Ask the Readers: Do You See Movies in the Theater?

By Ashley Jacobs on 14 February 2012 (Updated 21 February 2012) 134 comments
Photo: Steven Depolo

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Becca, Linda Nguyen, and Rebecca B.A.R. for winning this week's contest!

It's always nice to escape reality by watching a movie. Whether you are a fan of action, comedy, romance, or horror, movies can provide an escape from everyday life. Some people like to see movies in the theaters while others are deterred by the high ticket prices and opt to wait to see movies on DVD.

Do you see movies in the theater? Or do you prefer to wait until they come out on DVD? Why?

Tell us if you see movies in the theater and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, February 20th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 20th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Emily

We do occasionally go to the theater during the summer. With no air conditioning in our home, and the family being able to go for $12, once in awhile it becomes a necessary treat to stop sweating for 2 hours.

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Cmm

In theory, I LOVE going out to see a movie. There was a time when I literally went to the movies at least once a week. But in the last few years I am down to a handful of times per year, for a number of reasons.

1) cost vs value for money-as the price of tickets has steadily gone up, I have to be MUCH more motivated to see a movie in the theater. The last two movies I made a point of going out to see were The Help and Fright Night, way back last summer. The first because I loved the book and was very eager to see the movie, the second because it was on my radar as starring a favorite actor, and being a remake of a movie that I felt really needed a good remake and update, and finally because the trailer reinforced my interest.

2) the movies I would be most interested in seeing in the theater as opposed to on DVD are the big blockbuster extravaganza movies like Thor, Captain America, or more recently, The Muppets, but those are also the ones that most often are overrun with the sort of audience that makes it a less enjoyable experience-lots of badly behaved kids running in and out and unable to be quiet, texting teens and ringing phones, and ushers patrolling with flashlights to catch copyright infringers trying to record the movie.

3) the same movies are most likely have "enhancements" like 3D and digital IMAX that add little or actually detract from the experience for me, while jacking up the price. If the theater does not have a "regular" option, I will almost certainly skip it.

4) thinking of what I have already spent money for--my Netflix and Hulu subs--and the huge backlog of movies I have to watch there--argues against spending time and money going to a movie that will be out on DVD before I know it. There are lots of weekends where I consider going to a movie and start to plan for it, and end up deciding to watch something I already have.

5) for the record, the longer dates before availability to rental places that movie companies are instituting does not affect me at all. There are plenty of options already available, and as I grow older and times passing seems to get ever faster, it is not difficult to wait for these items to show up.

6) if movies were cheaper to go out and see, the balance would probably tip more often in that direction. When I used to see one or more movies a week, there were an abundance of second run theaters nearby where tickets were $1-$3 dollars, and all theaters had much cheaper matinees. When weigh the perceived value of the movie I am thinking about seeing against the present day cost, most movies fail to pass the test. I would love to see more movies in theaters, but the things that make it feasible to me are not there in the vast majority of releases.

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Amanda

For certain A-list movies I make an effort to see the movie in our local independent theater. If I miss something in 3D because they don't run it I don't care much. Anything else I wait or skip altogether.

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Amanda

I've been a Facebook fan for ages.

Guest's picture

Our two kids are too young to go to the movies yet, and so when we go, it's when we are able to get someone to watch them for awhile and have time for the movies. This is pretty rare so when we do go it's a big deal. We actually had my parents over to watch the kids on Saturday, but there were no movies that we wanted to see, so we went and walked around the mall instead.

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Amanda

https://twitter.com/#!/abczoomom/status/169406383228334080

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lostAnnfound

We rarely see movies at the theater. We have seen all the Harry Potter movies at the theater as a family night out, but usually wait until it's out on DVD. For the price four of us to go out to the movies we could buy two and have them at home to watch any time at our leisure.

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Jennifer

Going to see movies in the theater is way too expensive. We used to splurge to go see Harry Potter, but that is done now. We borrow movies for free from the library. There is a long waiting list for the most popular movies, but we don't mind waiting in order to save money!

