Tips for cheap movie enjoyment

David Wiens

In what the TV and newspaper tell us are tough economic times, almost all of us who have jobs are going to start feeling the strain, and those of us without jobs could stand to save some money anyway. Still, with the disturbing outlook of the news and the ever-increasing level of reality shows, it’s too much for some of us to give up our torrid affair with movies, so here are a few tips on how to save money without giving them up.

Tip 1: Save money at the ticket counter. Unless you’re really good with words, you’re not going to convince any theater to lower its prices, but going to the matinee means you’re going to pay a lot less to get in. Sure, it might kill the mood if you’re on a date in the middle of the afternoon, but so will not having enough money to buy anything else the rest of the night. If you’re someone who spends many weekends out of town, you might want to check out local theaters where you go because ticket prices vary from place to place. A lot of the theaters around Wichita are cheaper (and quite frankly a lot nicer) than the ones in Topeka, so if you’re in the area you might want to take the time to drive over to Newton, where the theater charges $4.75 for the matinee, and the seats can recline.

Tip 2: Save money at the snack counter. When it comes to snacks at the movies, the best course of action is to skip them altogether. Still, if you absolutely have to have snacks, consider bringing them from home. It should be said that movie theaters earn most of their revenue from snack sales because most of the ticket sales go to the films, and I do not condone sneaking food into movies. But if you decide to do it anyway, it’s best to go in groups so you can sneak more in. Furthermore, purses are your friend and pockets are your enemy. The ticket takers aren’t going to give a second look to the dozens of purses carried past them, but the odds are a lot worse that you’re going to get past them with a box of Sugar Babies and a bottle of Mountain Dew sticking out of your pants. If you’re not going with someone who has a purse, take advantage of the cold weather and wear a large coat with a lot of room to fit something in snugly. Just make sure there’s not enough room for it to shake around.

Tip 3: Save money by skipping. For some of us, the thought of waiting six months for a film to be released, only to watch it on a wimpy little TV, is simply out of the question, but if you don’t care very much about the theater experience, increasing options besides rental are available. Although you still have to tolerate commercial breaks, Web sites like Hulu allow viewers to watch movies and shows with decent picture quality for free without the annoyance of waiting for them to air on TV with all the good parts cut out. Sites like Sidereel offer links to thousands of free shows and movies, as long as you don’t mind sifting through the five or six links that lead to overdubbed versions, dead links or unsynchronized audio to get to a link that works.

So good luck out there trying to put this stuff to use, and if you didn’t find it helpful then you’re on your own. Have fun reading, dork!