How to Save at the Movie Theater

Through loyalty clubs and discount days, you can see movies for less.


A trip to the movies can be a frugal summer treat.

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Let’s go to the movies! Whether it's date night, family night or a girls’ night out, watching a box office hit can certainly make for an enjoyable evening. The only thing that isn’t so great is the price. Once you’ve bought the tickets and purchased your popcorn tub and drink, you’ve spent a hefty chunk of change.

There are ways to maneuver your trip to the movie theater that can save you money, though. Try some of these:

Use your connections.

You've probably heard the expression, "It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know." That's doubly true at the movies, where you can save a lot of money if you're part of a few choice organizations. Most theaters offer discounts and perks to students, AAA members, senior citizens, military and many other groups. If you're part of a similar organization, check its website or the theater’s website. There’s no use in leaving free money lying around.

Pick a frugal day.

Every theater has discount days. Some do it every week. Some do it once a month. Check out different local theaters online, and find the cheapest time to go.

Some theaters have family day and senior day discounts. These are usually week days, but you can get as much as 50 percent off. There are also summer programs for kids, and you’ll be surprised at how cheap tickets can get. Cinemark is having a Summer Movie Clubhouse where you can buy 10 movies for $5 or one movie for $1. That’s an awesome option when it comes to cheap entertainment for the kiddos.

Be loyal.

Sign up for a loyalty program. Most theaters have a loyalty club that will save you big bucks at the box office. All it takes is a few clicks online to be part of a movie club that'll offer you discounted tickets, promotional updates and exclusive coupons.

Go mobile to add to your loyalty savings. If your favorite theater has an app, download it. There's no harm in having one more app on your smartphone, especially if it saves you money. The AMCamazing app is a great example. The app alerts you to special offers at AMC theaters, but it saves the best offers for members of the theater's loyalty program (AMC Stubs). Plus, there are tons of other useful features on the app, including a restroom break feature. The app will tell you when to go to the bathroom to avoid missing crucial scenes in your movie. That’s a huge plus for everyone, especially families.

Be a friend.

Follow, like and friend your theater on social media. It pays to be friends with a company - literally. You’ll be the first to know about discounts and promotions, and many theaters will give you coupons and discounts just for adding them to your social network.

While you’re at it, sign up for your theater’s email club. Email clubs are one of the easiest ways to save money at any company, and movie theaters are no exception. Cinemark, for example, will send you a weekly coupon for the concession stand, along with other updates and promotions. It really is that simple. What’s one more email in your inbox?

See your movie at an off-time.

Many theaters have early bird specials that offer discounted ticket prices. Some theaters offer it for the first show, while others offer it up to a certain time. If you don’t mind seeing a movie in the middle of the day, early bird is the way to go. This is great for families. Take the little ones to a movie before it’s even close to bedtime. They’ll stay awake. You’ll save money. It’s a win, win.

If you can stand to see a movie a little after its release date, discount theaters are the perfect option for you. They allow you to spend as little as a dollar per ticket to see movies after they’ve been released. This is a major saver if you aren’t one of those people who needs to see a movie as soon as it comes out. (Yes, I’m talking to you Hunger Gamers.)

P.S. You might not want to use this option for a first date. Trust me on this one.

Get out of the summer heat and get into a movie!