I love movies. What I don’t love is paying for movies.
From the ticket itself to the popcorn to seeing movies in 3-D, costs can add up quickly (especially when you bring along kids).
Here are 16 tips to save big at the cinema:
1. Buy your movie tickets through Facebook and pay no convenience fees.
You might not have known you could check out showtimes and buy movie tickets on Facebook — but now you do!
Not only are they partnering with Fandango and Atom Tickets, but they’re waiving those sites’ convenience fees ($1.50-$2) during checkout!
And you still get credit towards the Fandango and Atom loyalty programs. Score!
2. Get Regal, Carmike and AMC gift cards for cheaper from Gift Card Granny and Raise to save up to 29%.
It’s important to know who owns your theaters. For example, Regal owns Edwards and United Artists Theaters while AMC owns Carmike and Loews.
With this knowledge, you can buy discount gift cards from Gift Card Granny and Raise and use them at sister theaters.
For example, get a $30.00 Carmike Cinemas gift card for just $21.30 (29% off!) and use it at any AMC Cinema.
3. Easily save 50% at many theaters by seeing movies on Tuesdays.
Plenty of theater chains — including AMC, Regal and Cinemark — try to entice people to see movies midweek by offering $5 or $5.50 movies on Tuesdays.
AMC requires you to be part of their free loyalty program to get the cheap tickets, but other chains don’t. Check with yours and skip the weekend rush to easily save 50% on movie tickets!
4. Attend free advance screenings with Gofobo.
Movie studios love to generate buzz before movies officially release, and the way they do that is by offering advance screenings.
Gofobo is a great place to find out about these screenings and get passes. Obviously screenings aren’t in every city, but hey, it’s worth looking into it!
5. Get a free ticket with Atom Rewards after you see 4 movies.
Atom Rewards is a fast-rising Fandango competitor, and they’ll give you a free movie after you’ve bought for 4 different showtimes (not 4 total tickets) using their app or website.
There’s also a referral program where if you recommend a movie and three of your friends buy tickets to see it, you get to see it for free.
6. Join Fandango VIP for free movie screenings and other goodies.
Fandango’s free loyalty program offers a bunch of perks, but every time you see 4 movies, you get a $6 credit — which can be used for movie tickets, digital rentals or other purchases.
In addition, VIPs get invitations to free movie screenings and exclusive events.
TIP: Fandango VIP works with theaters’ rewards programs. So make sure to sign up for those to keep getting reward points. And make sure you check out with Facebook.
7. Go to Fandango’s special offers page to find deals on movie tickets, themed apparel and more.
I’ve seen them offer $5 in Fandango credit for purchasing two Suja juice products, as well as a free Grinch T-shirt for pre-ordering tickets to that movie.
These deals rotate, so check back often.
8. Consider MoviePass only if you’re not too picky about what you see and where you see it.
Look, the days of seeing one movie a day — whatever movie you want — for just $10 a month are over.
MoviePass has made a LOT of changes to how its service works (and not for the better) — but if you’re OK with them telling you when and where you can see movies, it may still be a good cheap option.
Now they allow 3 movies per month, and at the $9.95 price point, it’s still cheaper than three $5 Tuesdays.
9. Watch a lot of movies? AMC’s A-List subscription could save you up to 88%!
The AMC Stubs A-List is spendier than MoviePass, but it offers up to three movies a week (even IMAX or 3-D movies!) with no blackout dates.
If you saw three IMAX movies a week for a month (4 weeks), it’d cost you $251.88. The A-List would save you 88%!
10. Or just join AMC’s free Insider program to earn rewards for watching movies.
The free AMC Stubs Insider program gives you 20 points for every $1 you spend, and after 5,000 points you get a $5 reward.
Members also enjoy a free large popcorn for your birthday and no ticketing fees when you buy at least 4 tickets online. Plus, members get access to those $5 Ticket Tuesdays.
11. Buy gift cards at Costco to save up to 25%.
While Costco sells packs of 10 movie tickets to Regal and AMC for $89.99, the best deal is paying $74.99 for four $25 gift cards to either Atom Tickets or MovieTickets.com — 25% savings.
Those gift cards are good for tickets and concessions, and can be used on those discount movie days!
12. Join Regal Crown Club and earn points to be used on movies, concessions and more.
At Regal, Crown Club members earn 100 points for every $1 spent, which adds up to free movies and concessions.
Earn an extra 250 points per visit by going to a Regal cinema more than 6 times in a year.
13. Look out for product partnerships to get free movie vouchers.
Target recently offered a free $7 Atom Tickets movie voucher when you bought select movies on DVD and Blu-ray.
I’ve also seen Fandango credit offered by General Mills cereals, Yoplait and Ziploc. Keep an eye out for movie promotions in the grocery aisle. And last year’s Monopoly promotion at McDonald’s offered plenty of unclaimed Fandango credits.
14. Check local events calendars for free community movies.
Community organizations are known for hosting public movie screenings — be it at a park, in a pool (they’re called “dive-in movies”) or at a local facility.
These are usually free — the only catch is that the movies they show are usually already out on video. So if you can wait that long, more power to ya.
15. If you’re patient, second-run movie theaters can offer big savings.
Sure, it’s hard to avoid social media when everyone’s talking about the plot of the latest Avengers. But if you can handle the wait, second-run movie theaters offer much-cheaper ticket prices — I’m talking $1-$5, depending on your area.
For a family of 5, you’d be saving more than $40 on average per cinema trip by waiting a month or so to see that new movie.
16. Get a job at a movie theater for free flicks.
Employees at AMC, Regal and most corporate theater chains get to see free movies! That’s a benefit very few employers offer!