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Christie

Only if we REALLY like the subject matter. We see about 1 movie a year in the theater -- usually the newest Pixar offering or a Disney movie. We don't watch many movies that are rated above PG, so our choices are limited, and it is EXPENSIVE! We would much rather save the $30+ towards a nice vacation every few years or the actual DVD when it comes out. Last year we did splurge and see Cars2 as well as the Muppets, mainly because we had 2 free tickets for the kids and who doesn't love the Muppets?

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Maggie

I like to see movies in the theater (the experience is totally different than seeing it in my living room), but I try to go to showings early in the day when ticket prices are lower. Get in before noon and you usually end up paying about half of the evening price.

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Jenn

My husband and I have not gone to see a movie in quite a while. Partially to save the extra cash, but also because there has not been a movie out in a while that we have wanted to see in theaters. Waiting for DVD, or netflix, has saved us quite a bit of money on movies.

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Therese

I see movies in the theater when I think the experience will be enhanced by the big screen, such as in 3D movies. I also go to the theater if it is a special movie I have been waiting for; I will be sure to see Hunger Games when it comes out in theaters. Otherwise, I usually wait.

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S.C.

I'll watch a movie in the theatre maybe once every three months. Sometimes my husband and I like to go if we want to get out of the house and are willing to spend a little extra cash. And then if there is a movie I am DYING to see, I'll go to the theatre. Most of the time, though, I can wait until it comes out on DVD.

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Chi Wah

Yes, if the movie's anticipated to be a blockbuster movie. Other than that we wait until they come out on netflix or other sources.

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Christie

I tweeted my answer as well:

https://twitter.com/#!/ParisianDreamer/status/169417206940188674

:) Have a great day!

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Karen

We prefer to wait for the dvd. We find the theater uncomfortable and the food and the movie ticket itself too expensive. Also, at home, we can pause to go to the bathroom!!

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Sheryl

Very Seldom. I wait for the DVD. I love that I can stop the DVD for treats and pit stops. I can watch it when I want in the comfort of my home. Ticket prices are too much for me to go to the move frequently. I usually get my DVDs from the public library or Netflix.

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Brenda Faulkner

I like the theatre for the 3D movies, but usually wait for the DVD.

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Holly

We subscribe to HBO, we have a Roku box where we subscribe to Netflix (paid) and other miscellaneous movie channels (free), and we use On Demand rather than going to the movies. Using these three options, we never feel deprived of seeing the latest movies, plus we save a lot of money because we're huge movie buffs. Theater-going is reserved for special occasions or extra-special movies that lend themselves to being watched on the big screen.

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Razorbacks92

I prefer to watch movies at home. No cell phones, people talking, tall people (I'm short), the food is cheaper, and I can pause and go to the bathroom! It has been a long time since I've been to the theater, but with netflix, I feel like I have seen most everything I want to.

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Nicholas

I have not seen a movie in the theater in probably about 2-3 years. I wait until they come out and borrow them from my parents or until they are available on Netflix.

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Bradley A Harris

On a rare occasion I will see a movie in the theater.

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Monica

We go see movies in theaters every once in awhile. We do it cheaply by going to matinees or getting military/student prices. We have a souvenir cup for cheap refills and sometimes get free popcorn by buying gift cards. We also spend alot of time at the dollar theaters.

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Monica

I'm a fan on FB!

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Alex J

I end up going to a few movies in the theater. It helps to work at a university to get cheap movies on campus. Most of the time, however, it is not the cost that is prohibitive, it is more of a time issue. Course, we don't watch DVDs at home very often either after getting burned by Netflix.

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ronb.

The last time we went to a movie in a theater was to see "The Lion, the witch & the wardrobe".

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Pamela Barnett

Mostly we rent from Redbox, but if it is something special we will go to the movies.

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veronica sanchez

like on fb

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Pamela Barnett

I previously liked you on Facebook

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Elizabeth

Not unless it is a very visual film ie Lord of the Rings. It is not so cold at home and the food is better.

