Summer is definitely the season for going to the movies! And the whole world is turning pink for the megahit Barbie. However, frugal film fans know that it’s really all about the green, when going to the movies — saving money at the box office! With so many entertainment options nowadays, going to an actual movie theater can be an expensive adventure.
That’s why many don’t want to pay full price at the box office, even for those must-see summer blockbusters!
And, with a little planning and flexibility, there are lots of ways to go to the movies on the cheap.
Note: While some movie theaters offer a senior, student or military discount, the savings are usually very minimal. In many cases, you will save more money by taking advantage of other box office discounts.
Discount Matinée Showings
Going to the movies during the day is always less expensive than at night. Depending on the theater chain, there is a discount for showtimes before 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. The discount typically ranges from $2 to $5.
Even better, the crowds are much smaller during the day. Many showtimes during the summer start at around 10 a.m.
One of the best matinée discounts is at AMC Theatres — enjoy 30% off the price of evening tickets for screenings before 4 p.m. The deal is available at select locations.
The best option for blockbuster savings at the box office is to go to the movies on Tuesday! Just about every theater chain offers special pricing for all screenings every Tuesday. You can usually save 50% or more off regular ticket prices.
It’s important to note that Tuesday discounts usually require membership in each respective movie theater’s loyalty program.
In addition, discounts will vary by location and there is an upcharge for premium formats, including 3-D, IMAX and more.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offers BFD Tuesdays special with tickets for $7.
AMC Theatres offers Discount Tuesdays with tickets starting at $6.50. Plus, enjoy a special combo (popcorn and drink) for just $5.
Cinemark offers Discount Tuesdays with tickets for $5.50. Cinemark Movies Rewards members save even more on Tuesdays with tickets for $4.75.
Landmark Theatres offers Bargain Tuesdays every week with tickets for just $7.
Regal Cinemas offers Regal Crown Club Value Days every Tuesday with tickets ranging from $5 to $5.95. Even better for the budget, get 50% off any size popcorn at the concessions stand on Tuesdays.
Discounted Tickets & Gift Cards
If you have a warehouse membership, including Costco and Sam’s Club, look for discounted tickets and/or gift cards — in-store and online.
A discounted gift card is the better option because you can double-dip — use the discounted gift card on buying discounted tickets!
You may also be able to find discounted tickets through membership organizations. For example, AAA offers up to 30% off on movie tickets. (FYI — AARP ended its discount program with Regal Cinemas on October 31, 2022.)
And, occasionally, you can find discounted gift cards through other retailers, like grocery and drug stores.
Movie Subscription Programs
Pay a monthly fee for unlimited movies. The program usually pays for itself in just a few visits.
However, be sure to review all of the fine print before joining, as there are limits, restrictions and, in some cases, a minimum membership commitment.