Save money at the movies

A scream pierces the air and the crowd turns in shocked silence. A beautiful young girl paralyzed by fear, her eyes wide with disbelief stares at the theaters concession menu. Stifling the terror that grips her heart, she gasps out “The… the prices! No, no it can’t be! Nooooo!”, and collapses into the arms of a nearby stranger. <fade to black> and…SCENE!

And the Oscar for best dramatic performance at a theater concession stand goes to…? Movie goers everywhere!

Cinematic Savings

With spring releases looming before us, summer blockbusters just around the corner, and our wallets still in an economic choke hold - it’s easy to get a little dramatic about the growing expense of going to the movies.

Movie lovers don’t despair – we CAN get our movie-geek on and still keep a tight entertainment budget. I’ve put together a few simple money saving tips to help your movie-going remain budget friendly!

Save money on your movie tickets, cut out the middle man

If you can avoid the booking & reservation sites and services you can skip paying an extra $1 to $2 per ticket. The trendy convenience of sites like and may be cool and skipping them might be a small inconvenience, but it also means extra dough that’s not going down the drain – money you could be spending elsewhere.

It’s an age old game of balance, teetering cost and convenience on a scale. It’s a pretty small savings and may not seem worth the trouble. However, when you consider the aggregate savings of 1-3 movies a week through three months of summer you could be saving anywhere from $25-$75. For the thrifty spender that’s at least one more date you could go on for the same spend.

For really cheap movie tickets, buy in bulk

Some theaters, like AMC, offer bulk movie ticket orders at a substantial savings. With bulk orders, sold in increments of 50 tickets @ $6-$7.50 a ticket, the initial cost can be a bit steep, but in the long run you save a bundle - as much as $6 per ticket.

Add another level of savings to this tactic if you can find a few friends of family members to split the investment with.

With a little cooperation and planning you can cut your movie ticket costs almost in half!

With movie theaters, timing really is everything

Instead of rushing out to see a movie the week it debuts, try waiting a few weeks and picking up a matinee show. Check with your local theaters for show times as many theaters have significantly shortened their matinee hours.

Depending on your willpower, you can save even more. If you have the patience to wait a few months, the same movie that runs you $12.50 today will be in the $1 theaters in just a few short months.

Who knows, there may be a movie your buddies or your date missed when it was in the big cinema – they may even prefer to take in an older movie.

Avoid the theaters ‘gourmet’ snacks

Movie theater moguls count on the intoxicating aroma of delicious, buttery goodness to drift through the lobby and slip your wallet from your pocket. In fact, they bank on it. A major percentage of any theaters profits come from grossly overpriced confections.

MoneyCentral suggests “Trade up on your snacks” explaining that you pay less per ounce when you buy the larger sizes. “Per ounce, the smallest size of popcorn is twice the price of filet mignon,” says economist McKenzie.

In their defense the price of corn has skyrocketed in recent years, driving the cost to make pop-corn significantly higher.

On the other hand that doesn’t really explain the $5 for a $0.50 box of Junior Mints or Whoppers – and don’t even get me started on the flat soda that costs twice as much a gallon as the fuel that gets you to the theater.

Better yet, avoid the snack bar altogether for significant savings. Eat a couple of steaks at a nice restaurant prior to hitting the movie theater and you’ll still come out ahead. If neither you nor your fellow theater goers are shy about your frugality you can always bring in your own pocket snacks.

MMM-mmm love those body temperature gummy bears - so squishy.

Saving money at movie theaters is pretty simple

Surviving another recession dampened summer could mean a movie-less summer nightmare, but it doesn’t have to play out that way. You’re the cast, director and writer in this scenario. With a little planning and patience you can get a lot more “Bang” out of your entertainment budget buck this summer.

Put some of these tips into play and let us know what worked for you!

Saving Money on Entertainment posts

A series of posts with tips for saving money on entertainment.