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Jake

No we usually wait for the movies to come out on DVD, we will rent them first to see if we like them before buying them. The theatres are so expensive that we cant swing the extra very often.

Guest's picture

I do see movies at the movie theater! I think it's a totally fun experience :-)

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I like WiseBread on FB!

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I tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/junethomemaker/status/169454623181119488

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Ashley

If its a movie I really want to see, I see it theaters if we have a gift card from our credit card points. Otherwise we wait!

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Nicholas

I also follow on facebook and liked the post.

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Karen

Rarely. It has to be something special to warrant the prices.

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rm

I still prefer the experience of going to the movies.

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Jennie

I only go to movies that I'm either really excited about or that would be worth it to see it in the theater, for the experience. Cool movie in 3d? Theater. Cool rom-com that will be just as good at home with a kleenex box, no theater for you.

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Patrick

If it's worth the big screen (has impressive special effects or cinematography), I'll go to the theatre. If not, I'll wait until it's available to rent. However, for those rare times I do go to the theatre, I always look for coupons, or find the cheapest theatre during a daytime show.

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Ben

yeah -- though the prices can be ridiculous, I still love the theater experience...esp. for high-octane action movies! Can't beat that. Always try to get Groupon deals or something of the like for Fandango, to cut the price down as much as possible.

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Jennifer Murphy

I go to matinees occasionally, and dollar movies with the kids in the summer. Full-price movies in the theater are a rarity for us.

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snakecitygirl

We watch movies at Home, very rarely go out to movies anymore.

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Guest

I wait until they come out on DVD or Netflix. There really hasn't been anything worth watching either...it seems they keep making the same movies over again and expect us to keep paying....or they try and squeeze money out of us by breaking movies into two, three or four parts with seriously disappointing consequences. At least with Netflix i know i am only paying a fraction for B rated crappy movies.

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Guest

No I get all my movies from Netflix

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Stacie

If it's a movie that looks great but I probably won't want to own it, AND if it would be improved by watching it in giant form, I watch it in theatres. How that usually works out is that every once in a while (maybe 3 times a year?) I watch an action movie or scary movie on the big screen, but pretty much everything else I watch on Netflix or watch in some other form after it comes out on DVD.

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Happy Love

We see a movie in the theater once or twice a year when we're really excited about the movie (like the last Harry Potter movie), but usually we watch movies on DVD or streaming from Netflix for much less.

When we do go to the movie theater, we go to a smaller local theater for a matinee showing. The theater that we prefer doesn't have stadium seating, but it's not as crowded and doesn't stink of stale butter and BO like so many of the other theaters that I've been to (poor cleaning and/or poor ventilation?).

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Theresa

Yes, we go to the movies! I'm a single mom of 4 teenagers, and we pack up 5 water bottles in my "movie purse" on a Sunday morning. That's when the theatre is less crowded, and it's only $3/ea. to get in! Then I typically buy popcorn, but I get 3 of the largest size and get the free refill on the way OUT of the theatre! We take it home and have popcorn for home movies.

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Arthur Fox

Yes, when they are the big ones, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit (coming this year).

Guest's picture

yes but usually to a beer theater! $4 for matinees.

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B

I typically wait to see movies when I can get them at Redbox or they come on one of the two movie channels I was given on a promotion. It's not that I don't like the movie experience...it's that I HATE the movie price tag. There was a time when the cost of a movie was about $6, and back then paying $6 for a movie seemed outrageous. Now the pricetag looms around $12 and the snacks cost at least $6. I may go to the movies once or twice a year, but it's got to be something really special!

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Valerie Morgan

I rarely see a movie in the theater - maybe two or three times a year maximum. I watch them at home after putting the kids to bed. I borrow them for free from the library.

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Valerie Morgan

I liked Wise Bread on Facebook.

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nebula61

Once in a while--when I know it will play better on the big screen. But I always go on days I know won't be crowded because noise from the audience really bothers me.

