Topics: budget, entertainment
It’s looking to be a big big summer at the box office this year. Tons of highly-awaited movies are coming soon to a theater near you—movies like Old Guy With a Funny Hat, Old Woman Looking to Get Some, and Kids in a Crazy Magic World. With so many great films, and with ticket prices approaching the price of a semester of Harvard tuition, it won’t be easy to choose which ones will get your hard-earned entertainment dollars. Use this guide to help you maximize the bang you get for your movie buck this summer.
- Catch a matinée. Do you really need to see that movie at 9 o’clock at night? Here’s a tip: they show the same movie at 2 in the afternoon, and the ticket prices are usually a good deal cheaper. Some theaters have matinée showings that start as late as 4pm so you can catch a flick and still be able to spend your $100 for overpriced restaurant food.
- Check for discounts and special offers. You might be able to shave a buck or two off the regular ticket price by presenting your AAA or other association membership cards. Also look in the back of Entertainment Books (on sale for as little as $5 now) for coupons that’ll knock a few dollars off even full-price admissions. Be sure to read all of the fine print with any discount offer as some promotions can’t be used for new releases.
- Go for the dinner/movie package deal. Some restaurants close to movie theaters will offer discounted tickets with a meal purchase. If you were planning to dine out anyway, you might as well take advantage of these offers. Just make sure you’re not walking into a super-pricey restaurant.
- Don’t order tickets online. Yeah, it might seem like a smart idea to order your tickets over the internet and print them out at home or have them waiting for you at the theater, but there’s usually a fee that’ll tack an extra 10-20% on to your ticket price for ordering them online. Unless you’re worried that a hot show is going to sell out before you get to the box office, don’t pay extra for a pseudo-convenience.
- Sign up for movie rewards. Just about every major theater chain has a reward program that’ll give you something like a free small popcorn after you see 37 movies. It’s not much, but there’s no need to leave free stuff on the table.
- Skip the popcorn. Seriously, why are there not laws against five bucks for ten pieces of popcorn? And what sadistic jerk thinks that selling a 50-cent package of M&Ms for four dollars is okay? With prices like that, you have a duty to sneak your own snacks into the movie. Just be careful where you hide them since some movie houses now search bags for hidden video cameras. (Personally, I find that strapping some Skittles to my wife’s upper thigh is a smart and sexy way to enjoy a treat at the movies.)
- Look for second-run theaters. They’re hard to find nowadays, but these hidden gems can save you big bucks and still let you catch newer movies in theaters before they come out on DVD. Ticket prices start from just a dollar or two, so it’s worth it if you don’t mind waiting until everyone else has stopped talking about the movie to see it.
- Don’t buy into the hype. You’re not going to die if you don’t see Spiderman 12 and Harry Potter and the Sandwich of Magnanimity in theaters. For less than the price of just two theater tickets, you’ll be able to buy the DVD when it comes out. Or you could rent it for much less than that. Or you could just give the movie industry the finger until it decides to stop cranking out sequel after lame sequel, which will be never.
Now you can go see that horrendous insult to a classic anime series or whatever crap DreamWorks’ computers spit out this year and still have enough money left over to build that flying robot suit you’ve always wanted.