How to See the Summer's Blockbuster Movies Without Breaking the Bank

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The summer's blockbuster movies are here (finally!) so you can give your Netflix queue a rest. Are you gearing up to see The Dark Knight Rises, Brave, and/or Prometheus?

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the cinema alone or with friends (so long as their A/C is working). But "the full movie theater experience" — complete with popcorn, soda, Snow Caps, and the like — can be pricey. Thankfully movie theater deals and discounts abound, and we've got some tips on how to enjoy the big screen films for a little cash. (See also: How to Watch Movies in the Theater for Free)

Firstly, let us state the obvious: see a matinee. According to Real Simple, catching the day's first screening can save you around $3 per ticket. For larger cineplexes, matinees usually start around noon, but most local, independently run theaters only open their doors around 5 p.m. on weekdays — the perfect time for a movie, then dinner.

If you can't make an early screening, or if you prefer to take in the sunshine this summer, and still want to get the most out of your movie experience, consider buying your movie tickets in bulk. With movie ticket admissions starting at just $7.49, saves you at least $4 per ticket, and you'll receive free shipping on eight or more tickets via Google Checkout and coupon code "TURKEYTX".

But when eight tickets are too many (that's almost 16 hours of video if you view all the movies solo!), keep an eye out for Fandango deals: we've seen tickets valued at $12 for as little as $5 a piece. AMC Theaters is also no stranger to deals; in the last six weeks they've offered 4 AMC Silver Experience Movie Tickets for $24, Disney Pixar movie tickets for $6, and a free small popcorn promotion via Facebook. If you're loyal to a particular theater, consider setting up an email alert for that chain to be notified immediately the next time we inevitably find a deal.

If you don't want to dish out for your movie tickets in advance, Real Simple suggests that you see if your credit card company offers any perks. Right now Visa Signature cardholders can get free Fandango movie ticket when purchasing one at regular price on Fridays. Or join AMC Stubs for one year ($12) and you'll receive: $10 in rewards points for every $100 you spend at AMC Theaters, free upgrades on concession snacks, waived online ticket purchase fees, and more.

Speaking of discounted concession stand goodies, we often see both AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas coupons for free or discounted small drinks, popcorn, available by just liking the CineMark Facebook page.

If you've got your own A/C and are without incentive to venture out into the summer air, keep your eyes out for deals like a $20 Starbucks card bundled with two complimentary movie tickets. This particular offer has sadly expired now, but movie tickets are a popular item to be bundled with gift cards, as well as DVDs and Blu-ray movies. In fact, right now, pre-order the new Men in Black III on Blu-ray and receive a free movie ticket to see Men in Black III in theaters. If you're hesitant to pre-order the 2-disc combo and 3-disc 3D combo of MIB3, the first two films are also bundled with the $10 movie ticket credit.

As a budget-conscious cinephile, you should keep all these tips in mind when planning future trips to the movies. But you should also be signed up for an email alert so you know immediately when we list such deals, which not only include the above promotions, but also free tickets to movie screenings.

This is a guest post by Dealnews.

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Guest's picture

Also check out buying a discounted theater gift card. There are websites that buy unused giftcards and resell them. Sometimes the percent discount is in the double digits.

Guest's picture

We like to see movies at the 2nd run theater. $3 a movie any time.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the article! I'm a huge cinephile always looking for ways to save money on movies.

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My kids have taken to the mantra 'trade movies to see movies'. My two boys, 14 and 18 have spent the summer cleaning out their closets of old CDs, DVDs, and Video Games and trading them for a bit of extra spending money. In addition to a couple of local resale shops, they are using an on-line service called Zumu ( that gives them cash for their old stuff. Last week they went to the Avengers after they received one of their trade checks in the mail. Hence the 'trade movies to see movies'. Anyway, they're having fun and our house is getting decluttered all at the same time.

Guest's picture

Don't ignore smaller theaters in smaller towns. I'm in a semi-rural area; there is my very small town with no theater, a moderate city with 2 multiplexes, and a small city with an old (1953) 2 screen theater. They open as many of the big movies as they can but occasionally we have to wait a few weeks for something, and they only run movies 1 or 2 weeks. But tickets are $5 for matinee and $6-7 for evening which is significantly less than the multiplexes. Sure, we skip 3D to see movies there, and they don't have the best seats, but it's supporting a local business in a struggling area, they put on great midnight parties for really big releases (I could go on and on about their premiere of Deathly Hallows 2), the owners are personally involved and connect with patrons with updates and's just a really good time going there and I feel great about supporting them. Even if they cost more I would still go there; the fact that they are less is a welcome bonus. As their tagline says: Big city movies for small town prices.

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To save on movies, we either rent a DVD, borrow from the library, or pay for NetFlix. Movie cards with great discounts are also great. Some offers popcorn and soda at no additional cost.

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We love to see movies at a drive in theater.. It's around $5-$7 dollars a person depending on what drive in you attend. This weekend Men in Black 3 is playing on the same screen as the Avengers. thats only $2.50-$3.50 a movie for New" movies. Most drive ins offer double features so per cost movie is more afordable. I bring in my own drinks & popcorn, but usually buy nachos of chili-cheese fries for the kids..