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Bryan

I do see movies in the theater, but rarely. I make an event of it, like a date with my wife.

Guest's picture

Yes, I catch the matinee since it's cheaper! I only go when it's a movie I absolutely HAVE to see!

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Bryan

https://twitter.com/#!/Bryan_Blackburn/status/169497177100521473

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https://twitter.com/#!/missluckybreaks/status/169497608136564737

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Helen

I love to see movies in the theater but it depends on the movie. If it has beautiful scenery or action that merits seeing in on the big screen then I'll usually go to the matinee. Otherwise, I'll wait to see it on DVD/Netflix.

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Guest

I see several movies a month in an actual theater. In fact, I just saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last night. My original excuse was because I love movie popcorn. And while that still is a favorite of the experience, I enjoy it mostly because it becomes more of an 'escape' to view it in a locale other than your living room. At home I can stop to do laundry, let the dog out (or in), get up to refill a drink, but at the theater your senses are much more entranced because you're not as likely to do those things and the space around you allows you to become much more absorbed in the story line, the acting, the sound, the palpable reactions of a theater. Nothing quite beats being in a theater.

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Bryan

If I think a movie will be better by seeing it as part of an immersive experience (for example, Avatar), then I'll try to see it in the theatre. If it's not (most romantic comedies, for instance), then I can usually wait it out to the dvd.

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sneha

i'll go to the movies if its either something i've been dying to watch, or if it has awesome special effects.

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sneha

https://twitter.com/#!/sraghavan89/status/169504245828173825

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Melissa Hansson

My husband and I choose carefully and see about 6 or 8 movies a year in the theater. We use Entertainment Book coupons or Fandango vouchers to make it more affordable.

The rest of the year we use Netflix by mail & streaming, Hulu Plus and our local library to see everything else at home.

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Melissa Hansson

I liked you on Facebook (and in real life)! Thanks for another chance to win.

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Jamie

We very rarely go to the movies in the theater, but on special occasions....we do. It can be quite expensive these days.

Guest's picture

We do both. Mostly we wait for the movie to come out and watch it at home in a nice quiet space. :)

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Tweeted... https://twitter.com/#!/jdnorthwest/status/169510657241268224

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seemless

I'll see something in the theatre if
1. it's something enhanced by the big screen, i.e. special effects
2. if I have the money. Plenty of flicks I've missed cause no dough.

Guest's picture

The only theater I'll set foot in is the dollar theater about 20 minutes from my home. Even then, I won't make a special trip to see a movie.

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Lisa

I haven't seen a movie in a theater in years! Even back in the day, I went to the drive in except when the weather was sweltering...then a dark cold movie theater was hard to beat.

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Stefany

We do go to the movies. My credit card offers reward points that I cash in for movie tickets...can't beat that!

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Stefany

I am a fan on Facebook.

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Jerry

No. Mostly due to inconsiderate audiences, partly due to cost.

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Eric

Most of the time i wait for netflix to see movies

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Becca

Only if it's one of the big blockbuster movies that are guaranteed to have striking visuals, such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Other than that, I wait for it to come out on Amazon Video, Redbox, or Netflix.

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judyyy

We sometimes take our grandchildren to the movies but mostly just rent them.

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Brandon

I watch movies only if I purchase the tickets at a discount. At Costco you can get two Regal tickets for $15. This allows two people to watch a movie even on opening day at midnight for only $7.50. This is a great savings as tickets can cost $10.00 onward past matinee times.

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Becca

https://twitter.com/#!/rlmeeder/status/169552133497163776

My tweet comment

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Natalie

I very rarely see movies in the theater for two reasons. Either I'm not interested in the movies that are out (I often prefer classics or movies that just never stay in theaters long due to lack of popular demand), or there's a movie I'm a little interested in, but it costs to much to go see! In general it's a better deal to wait until a movie I might want to see comes out on DVD and then rent it or get it from Netflix.

