fortune to see most of the movies as they hit the theaters!

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May 10, 20110 found this helpful

Not only are you saving money, you're also saving aggravation. There's nothing worse than going to a long-anticipated movie in the theater, only to have someone twice your size sit down right in front of you. Then again, you also don't have the issue of strangers talking loudly right behind you, which can be even more aggravating. :P

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By 3 found this helpful
November 11, 2011

When I take my 3 grand babies to the movies, I line the cup holders with napkins and fill them with popcorn. They work like individual small bowls for the kids. We don't have to keep passing the bucket back and forth between us. The other patrons aren't being bothered by 3 little ones asking for more popcorn during the movie.

You'd be surprised how much popcorn one of those cup holders will hold. It's generally more than enough to last my little ones through the movie. The 3 year old thinks it's neat how she can still have her own bowl even at the movies. She's getting to where she even lines her cup holder with the napkin so she can have her popcorn.

By Tonya from Cushing, OK

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May 15, 2009

You can save money on new(er) movies by seeing them on pay-per-view on your cable. I saw a new one on the IFC pay-for-view that I just saw reviewed in the paper, as you can get it on cable at the same time as its independent release - and at $5.99 for hubby and me, that's a real saving!

By Pamphyila from L.A., CA

Comment Was this helpful? 1
May 15, 20090 found this helpful

We watch a lot of movies, so we swear by Netflix, because there's no late fees & we can rent all we want of $20 per month, but recently I've seen several $1 movie machines at my local drug store & grocery store. I asked several people that were standing in line waiting to use it & they said it's the BEST! I asked about late fees & they said it's also $1 per day, but that if you don't return the movie for 18 days you keep it! This is a much better deal than renting form Blockbuster or a grocery store!

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Anonymous
May 16, 20090 found this helpful

Have been doing this for as long as I can remember and the bonus is that you can record while watching to DVD or VHS to keep for your personal movie library ;-)

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May 27, 20090 found this helpful

DirecTV's PPV option is the best, I think. They just added 1080p capabilities for all their new "DirecTV Cinema" offerings, and as the owner of a brand new 1080p TV, I'm thankful for this.

I am curious to see what the new 'branding' of their PPV system as "DirecTV Cinema" means to consumers, but I'm hopeful because DTV has always done me good in the past. For instance, in the latest ad for DTV Cinema, they not only offered up a bunch of good movies for a better price than my friend's cable in-demand, but the ad also featured one of my favorite songs, "Electromagnetic Superstar" by Jet Stream. It's little touches like this and attention to detail that make DTV a better option. There's a video clip of this ad at : http://displace  m/2009/05/27/jet

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By 2 found this helpful
September 8, 2011

Obviously, going to a matinee will save money, but those rarely work with our schedule. We happen to have an AAA membership. They sell discount movie tickets for nearly every theater in our area.

Comment Was this helpful? 2
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By 0 found this helpful
June 19, 2008

I bought this large purse at a garage sale that works perfect for storing your snacks and drinks in. We never go to the new release shows, because they soon will be out at Dollar Theaters. My kids and I go to the Dollar Tree and I let them pick out 1 snack.

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April 25, 20050 found this helpful

Being young and wanting to go out to the movies with your friends is really expensive. But one advantage that I have and a lot of other teens out there have, is that my dad is still active duty military.

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January 25, 2005

Research the movie you want to see first. Asked other people who have seen it . Don't depend on the gotcha film clips on TV. That may be the only part worth seeing.

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January 25, 20050 found this helpful

If you have a Costco membership, use it to buy discounted movie tickets. They are a great deal if you are planning to see a full priced movie.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 12, 20050 found this helpful

Money saving tips for going to the movies. Post your ideas.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 25, 20050 found this helpful

Right now, Nabisco/Niclelodean fruit snacks are running a special. If you send them 3 proofs of purchase they will send up to 3 free child's movie passes for many theaters. I have sent for several for us and my daughter and my son as they both have children. The passes are good for up to 6.00.

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January 25, 20050 found this helpful

Research the movie you want to see first. Asked other people who have seen it .

Don't depend on the gotcha film clips on TV.

That may be the only part worth seeing.

In my area we have one old theater that runs recent films and still only charges 3 dollars after the film has left the other movie houses.

Another thing most movies come to video in less then 6 months. Even forking out 20 bucks.It is alot cheaper then paying movie prices and you own it and make your own popcorn.

Last if you really must see this flick.

