Toy Story 4 comes out this week. #1 reminds me about every five minutes, and with this impending expense (let’s face it, it’s hard to get out of a theater for under $50 these days), I immediately set to work trying to find some movie theater discounts.
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While I could tell you all the best ways to sneak candy into the theater, I’m not going to. By this age, I’m sure you’ve got that figured out.
Let’s Talk Theaters
The world is full of movie theaters. Here in the states you’re usually offered AMC Theaters, Cinemark, or Regal Cinemas in all the major cities.
Sure, small towns have locally owned locations, and that’s great, but I can’t go through every theater and share tips, so I’m going to focus on the big three here.
Alternatively, you could skip the big guys all together and search for a drive-in theater. While you’ll most likely pay per car, you’ll:
- Be more comfortable in a nest of blankets and pillows tucked into the back of your car.
- Be able to bring your own food from whatever establishment you prefer.
- Probably get to see two movies for the price of one, since many drive-in’s show double features.
But Drive-in’s are hard to find these days. I mean, the closest one to us is an hour away. It’s definitely worth the drive at least once a year to relive the olden days, but that’s just too far to go very often.
On that note, I’ve done some digging to figure out the best movie discounts to save you from breaking your bank.
There are several locations online that you could purchase tickets from, but I chose to dig into Fandango and Atom.
I used the same location and showtime for my comparisons and the rates are based on two adult tickets, one child ticket, convenience fees and taxes.
Remember, prices vary by location and are subject to change.
|2 Adults||1 Child||Fees||Taxes||Total|
While they come up even in the initial cost, I was able to find the following savings:
Fandango has special offers that you can find here. With some of these promotions you can purchase toys or candy, scan in your receipts, and receive tickets and movie discounts.
I was also able to find discounts on Fandango gift cards at Sam’s Club. So, if you’ve got a membership to Sam’s Club (or know someone that does), you can save about 3% on your purchase by buying a gift card in advance.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find any Fandango promo codes or Fandango coupons online.
Atom Tickets offers Atom Rewards, though it’s not very clear what you get by signing up, other than deals via email. Plus, it looks like the big deal of a free movie has already passed.
Sam’s Club offers a $50 Atom gift card for only $37.48, but there’s a catch! The gift card has to be mailed, so don’t expect an instant digital code for use on Atom’s site. You’ll have to wait a couple days for the physical card to show up in your mailbox. But, if you plan well enough in advance, it’s one great deal!
And, while the tickets won’t run you $37.48 (at least if you’re buying for three), some Atom locations will allow you to pre-order concessions online and use the Atom gift cards to pay for them. As a matter of fact, that’s what we did.
It should be noted that I’m uncertain if you can use Atom gift cards at physical movie theaters, at least on concessions. If you don’t plan to order concessions in advance, you’ll want to call your local theater and see how that works.
As Atom grows their name, they are also offering up promo codes for discounts. I found an Atom promo code on Retail Me Not (for first-time users) for $5 off a purchase. As first-time users that brought our total ticket cost down to $25.48.
There was no expiration date available with the coupon code MOVIES, so you’ll want to try it, but also check Retail Me Not for new promo codes in the future.
Straight From the Theater
If you’re not all about having a hundred reward accounts out there (I don’t blame you!) you can always purchase your tickets direct from the theaters.
Our local theater is an AMC Theater, so that’s the information I have to share.
|2 Adults||1 Child||Fees||Taxes||Total|
|AMC Theaters – in person*||$15.98||$7.79||$0.00||$2.00||$25.77|
|AMC Theaters – online||$15.98||$7.79||$5.67**||$2.00||$31.44|
*AMC ticket prices vary by location.
**Online convenience fees are waived on ticket purchases of four or more for AMC Stubs members.
Don’t forget the Sam’s Club deal either! You can get AMC gift cards, Cinemark gift cards, and Regal Cinemas gift cards all at discount prices.
I was unable to find any AMC coupons online.
Our family opted for the Atom deal and we decided to pre-order our concessions as well. Overall, we saved 31% compared to what we would’ve spent.
Just enough to hit up McDonald’s afterwards for some Toy Story 4 Happy Meal toys!
Despite finding it hard to acquire coupon codes and large discounts, each of the big three theaters do offer membership and rewards programs, as well as general discounts overall.
See For Yourself…
Membership: AMC Stubs
AMC Stubs comes with three levels of membership, the first, the Insider, being free to join. The Premiere level will run you $15 per year, while the A List level is $19.95 per month and up, plus tax.
Granted, each level adds extra bonuses, like movie discounts and concession deals. You can find out more here.
I’d say the biggest perk to joining the free AMC Stubs Insider membership is the Tuesday deals. Tickets are $5 each and you can purchase a Cameo Combo (popcorn and drink), also for $5. Get more information on Discount Days here.
Other specials and movie discounts can be found here.
For the Kids
AMC Theatres offers Summer Movie Camp on Wednesdays. Usually the movies were new releases in previous years, but at $4 per child (plus tax), with concessions included, it’s a great deal!
They also offer Sensory Friendly Movies on certain days. They’ll raise the lights and lower the sound of the movie. These showings are perfect for children with Autism or even introducing small children to the movies.
Membership: Regal Crown Club
Regal Cinemas membership program, Regal Crown Club, is free to join and you can use your earned points as you like for concession deals and freebies, and even movie merchandise.
Regal Value Days offer discounted admission on specific days, though not all locations participate and discount prices vary.
Regal Cinemas discount page has an option for just about everything. You can even enter to win sweepstakes, among other movie discounts.
For the Kids
Just like their competitors, Regal Cinemas offers the Summer Movie Express, but this time on Tuesdays, and for only $1 per child, though it appears concessions are not included or discounted.
Sensory friendly showings are also available.
Membership: Movie Rewards
Cinemark’s membership program offers two levels: Movie Fan (which is free to join) and Movie Club ($8.99 per month, plus tax). With each you can earn points and redeem them as you wish. You can get more information here.
For Cinemark, the Discount Days vary by location.
Cinemark offers matinee pricing, student and military discounts, and other promotions, which can be found here.
For the Kids
At this time, there’s no sign of Summer Kid Movies or Sensory friendly movies at any Cinemark locations, but that could always change. You could also call your local Cinemark and see what they have to say or offer. Perhaps each location does it’s own thing.
Savings Wrap Up
I’d love to say “Here is the equation and exact steps to take to save money at the movies,” but unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that.
There are lots of factors to take into consideration when striving for movie discounts, but I’d say purchasing the discounted gift cards are always a safe bet for a small savings.
Make sure you sign up for the free rewards programs, too. And, if you don’t have to see that new release the day it comes out, wait until the discount days at the theater and see it exponentially cheaper.
Either way, make sure to stop by the dollar store for your candy before you go (but you didn’t hear that from me).
Like saving money? Then you’ll love my post on 10 Ways to Save Money at the Register.
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