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Dee Dee

No movie theater for us. I can't remember the last one I saw in a theater, I think it was Mrs. Doubtfire. It has been a long long time ago.

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Aaron L

only if it's a movie that deserves to be on the big screen: action, thriller, big explosions. Inception

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Aaron L

https://twitter.com/#!/linjiunhan/status/169586852205035520

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Sue Anderson

I only go to the theater for certain movies that I think will be better on the big screen. That and the occasional trip with the grandkids.

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Joan

No movies at the theater for me. It's just too expensive. I can wait until I can get them at the library for free.

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cwaltz

Every once in awhile my husband and I hit the theater or in the summers we hit the drive through. More often though we wait until a movie comes out on DVD and rent it. That way we can enjoy it as a family without having to take out a second mortgage(there are six us us.)

Christine

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TC

I'd much rather watch a movie at home than in a theater. I can multitask while watching a movie at home, save money, and avoid annoying people and screaming children.

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Sonja Johnson

With DH in cancer treatment, going out to the movies is a rarity. When he's up to it, I use free passes I get from Coke rewards. $30 for tickets for 2 is just not something I can stomach too often!

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Patti

My fiance and I just went to the movie theater last night to see The Vow. We usually watch movies at home on Netflix, but last night was a special night and we decided to go out and see something in the theater. Tickets were only $7/person last night when it's usually $12 where I live. I would say we watch movies in theaters less than 6 times a year - only if there's something good to see.

Guest's picture

We used to go to the theaters pre-baby as our friday night out date...is it possible with a toddler in tow and not spend moola on a babysitter and the works if parents need a date to hit the movies....no family here and usually our trusted friends r busy 2 take babysitting roles...so we prefer $1 rentals...movie is not going anywhere so we will wait till its out on dvd to catch-up...

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Kelly Schubert

Yes, love going to the movies to see it on the big screen, it is a night out for my spouse and I. Love the smell of the popcorn also

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Luke

I will go to the theater on some occasions and spend the money (new Avengers movie will be the next big one) but it all depends on the theater, and the movie... Ive been in a few theaters where the screen is so blurry that you cant make out the actors faces (waste of money!)... I do enjoy watching the movies at my apartment though... I have a nice HDTV with a media center underneath, which Ive calibrated with THX blue glasses and a cheap surround sound. (both make a huge difference!) I've found one of the best things I could do was to sign up for websites that give out advanced movie screenings. Usually if you show up about an hour early, you're guarantied to get in.. You just show up with your pass, make sure to leave the cell phone in the car (helps trying to get out of premieres where they keep your phone at the front desk of the theater) Lifehacker has a writeup here http://lifehacker.com/5796998/how-to-get-access-to-free-advanced-movie-s...

Guest's picture

I probably see movies in the theater 4 times a year, usually either when we take the kids to see something or on a date night. I'm not really sure it's worth the money usually. I'd prefer to do something more interactive.

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rinette ouk

I only go when it's a great movie out, it's getting too expensive to see movie.

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L

Every 6 to 18 months there is something out that is worth seeing with friends who are also going, often also because of having a gift certificate. It is too expensive to be worth it for the most part.

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Kaye

I've only seen 2 movies in theaters in the last 2 years, so I guess the answer here would be "practically no".

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KelR1

I see about two movies a year in a traditional theatre, but I love drive-in season! It's a much better deal ($7 per person to see THREE movies!), plus the dogs can come along.

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KelR1

Like you on FB.

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KelR1

https://twitter.com/#!/KelRo1/status/169856708246642688

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Danielle

I'm new to WiseBread, and just liked on FB. I go to the theater 3-4 times a year, depending on what big-ticket movies are out, namely series movies, Twilight, Batman, Hangover, Marvel Comics, etc. I know extra cost of going to the movies doesn't help my budget, but I love movies so I couldn't give it up completely. After relocating to a new city, I was lucky to discover a second-run theater, which runs movies that are no longer in the major theater but haven't been released on DVD yet, and tickets cost $1.99 per seat.