Save Money at the Movies

buy movie tickets for less
"Regal movie theater in Nashville" by Bresslau is licensed under CC

Looking for ways to save money when you go to the movies? Here are a few money-saving ways to buy movie tickets and refreshments for less that may surprise you.

Join a Loyalty Program

Movie theater loyalty programs reward frequent moviegoers with discounted tickets, free upgrades on popcorn and fountain drinks plus you earn points towards additional money-saving deals.

Every theater chains loyalty program benefits vary. Be sure to check your local theater’s program. Some programs are free to belong while other programs may have a small monthly fee which is generally reimbursed in the form of a movie ticket.

Save with a Movie Theater Subscription

Think Netflix for movie tickets. One monthly membership fee gives you plenty of movie perks.

For example, with AMC Stubs A-List, you pay around $20 a month. For this price, you can see up to 3 movies every week including IMAX® and Dolby Cinema showings. If movie tickets are $10 apiece then three movies a week, 4 weeks in a month, that’s $120 worth of movies for only a $20 monthly membership.

There are no blackout dates. You could have a triple feature in one day, or watch movies throughout the week. If you really, really like a movie, watch it again and again. Your benefits reset every Friday, so you can check out the latest movies every week. Plus, it’s easy to make free reservations anytime using their phone app.

Birthday Deals

It only happens once a year so why not take advantage of your birthday. When you sign up for a movie club and give your personal information, like your birth date, some theaters will send you special birthday money-saving deals like free popcorn.

Check out Costco and Sams Club

Costco and Sams Club sell gift cards for movie tickets for a discounted price. For example, a pack of four $25 gift cards (a $100 value) for AMC or has been reported to cost just $74.99. A savings of $25 which is the equivalent of 4 matinee tickets.

Buy Gift Cards Get Grocery Store Points

If your local grocery has a loyalty program that rewards you for each purchase made you may be able to buy movie theater gift cards for points.

Kroger, for example, sells movie theater gift cards. Depending on their current gift card promotion you can earn 1x, 2x, even 4x the points for each dollar spent. Buy a $25 gift card earn up to 100 points. Every 100 points save you 10 cents off each gallon of gas. More points you have the more you save.

Redeem a Coupon

Coupon websites and apps, like Groupon and Living Social, offer money-saving deals for movie theaters where you buy a movie ticket voucher for up to 50% off the full ticket price. Then present the voucher at the theater to receive your movie ticket.

For example, buy a voucher for two movie tickets that normally cost $26 at the theater from Groupon for $14 save $12 or 46%.

Dinner and a Movie to Save

You may be able to get a lower price when you bundle your movie ticket with a restaurant meal deal at On the website look under ‘Specials’ then search for ‘Movies’ to find gift card deals. For only $29.99, enjoy two AMC Theatres tickets and $25 Card is an incredible deal for a night saving you $26.

Use a Cashback Credit Card

To save even more buy your movie tickets, gift cards, or Groupon using a cashback credit card. Provided you pay off your credit card each month and don’t accrue interest charges you get a little cashback that adds up over time.

Buy at the Box Office

Buying tickets online is convenient but at a cost. You get charged a fee for buying online from $1 to $2. Don’t want to pay added fees buy at your tickets at the theater. Want to buy tickets in advance join a theaters loyalty program for no fee reservations.

Skip the 3D and IMAX

If you want to go see a 3D or IMAX movie you can expect to pay a premium ticket price. Skip these two screens and save up to $5 per ticket.

Go Early to a Matinee

If you don’t want to wait until a certain day of the week to save money at the movies go to an early matinee. Ticket prices often cost way less in the morning and early afternoon than evening showings. On weekdays there tends to be more matinee times than on weekends. But all matinee ticket prices are generally up to half off.

Discount Day at the Movies

Several movie theater chains offer cheaper ticket prices on certain days of the week – like Tuesdays. Ask at the box office if the theater has a discount ticket day. Or, go online and find the theaters near you, then look for their discount days.

Senior and Military Discounts

If you are a Senior or Vet bring your ID to the ticket window and ask if you are eligible for a discount price on the movie tickets. Discounts may only be available on certain days, for specific showtimes.

Find a Discount Theater

Instead of seeing movies when they first come out, catch them after they’ve left the big chain theaters for a discount theater with a reduced ticket price. The trade-off of skipping movies at a first-run theater to save some cash is you’ll have to wait quite a few weeks to see the movie.

Summer Movies for Kids

During the summer, theaters may have a kid’s movie club. For example, Cinemark offers a “ten-week program of recently released G and PG films for kids. The cost is $5 for 10 movies or $1 per movie. And while the movies are geared to kids, the price is the same for moviegoers of all ages.

Bring Your Own Snacks

You could pay $5 for a box of candy at the theater or you could go to your neighborhood Dollar Tree to buy candy, cookies, pretzels and a drink for $1 each. Be aware many theaters discourage bringing in food and drink from outside the theater. If you feel guilty, sneak in the food and buy a drink from the theater. You’ll still be saving $5 on snacks.