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Money Saving Tips for Movie Tickets and Movie Rentals

Updated on July 16, 2012

With a little planning you can save money on movie tickets and movie rentals.

Let's face facts - the cost of movie tickets has skyrocketed! According to a July 2011 New York Times article about the cost of movie tickets, the rise in movie ticket prices has outpaced inflation by more than half since 1999.

What this means for a family of four living in the Chicago suburbs is that the cost of going to the movies can range anywhere from $35 - $44 depending on the age of the children -- and that's not including concessions.

Fortunately, there are ways for families to save money while still enjoying a family movie night together. Armed with a little bit of knowledge and planning these money saving tips for movie tickets and movie rentals can help stretch your family's entertainment budget.

DVD rentals are usually free at public libraries.


Where to watch movies

Choices abound when it comes to watching your favorite family flick or new release. You can:

  • Watch movies at home
  • See a movie at a movie theater
  • Attend a movie event or film festival

No matter which way you choose to watch a movie there are many ways to save money on movie rentals or movie tickets.


Renting DVDs of movies and watching them at home offers significant cost savings over buying movie theater tickets. Luckily, there are many low-cost and even free ways to rent movies or DVDs. In addition, you can make your own movie concessions at home and the adventurous can even make an outdoor movie screen!

Movies for free at the library

Borrowing movies from the library is a great way to save money for families on a budget.
Borrowing movies from the library is a great way to save money for families on a budget. | Source

DVD movie rentals from the public library - [free]

If you haven't been to your public library in awhile you may be in for a surprise. Libraries are no longer solely chock full of books, but offer a wide variety of multi-media-rich resources, including DVDs. Many public libraries loan DVDs of movies for free. A typical DVD loan at a library may have a loan period of seven days, and an overdue fine of $1 per day.

DVD rentals from Redbox

DVD rentals are $1 per night from Redbox.
DVD rentals are $1 per night from Redbox. | Source

DVD movie rentals from Redbox - [$1 per day]

Redbox is a great source for low-cost, new-release movie rentals - in fact, their movie rentals are only $1 per day per movie!

Located at major shopping locations, with over 29,000 kiosks nationwide, it could not be more convenient to rent and return movies to a Redbox.

You don't even have to return the DVD to the same kiosk, making it a snap to rent near home and return near work the following day.

There are a limited number of DVDs for each title in each Redbox kiosk, but you can easily go to to check movie availability and to reserve the DVD too.

>> Redbox DVD movie rentals

Netflix streams movies to tv

Netflix is a great option for families that watch lots of movies every month.
Netflix is a great option for families that watch lots of movies every month. | Source

NetFlix - [$8 per month]

With an internet connection and an internet-enabled device, such as a PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, Mac, iPad, or Apple TV, you can select movies directly from your television screen for streaming.

Netflix claims to be adding 100,000 new customers per week, and it's no wonder since NetFlix is simple to use and a great value.

With a Netflix account you get:

  • Unlimited movies for $8 per month
  • The ability to watch movies on two devices at the same time on one account

>> NetFlix movie rentals

iTunes store - [cost varies]

If you have an iTunes account and an Apple TV receiver you can watch purchased movies from your iTunes library on your television screen. Additionally, you can rent streaming movies directly from your television screen from the iTunes Store.

With an iTunes account and an Apple TV you can:

  • Buy movies
  • Rent movies

>> iTunes store movie rentals

>> Apple TV

Apple TV allows movie rental from iTunes store on your tv

Rent movies from the iTunes store and watch on your television with an Apple TV. The Apple TV receiver is the small black device under the right side of the tv (about the size of a deck of cards).
Rent movies from the iTunes store and watch on your television with an Apple TV. The Apple TV receiver is the small black device under the right side of the tv (about the size of a deck of cards). | Source

Movie rentals from tv cable provider - [free to $9.99 per movie]

Most television cable service providers offer some form of on-demand service for their digital/HDTV customers. From the comfort of the couch, services such as Xfinity (Comcast) make it simple to select movies to view.

The cost of movie rental varies depending on the movie. For example, "same day as theater" movies cost the most per rental at $9.99, however, depending on the number of viewers this still offers significant savings as compared to going to the movie theater.

