8 Easy Ways to Get Cheap Movie Tickets

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Like college tuition, the price of a weekend movie continues to soar. Here are some savvy ways you can enjoy your cinematic getaway without breaking the bank.

Movie theaters are a great place to take a break from reality. But with the average price for a movie ticket at $9.16[1], not including popcorn and drinks, seeing a blockbuster can be pricey.

Since skimping out on friends due to budgetary issues is the last thing anyone wants to have to do, figuring out ways to score cheap movie tickets becomes the only option. 

Fortunately, reducing the overall cost of your cinematic adventure won’t come hard. There are many ways to score discounted movie tickets so you can save money without missing out on friends or your favorite films.

1. Check Groupon for discounts

groupon movie deals section
Groupon occasionally offers discounts that can reach up to 90% for a feature film. Source: Groupon.com

Check out sites like Groupon for deals on movie tickets in your area. Deals are not always consistent, but you can find great prices for local movie theaters for less than what they go for at the box office.

Groupon deals may have restrictions, so read the fine print before buying. Most deals are only valid for specific locations, days, or types of movies. Deals also expire, so don’t forget to redeem your tickets before the expiration date. Even with these rules, Groupon can be a gold mine for cheap movie tickets.

Related: 4 Ways to Get Free Netflix

2. Leverage discounted gift cards 

discount AMC gift cards on Raise
Get up to 30% off AMC or Cinemark gift cards on gift card marketplaces like Raise. Source: Raise.com

Pay less for your next movie ticket by buying discounted movie gift cards on sites like Raise.com. Raise is a website that sells gift cards to a variety of retailers at a discount, including movie theater chains like AMC and Cinemark.

On Raise, you can find gift cards for up to 30% off the value of the card. For example, if a gift card has $100 on it, with a 30% discount you could pay $70 for $100 credit to your favorite retailer.

Gift card discounts and availability changes daily, so you may need to check the website from time to time to snag the best deals.

3. Look for daily specials

AMC's Discount Tuesdays promotion
AMC offers a Tuesday special that allows filmgoers the chance tickets to premier showings for as little as $5. Source: Atom Tickets

Some movie theaters run specials for weekday showings since most people go to the movies on weekends. It’s a win-win for the theater and for moviegoers looking to score cheap tickets. The theater gets to fill up seats that would otherwise go empty and you get a good deal on a movie.

Check the websites for your local movie theaters to find out if they offer a weekday discount. The ones in my area offer discounts on Tuesdays when tickets are only $5 no matter what time you go.

If you can’t find any information online, call the movie theater and ask if it runs any specials.

4. Enjoy a matinee

two couples enjoying a matinee showing

Most movie theaters charge full price tickets during the high-traffic, evening hours, but shave off a few dollars for matinee showings.

Since fewer people go to the movies during those times, theaters offer cheap movie tickets to get more moviegoers through the door. Instead of going for dinner and a movie, try going for a movie and then dinner to save money.

Related: 11 Places to Watch Movies Online (for Free)

5. Take advantage of car load sales at your local drive-In

Besides the fun of watching a movie under the stars, drive-in theaters run specials and can be cheaper than a typical movie theater.

Check your local drive-in theater for special “car load” sales. For these, you pay a flat fee for the entire car load of people rather than the usual per-person charge. Some will specify that if the per person price is cheaper, you can pay the normal rate.

Let’s say you bring a family of four to the movies. The theater charges $7 for adults and $3 per kid, which will come out to $20 total. If they are running a car load sale for $12, you save $8 on admission.

6. Visit your local discount movie theaters

Many big cities and metro areas have discount movie theaters. They show movies that are a few months old for half or less of the cost of a regular ticket.

Discount theaters are usually older wont always have stadium seating or reclining chairs but they still have all the ambiance of their big-chain competitors. Do a quick Google search for any discount theaters in your area.

7. Look for kids summer movie camp deals

If you have kids, be sure to check out your local movie theaters for summer movie deals. Many local and national movie theater chains run specials on kids’ movies during the summer months.

Expect to pay between $1 and $5 per ticket. Some theaters even let you decide how much to pay, and some only offer discount shows during certain days or times.

One major chain that runs this kind of program is the AMC Summer Kids Movie Camp. Tickets are $4 plus tax and include a kid-sized popcorn, a fountain drink, and fruit snacks. Showings are every Wednesday morning, and there’s a different movie each week.

8. Earn cashback on your ticket purchases

You can further cheapen your movie tickets by leveraging cashback apps.

Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is one such online shopping portal that gives you cash back on your online purchases.

Once you have an account set up, search for Fandango in your Rakuten portal. Click on “shop now” to be redirected to Fandango’s site. This will activate your cashback deal with Rakuten.  You’ll receive an email from Rakuten after checkout notifying you of your cash back earnings.

Related: 14 Legit Ways to Make Money Watching Videos 

Veneta Lusk

Veneta Lusk is a freelance personal finance writer who loves empowering people to get smart about their finances and health so they can live their dreams. After becoming debt free, she and her husband created a flexible lifestyle so they can travel more, focus on fun projects, and spend time with their children. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she enjoys reading, baking, and planning the next big adventure.

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