Movie Tickets: 5 Ways to Get 'Em Cheaper

Going out to the movies can be a costly pastime, but it doesn't have to be.

(Of course staying at home to watch a movie can cost, too; the "Dark Knight" widescreen edition Blu Ray disc retails for $54.99. For that price, I would expect Christopher Nolan to provide director’s commentary from my living room couch, but I digress.)

Check out what it costs for two adults to attend a movie at local cinemas around the country (from least expensive to priciest):

  • Columbus, Ohio — $13
  • Worthington, Minn. — $14
  • Belton, Mo. — $15.50
  • Salem, Ore. — $16
  • Detroit — $16
  • Los Angeles — $20
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — $20
  • Washington — $21.50
  • Chicago — $22
  • New York — $25

Note: These prices do not take into account the ritualistic degradation of your wallet commonly referred to as the “concession stand.” Assuming you and your date/friend/mother would like to enjoy bottled water, the approximate price of your outing in New York jumps to $33. If each of you gets popcorn or candy as well, you are looking at roughly $41. Now the Blu Ray disc doesn’t seem so bad; at least you can make your own snacks.

Despite the fact that moviegoers are not provided for in the government’s stimulus package, there is some relief out there for those willing to become savvy ticket shoppers:

1. Matinees

Some theaters consider a matinee showing anything between noon and 4 p.m., while other theaters will consider the matinee window to be any screenings before 5 or 6 p.m. Most times you can expect to save roughly $2 per ticket or more. Many theaters offer a.m. showings at a substantial discount to lure in the unemployed and retired. At the AMC Loews Georgetown 14 in Washington, for example, an 11:10 a.m. showing of "Halloween II" is just $6 per ticket.

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