Movie Price Madness: How To Save Money On A Trip To The Theater

Unless you’ve been living a hermit-like existence, you’ve likely stepped out to the movie theater at least once recently, and once there, perhaps the skyrocketing price of tickets and the exorbitant cost of snacks shocked you right back into staying home (or into suing theater chains). There are ways around shelling out $13 per ticket and emptying pockets on popcorn, however.

Bloggers and movie lovers Mike and Erica over at NotWorthAdmission.com are really into going to the theater — to the tune of around 100 times in a year. But with the nation’s average ticket price at just around $8, and IMAX and 3D more expensive than that, it’s easy to see why many people stay home.

Therefore, for those serious about saving, Mike sets forth a few ways to save some dough like the $1,000 he figures he and Erica saved in a year, but still enjoy the big screen experience.

Go to matinees: This one is a tried and true weapon of the frugal moviegoing set. Unless, of course, you live in New York City, where the idea of matinee prices just doesn’t exist unless you go to an AMC theater. There, a movie before noon is only $6. Other theaters might have weekday pricing, which you can check out in local listings.

Decide whether it’s worth the 3D and IMAX surcharges: Mike explains that just because a movie is in 3D, it might not have been converted well, or even filmed in 3D, or really, do you need to see a cat wearing boots poking people with a sword? Same with IMAX — was an IMAX camera used or is it just blown up? Research what others are saying about the films before paying a premium. Otherwise, just wait for it to come out on DVD, Blu-Ray or streaming.

Join theater loyalty programs: These are often free, and if one isn’t, it could be worth it if you go to the movies a lot. It may take a few trips to see any result from the membership, but scoring a free movie here and there or a complimentary popcorn isn’t a bad deal.

Buy passes in bulk: Here’s one we didn’t know about, and you might not either¬†– you can buy tickets in bulk straight from the theaters’ corporate sites. This is a move for the very serious cinephiles, as bulk means, around 50 at a time. Many chains discount these passes, some which let you into any movie, and others that work for movies that have been in the theater for more than a certain amount of weeks. The downside? You can’t order online or pick up at a kiosk, and will still have to pay IMAX and 3D surcharges.

For more tips and tricks on saving at the movies, check out Mike and Erica’s blog below.

10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies, or: Why Only Suckers Pay $13 [NotWorthAdmission.com]