Listen Live on  

95.7 Hallelujah FM

Memphis' Inspiration Station

Michael Adrian Davis

7 ways to go to the movies for free


Hollywood Comstock, SuperStock


So y'all know I love going to the movies every chance I get right??  Well here are some tips to keep you from emptying your pockets at the concession stand!


The average cost of a movie ticket is more than $8. But why pay at all?        

Summertime, and the viewing is busy: From the superhero to the supernatural, Hollywood has been delivering new product since early May. Keeping up with a steady stream of blockbusters (and blockbuster wannabes) can put a serious strain on your wallet.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the average cost of a movie ticket was $8.13 by the end of 2013. That gets pretty pricey if you’re taking a date, let alone an entire family. It's tempting to wait until the summer flicks end up at the $3 house, or become available via Redbox or Netflix or Amazon Prime.


Yet some movies -- especially those that involve superheroes or disasters -- are just made for the big screen.

Fortunately it's possible to see movies without paying out-of-pocket. This can be as simple as the first of these tips for seeing free movies.

1: Join the rewards program at your theater of choice. Show the loyalty card every time you see a movie, and you'll eventually build up enough points to get a free ticket.

Among the theater chains that offer rewards are Regal Cinemas, Cobb Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Wehrenberg Theatres and Regency Theatres. You may also get extras like concessions coupons, movie contests and member-only advance screenings.

See it before anyone else!

2. And speaking of screenings. You can sign up for previews. Sites like gofobo, Wild About Movies,​m and clue you in about film previews in U.S. and Canadian cities. Note: Film previews are often intentionally overbooked, so don't wait until the last minute to head for the theater.

Another potential way to get free previews: Listen to radio stations that partner with movie studios to promote upcoming films. Station managers love giving things to loyal listeners.

You may not even have to listen to win. When I lived in Seattle, I'd regularly see ads for such previews in the two local independent newspapers. Another way I lucked out: A film publicist took our email addresses and sent out invites for special-interest films.

3. Use Twitter. Sign up to follow entities such as Free Movie Screening (@screeningticket) and Advance Screenings (@screenings). A post on the Geekenstein blog suggests opting for mobile notifications. "Some passes go so quick that if you wait for the refresh, you could miss out," writes Craig Kandiko.

Reward yourself

4. My Coke Rewards. Codes from Coca-Cola products (including Minute Maid juices and flavored Dasani waters) turn into points you can trade for merchandise, gift cards and other premiums. My favorites are the AMC theater rewards: a movie ticket and a free soft drink (485 points), two tickets and two soft drinks (940 points) or two tickets, two drinks and a large popcorn (1,100 points).

True, nobody should drink that much soda. But there's more than one way to amass points:

  • Ask family and friends to save the codes from 12- and 24-packs and from individual bottles.
  • Haunt the recycle bin in your workplace break room.
  • If you're not opposed to scavenging, you may find them on the street or sticking out of city trash cans.
  • Fairs, sports events, community festivals and any other places where lots of people congregate are good places to find caps.

5. Join other rewards programs. Sites like MyPoints and Swagbucks let you earn points that can be cashed in for gift cards to Regal Cinemas and Fandango.

6. Cash in points from rewards credit cards. If your plastic's program offers cards for theater chains (mine does!), then you're all set.

Your mileage may vary

7. Repurpose an unused gift card. Did a well-meaning relative give vegetarian you a gift card to Outback Steakhouse? Or maybe your boss gave $25 Target cards to everyone in the office, but the nearest store is two bus rides away.

The solution: Sell your unused plastic scrip to a gift card reseller, then use the cash to buy movie gift cards (also at a discount). The aggregator site Gift Card Granny will tell you how much those unwanted cards are worth, as well as the highest discounts for the movie gift cards you want to buy.

Not all of these tactics will work for everyone. Perhaps you live in a small town where free movie screenings rarely (or never) happen. Maybe you don’t use credit cards, or you use a card that doesn't give rewards.

But it's likely that one or more of these tips will work for you, even if it takes time to build up enough loyalty points or collect enough Coke caps. Keep at it: The holiday movie season will be here before you know it.

Recommended Stories