How to Get Cheap Movie Tickets: 8 Ways to Save at the Cinema
Going to the movies ain't like it used to be. Many of today's theaters boast surround sound, digital projects, stadium seating, and comfy recliners—and a lot of them aren't even showing newsreels anymore! But with the rise of modern enhancements have come the rise of movie ticket prices. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the average cost of a movie ticket has risen from $5.39 in 2000 to $8.65 in 2016. In New York or Los Angeles, a ticket could cost as much as $20. And that's before you have to shell out for a bag of popcorn.
But as Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park, "life finds a way." We translate that to mean you can still find cheap movie tickets near you if you look hard enough. With that in mind, we present eight different ways you can grab discount movie tickets:
1. Click the banner below for local movie deals on our site.
We think the best way to snag cheap movie tickets is by checking our local deals. While some deals are strictly for tickets, others offer a package deal that will often include popcorn, sodas, and more. Some great deals include:
- Chicago: $5 for one ticket at Studio Movie Grill, a luxury theater in Wheaton where waiters serve gourmet food right to your seat ($10.75 value).
- New York: $12 for two tickets to Cinema Village, a landmark 1963 theater that's the oldest continuously-operated theater in Greenwich Village ($24 value).
- Los Angeles: $16 for two tickets to an outdoor movie with Eat | See | Hear, which produces HD-quality cinema experiences at iconic LA locations ($32 value).
- Seattle: $20.50–$24.50 for two tickets, one popcorn, and two sodas with Far Away Entertainment, which operates nine theaters through the Seattle area. (up to $38.75 value)
- Atlanta: $18 for two tickets, two popcorns, and two sodas at Tiger Drive-In Theatre, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia ($32 value)
- Denver: $15 for two tickets to a double admission at Denver Mart Drive In, which uses a local FM radio station to play the show through your car ($20 value)
- Washington DC: $21 for two tickets to an indie sneak-preview movie with post-film discussion at Talk Cinema in Bethesda ($40 value)
To see movie ticket deals available in your city, click one of the tiles below:
3. Purchase a dinner-and-a-movie package.
Some websites, including ours, offer a dinner-and-a-movie package so you can enjoy the "ultimate date" at a budget price. For instance, with this Ultimate Date-Night deal, $39 can get you two movie tickets (redeemable at 22,000+ theaters across the USA) plus a $100 Restaurant.com eGift Card (redeemable at 62,000+ restaurants).
4. Go to the matinee.
If after those three ideas, you're still wondering how to get cheap movie tickets, then don't discount the old-fashioned way: see the flick before 4 p.m., when movie theaters are more likely to charge roughly 25%–35% less than it would for a post-dinner show.
5. Check for a senior discount.
The senior age varies from theater to theater—some start at 60, others 62, and if you're lucky you might have a theater where it starts at 55. The benefits also range, from getting a few bucks off to $5 matinees.
6. Check for a student discount.
Still studying and have your high-school or college ID on hand? Movie theaters might knock off a couple of dollars a ticket. And if you're not a student anymore but still have an ID? Well, we won't taddle on you...
7. Browse discount movie ticket apps like DealFlicks.
Some movie ticket deal apps are specially designed to offer exclusive discounts on films. DealFlicks works this way by working with local theaters to fill seats during slows times for business. You can increase your savings even more by grabbing our DealFlick deal.
8. Find a free screening.
Some studios offer advanced (usually free) screenings of upcoming movies, in an attempt to gauge audience reaction and create a buzz. Websites like GoFoBo or AdvancedScreenings.com keep tabs of these screenings and allow you to search for free showings in your town.
Heading to the Cinema? Read these articles to prep for the show:
Fandango and MovieTickets.com allow you to buy your movie tickets ahead of time, so you don't have to worry about showing up to the theater only to find the film is sold out. To save a few bucks on these advanced tickets, take a peek at our promo codes.