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Movies at a discount

Hollywood is known for launching the special-effects-heavy blockbuster movies in the summer, but many of the best films are saved for the end of the year. Christmas 2013 was no exception. So many quality showss were released at the end of the year that you could have gone to a movie every night for a week or more and still not have seen everything you wanted.

A movie is a tougher ticket for someone on a budget, but there are ways to score movie passes at a decent discount.

One way is to make sure you have at least a group of four going. That gets you a significant discount online. Movie chains like AMC theaters, which also includes AMC Showplace, Loews, Cineplex Odeon, Magic Johnson, and Star theatres, offer at least a dollar off per ticket if you buy your tickets online at or any other bulk discounter you find.

If you’re committed to hitting the movie theaters during the year, at least a couple of chains offer big discounts for major multiple ticket purchases. You can hang on to each ticket as long as you need to and attend any movie you wish. At Regal Entertainment Group, home of Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres or United Artists Theatres, you can buy “Premiere” passes for regular movies for $8 each, but you have to be willing to buy 50. That’s a big expense, $400, so make sure you know you’ll be going to enough shows to make it worth it. The cards have no expiration date and the Premiere package has no restrictions. You will have to pay an extra amount at the box office for movies on the special screens, such as IMAX or 3-D. And some Regal theaters will charge a location surcharge. Cinemark, which includes Century Theatres, CinéArts, Tinseltown and Rave Cinemas, has a program similar to Regal for $7.50 per ticket.

The other, more well-known, options are the matinees and waiting for the movies to be shown in the discount theaters. Some cities have theaters that will show feature films after their regular run, but before they go to video, for as little as $2.

The cost of the movie itself is only one expense. Where some people end up spending more than they wanted is when they can’t resist the wonderful aroma of movie popcorn. You might not even like popcorn, but the smell can trigger a memory of snacking inside the theater as you watch your movie, and you can find yourself handing over your debit card for box of sweets and a trough of soda.

You can protect yourself some from the movie concession temptation by eating before you go to the show. Preparing a nice dinner at home before is usually the most economical idea, but if you’re making it a dinner-and-movie date night, check out Groupon and other sites to find discounts on local restaurants.

In the end you can have the movie night experience you’re more or less used to without going home thinking about where all your money went instead of whether the movie gets a thumbs up or down.

Contact American Financial Solutions credit counselor for more ways to save and find entertainment bargains. Just type in save to the search box.

Published Jan 3, 2014.