Digital/HDTV cable service providers usually offer:

  • Free movies on demand
  • Movie rentals for a fee (about $4.99 - $9.99 per movie)

Rent movies from tv cable service provider

Cable service providers have a selection of free movies, in addition to movie rentals for a fee.
Cable service providers have a selection of free movies, in addition to movie rentals for a fee. | Source

Buying DVDs is a good idea for movies that will be watched over and over.


DVD movie collection

If you like to watch the same movie more than once then it may be more cost effective to purchase the movie instead of renting the movie multiple times.

DVDs can be purchased through at significant savings over retail.

Borrowing movies from a friend's DVD library is another excellent way to watch a movie for free.

Movie tickets for the theater



The highest price is always charged for movie tickets in the evenings on weekend nights. However, there are several ways to get movie tickets for less:

  • Matinee Tickets: Most theaters offer discounts for movies shown earlier in the day. Check your local theater, as some matinee prices are now only available for movies starting before noon.
  • Discount Tickets: Many movie theaters sell packs of tickets in bulk, either at the box office or online. Typically, each movie ticket is $2 - $3 less per ticket depending on restrictions. For people that go to the movies a lot this is a great way to save on movie tickets.
  • Discount Days: Some theaters may have discount days for students, seniors, or military personnel. AMC theaters, for example, sells tickets to students at a discount all day on Thursdays.
  • Movie Clubs: Many theaters have member clubs to earn rewards for going to the movies and for buying concessions. Rewards can then be used towards future movie or concession purchases. Regal's Crown Club is free to join and rewards can be received after receiving 50 credits. One credit is received for each dollar spent at the theater.
  • Family Film Showings: Some theaters have special showings of films on days when parents are encouraged to bring their young children in tow. Usually the films are older and the tickets are steeply discounted. For example, some Cinemark theaters have "Reel Family Time" for .75 per ticket.
  • Discount Theaters: While discount theaters may not offer the latest in stadium seating or a wide variety of concessions, they do sell movie tickets for less than the big-name theaters.
  • Drive-In Movie Theaters: Drive-ins are few and far between, but if you have one in your city they are a great way to see movies for less. Oftentimes, drive-ins show double features for the price of one movie ticket.

Examples of ways to save money on movie tickets*

Discount Tickets
Discount Days
Premiere: 50 tickets for $7.50 per ticket (any movie/never expire)
Value Days: $6 all day, all movies, M-TH in select theaters
Crown Club: join for free, earn rewards for movies and concessions
VIP: 50 tickets for $6.50 per ticket (cannot be used on selected movies for 1st 12 days/never expire)
Ultimate: 2 unrestricted tickets & $10 in concessions for $27
Student Day: $7.50 on Thursdays w/ student ID
AMC Stubs: join for $12 per year, $10 reward for every $100 spent
Senior Day: $6.50 on Tuesdays for limited time
Platinum Supersaver: 50 tickets for $7.50 per ticket (never expire)
Senior Day: Mondays at participating theaters
Reel Family Time: 75 cent admission to Kiddie Kombo at participating theaters
Discount Tuesdays: at participating theaters

*Prices and discounts may change. Please check with each theater for current offers.

Movie in the park

Movie in the park at Duluth, MN.
Movie in the park at Duluth, MN. | Source


A great way to watch movies for the family on a budget and to have a lot of fun besides, is to see movies shown by organizations. Oftentimes, groups such as churches and schools will show movies for free or a nominal fee. During the summer months many park districts and cities show movies in the park.

Free movies can often be seen at:

  • Library - often show movies regularly each month for free
  • Cities and Park Districts - may host "movies in the park"
  • Outdoor Film Festivals

Learn how to make your own outdoor movie screen and enjoy movies in your own backyard!

Saving money on movie tickets and movie rentals is easy and fun!

Even with the cost of movie tickets increasing every year, families still can enjoy movie nights together at a reasonable cost. Many movie rentals can be gotten for very little cost, if not free. With a little planning movie tickets can be purchased at lower prices. Finally, free movie events, such as movies in the parks, are a fun way to see movies in an outdoor environment.

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