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How to Save Money on Discounted Movie Tickets

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of a Gillette promotion that left me with a Fandango code for a free movie ticket. We haven’t been to the movies in several months and so we caught an early showing of Despicable Me 2 (we love those minions!) in a near empty theater. There might have been four other people there (like I said, early showing).

Those empty theaters are why movie companies offer such steep discounts for matinees and early bird showings. Showing the movie costs some negligible amount so any time you can get a paying customer, you’re profiting.

Other than going really early during the day, which isn’t possible most of the time, what other ways can you save at the movies?


The matinee times vary from theater to theater but generally any showing before 4pm has discounted pricing. At our local Cinemark, the standard ticket price is $10.50. If you go to a show before 4pm, you qualify for a cheaper $8.25 ticket price.

Some places offer an even bigger discount known as the “early bird,” or the first showing of the day. For example, the Early Bird price at the local Cinemark is $6.50 – which is a big discount off even the matinee price of $8.25.

Buy in Bulk

As is the case with everything else, it pays to buy in bulk. If you go to see a lot of movies, try to buy tickets in bulk. If we went more, I’d probably buy them at Costco where you can get a ten-pack of AMC or Regal Entertainment tickets for $84.99. At $8.50, that’s a slight discount to their standard ticket price but more than their matinee and early bird prices.

You can also buy in bulk direct from the theaters. Ifyou’re willing to buy 50 tickets, the price drops to $8 per. 50 is a lot of tickets!

Student Days, Senior Days

There are days of the week where you can get discounted tickets if you are a senior (usually 60+) or a student (with valid current student or college ID). For example, AMC offers discounted tickets to seniors on Tuesdays and discounted tickets to students on Thursdays.

Scour Product Promotions

If you want to see a blockbuster movie, chances are they have a tie in with some sort of product. Man of Steel did the promotion with Gillette, though the code I received was valid on any movie, and your favorite movie probably does something with a product you use.

For example, Wolverine did a promotion with burger chain Red Robin [3]. If you buy a $25 limited edition The Wolverine gift card for Red Robin, you get a free movie ticket. The promotion also worked in the other direction, bring in a ticket stub for Wolverine and get $3 off.

Buy Gift Cards Online

A lot of people use gift card exchange and sale websites to get rid of cards they don’t want. Their loss can be your gain, buy these gift cards at a steep discount and use them to buy your own tickets. This is a strategy that applies to any store that offers gift cards, though the more popular stores don’t have as big of a discount on the exchanges.

Visa Signature Perk

For a limited time on Fridays, with a Visa Signature card, you can get buy one get one free movie tickets on Fandango when you pay with that Visa Signature card. Even when you figure in the fees, B1G1 is still a great offer. Fandango also offers $5 off $25 in Fandango gift cards, though that’s a limited benefit considering Fandango’s fees.

If you’re willing to get a little clever with how you buy your ticket, you can usually get them at a discount.

What’s your favorite way of getting discount movie tickets?

(Credit: Fan of Retail [4])