Go before the price changes. Share your drink and popcorn.And take a pack of chewing gum along. You will save mucho dollars.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 25, 20050 found this helpful

I always take my own snacks to the movies. Sometimes I even pop a bag of popcorn just before I go and take it with me. I just take a large purse/tote bag and am not conspicuos about it, and take out my treats when it gets dark. We have no $1 movies but I always go to the early bird special (before 5).

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January 26, 20050 found this helpful

Where I live they still have a couple of old movie theaters and a drive-in. The old theatres are not as technically advanced- with rocking chairs and awesome surround sound like the new ones- but the admission is a lot lower and it is not as crowded. The drive in is the best! They charge less, you can bring in your own food and you don't have to worry about your hair & makeup!

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March 11, 20050 found this helpful

Go to movies during matinee hours to save on admission prices, or wait a few weeks until you can rent a video to save even more.

By cynthia conley

Editor's Note: In our area, the matinee prices continue to get closer to the normal prices. I think there is only a dollor difference between regular and matinee prices right now. Still worth the savings but not like it used to be.

The cheapest way to see a movie in a theatre is to find a discount theatre. They usually play movies that are about a month past their prime and charge between 1 and 4 dollars.

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March 11, 20050 found this helpful

We take our own snacks too -- paying $3 for a candybar is outrageous. But I always feel guilty about doing it. Why? I haven't taken my own popcorn yet.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 11, 20050 found this helpful

Our movie offers 2 admissions for the price of one all day Tuesday for seniors. Worth asking about any senior discounts. I also stop at the Dollar store on the way for a few goodies.

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March 14, 20050 found this helpful

Don't purchase food at the theatre, eat before you go.

By joni514

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 14, 20050 found this helpful

I try to see movies at matinees and "cheap" theatres. A good part of the cost of movies seems to be food. I`m not THAT old but I do remember when food was eaten at home, restaurants or friends/relatives homes. These days it`s sometimes almost impossible to hear what`s happening on the screen with rattling of popcorn containers, candy wrappers and the "slurping" of drinks. Let`s not use the theatre as a restaurant. It will save money on movies and everyone will be able to hear and enjoy the movie they paid to see. Thanks

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 18, 20050 found this helpful

Recently, my sister and I went to a movie and mid way through the screen went kind of askew. Well, my sister brought it to a managers attention after the film and he apologized for the inconvience and gave us 2 free tickets to any show.. Sometimes it pays to speak up....!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 26, 20050 found this helpful

At the Harkins Theater chain in Arizona, you can go to the movies for free on your birthday. You have to show ID and you cannot see a new release. Also AMC Theaters have a movie watcher program where you show your card and accumulate points each time you go to the movies. Each time you use your card you get a coupon, sometimes they are for cents off refreshments, but as you accumulate more points you get coupons for free refreshments and free movies.

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 13, 20050 found this helpful

No more free movie on your birthday At Harkins in AZ...I went last night with that in mind and was summarily told that "We don't do that anymore". Very disappointing.

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20050 found this helpful

Being young and wanting to go out to the movies with your friends is really expensive. But one advantage that I have and alot of other teens out there have, is that my dad is still active duty military. I get 10% discounts at acouple of the threatres! Also I like to save money at the movies by buying kids meals. I never seem to finish the adult meals during the movie anyways.

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May 11, 20050 found this helpful

2 movies companies in our area have a special summer movie camp with movies as cheap as $1.00

http://www.cinemark.com

http://www.amctheatres.com

Also, a great cheap movie theatre in Kansas City http://www.trailridgecinema.com

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May 12, 20050 found this helpful

Check out local radio, tv and newspaper websites for sneak previews of new movies. Win tickets and save money and see movies before everyone else.

By Richard cup Gardner

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 18, 20080 found this helpful

Good morning!

It is so annoying when you pay to sit in a theater to watch a show and someone is behind you kicking or hitting your chair! I feel that when you pay to watch a show. you are renting the chair you are in and people should keep their big feet off of it. Really, how rude are some people anyway? I have actually turned around and quietly told them to not kick my chair and they still do!

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to handle this situation? I would appreciate it very much!

Thank you

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September 2, 20110 found this helpful

We generally don't make it a point to see movies at the theatres because there is always something more important (nececessities) that the money could be directed towards, but when we do go we first make a stop at the local dollar store for candy. We are inconspicuous about it and nobody is any the wiser. One time I saw two young men entering the theatre with a couple of foot long submarines tucked under their arms but they were stopped and told to relinquish their subs or go away.

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