10 ways to save at the movies this summer

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Movie ticket prices continue to go up and up. In fact, the average ticket price right now is $8.70, up $.30 from just a year ago.

But that doesn’t have to keep you away from the theater completely. If you want to catch a flick this summer but don’t want to pay big bucks, here are 10 ways to save!

Read more: How to save money at America’s 8 favorite restaurants

10 ways to save at the movies this summer

1. See your movie at an earlier time

If you see the typical evening and late night blockbuster you’re going to pay more than if you see that same movie at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. Some theaters vary in matinee cutoff time, but most of them will give a cheaper price before 4:00 in the afternoon. You could even make a day of it and see the first showing of the day while you’re on break and then get lunch somewhere close by afterward.

Also, at Regal Movie Theaters there is a promotion going on called ‘Summer Movie Express.’ This allows you to see a flick every Tuesday and Wednesday morning for a dollar a ticket!

2. Get movie gift cards at a bargain

There are places like Gift Card Granny and even Costco that get you movie tickets at discounted prices. Gift Card Granny in particular gives you gift cards at a discounted price for not only movie theaters, but a ton of other places too. It’s a great site to check out for whatever else you may be thinking about buying like coffee or lunch before that movie. AMC gift cards are going for as much as 21% off.

There are plenty more you can check out at the warehouse’s movie ticket site as well. For example, right now at Costco.com you can purchase four $25 gift cards for $74.99.

3. Get a monthly unlimited pass

One site called MoviePass allows you to see an almost unlimited number of movies every month for a price. It’s a $30 membership fee — but may vary on your location — that you pay every month, but you don’t pay any extra for the tickets themselves. Once you sign up for the service you’ll receive a membership card in about a week and then you are good to go. Make sure there are participating theaters near you before signing up or else you won’t be able to use it anywhere. All you have to do after that is decide on the movie you want to see and show your membership card at the box office or kiosk to get your ticket.

4. Go to a late-run or dollar theater

There are tons of dollar theaters and late-run theaters that will get the popular movies months after they come out and are considerably cheaper. If you’re willing to wait to watch a movie then this is totally worth it. Find dollar theaters near you by searching here.

5. Look for group deals

Groupon and LivingSocial are good places to start if you want to go to the movies with a group of friends or even just your date. Just keep in mind that convenience charges may still apply, so the cheaper the tickets, the better.


Also, at participating Cinemark Theaters it’s $5 for ten movies when you purchase in advance.

6. Become a loyalty card carrier

AMC and Regal Cinemas have loyalty card programs and you can earn free snacks or even tickets after so many purchases made at the movie theater. If you’re a frequent movie-goer it’s definitely worth asking about and could help you save money every time you go to the concession stand or even if you’re there just to see the movie.  At Regal, it is half-off popcorn and candy on certain days and at AMC when you join it’s free popcorn and soda upgrades. Also, you save money on concessions by joining the theater rewards program.

7. Check the normal discounts

Most theaters give discounts for senior citizens and each one has a different cutoff age — some are even as low as 50 — so make sure to check that out when you go with your parents or grandparents. There are also usually discounts for students so if you have a school ID, that is certainly worth carrying around and showing at the movies. AAA members are also eligible for some discounts on tickets so check that as well if you are a member.

Additionally, there are websites that offer movie discounts. For example, by using DealFlicks.com, you could save up to 60% off movie tickets, with no convenience fees.

Read more: 10 discounts people age 50 and older should know about!

8. Find preview screenings for free

Gofobo is an excellent website to search for theaters near you giving out tickets to previews of movies and pre-screenings before movies are set to open in the near future. You can sign up for free on the site for alerts and sweepstakes happening in your area as well.

9. Cash in your credit card rewards

Many credit cards have a yearly reward program and some give percentage discounts on certain services like movie theaters. Each credit company is going to be different so looking through each credit card reward program you have is worth the time and effort to find some nice discounts.

10. Avoid the IMAX and 3-D showings

This is one of the easiest ways to get cheaper movie tickets and many times the quality of the movie is unchanged by seeing it in regular old 2-D. There are very few occasions where you need to see a movie that’s almost five dollars more expensive. Avatar was one of those movies, but there haven’t really been any since. If you really want to see a movie in 3-D though, waiting for the late-run showings or dollar theater showings is a good bet.