Here's How to Save on Movies Now That MoviePass is Probably Done
Beyond sticking with matinees and searching for regular coupons, several experts we spoke to recommended AMC's MoviePass competitor, Stubs A-List.
MoviePass has been a wild ride, but it probably won’t be around much longer. Although it started as a service that let you see as many movies as you want at many different participating theaters for a cheap, flat, monthly rate, its utility has gone way down since it first debuted a little over a year ago. Now you’ll only have a limited selection of movies and times and the monthly rate has undergone a significant hike.
Amid those changes, the chief product officer stepping down, and reports that the company doesn’t seem to have a path towards profitability, it’s likely only a matter of time before MoviePass passes on to the big commemorative Boss Baby soda cup in the sky. So you might as well prepare for the inevitable and start looking into other ways to save at the movies.
Now we would never recommend sneaking your own snacks and drinks into the theater because that would be breaking the rules, but here are some other ways you can save at the cinema.
Aye, there’s the stub.
Although MoviePass may be on its way out, it did inspire individual theater chains to create their own alternatives. One of which we had multiple experts recommend to us.
“MoviePass was set to revolutionize the movie industry, but unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out the way many hoped,” explained Chris Brantner, founder of StreamingObserver.com. “However, it did give birth to AMC’s own version of MoviePass. For $19.95 per month, you can watch up to 3 movies per month at AMC with essentially no restrictions. This includes IMAX and 3D.
“There’s also a service called Sinemia that sells you discount movie tickets for a monthly fee. It starts at $3.99 per month for one ticket, and goes up to $13.99 per month for three tickets plus IMAX and 3D. There are no restrictions—this allows you to get tickets to any theater.”
But as we alluded to earlier, Brantner wasn’t the only person to recommend AMC’s new offer.
“Previously, I worked in the film industry at 20th Century Fox and HBO Films,” began Pam Vetter, Vice President of Highrise Networks. “Over time, the movies became so expensive for my family of four that we stopped attending movies. Instead, we waited for a film to air on home video or a streaming service. MoviePass brought us back to the movie theater because it became affordable again. We purchased four annual MoviePasses at Costco and we’ve seen movies we never would have seen otherwise.
“We’re enjoying the movie experience again so we’re planning for the day if MoviePass goes out of business. While there may be one more Hail Mary left for MoviePass, we plan to join the $19.95 AMC Stubs A-List. It seems like a viable plan due to MoviePass creating the new standard, and it’s affordable entertainment. Granted, we realize that the AMC Stubs A-List is also attempting to kill MoviePass. But it’s the way of business and competition.
“If we don’t join AMC Stubs A-List, we will go back to our original alternative way to save money by only attending movies at matinee prices during the first screening of the day. Otherwise, we will use our Netflix and Fandor plans to watch movies at home again.”
So two people recommended AMC Stubs to us? Oh no, much more than two. No less than three people recommended AMC Stubs to us.
“Since AMC Theatres are all over, it’s worth joining the AMC Stubs programs,” suggested Holly Zink, social media expert for Digital Addicts. “With it, you can get a movie ticket, soda, and popcorn on Tuesdays for just $10 (plus tax)! Also, once you rack up enough points on your stubs car, you get money back to use on tickets and/or concession items.”
We promise AMC did not pay us to find three different experts who all wanted to recommend their service. But if they want to pay us, perhaps in free subscriptions to AMC Stubs, we’ll gladly take that into consideration (hint, hint).
Look for other discounts.
Even if the kinks are still being worked out with these new services, there are other ways you can cut down your viewing costs.
“Groupon is a great site to not only get deals on products, but also movie tickets and concession items,” advised Zink. “All you have to do is go on the Groupon site or app and search “movies.” Then, you can see if any theaters near you have any special discounts. For example, it could be to getting $50 worth of movie vouchers for $30.”
And if you qualify, there’s always the possibility of a senior discount. As Linda Condrillo told us:
“One way to save on the price of admission is to reveal your age! Movie theaters vary in terms of how they define “senior”—Some can be as “young” as 60. So remember to take advantage of your golden years!”
Take time and location into account.
It can be tough waiting to see the big movies these days. You might worry that if you don’t see it opening night, you’ll be dodging spoilers online and in conversations until you do. But if you can stand to wait, you’ll be able to save a lot of money.
Most theaters have cheaper matinee prices if you’re able to watch when others aren’t, like in the morning or early afternoon. Budget theaters will often get movies later than first-run theaters, but the discounts can be pretty significant.
And as long as you can convince at least one person to wait and watch it with you, you’ll still have someone to talk to about the movie once other people have moved on.
As convenient as Fandango may be, it’ll also tack on a couple more bucks to the already exorbitant price of movie tickets. Buying at the box office may be tough if it’s a movie you’re worried will sell out, but if it is an option you can consider, the savings can add up fast, especially if you’re buying tickets for a whole family.
There’s a certain joy to going to see a movie in the theater that just can’t be recreated at home. But by taking the right steps, you can see the blockbusters you want without busting your budget!
Linda Condrillo (@LindaWriteNow) has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on human interest (and interesting human) stories, as well as money-saving tricks and tips. Linda shares “Everything you always wanted to know about frugality, but were afraid of sounding too cheap to ask,” on her money-saving Facebook Fan Page, Frugalinda. Her penny-pinching ways have appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine, First for Women, CNNMoney.com, SpareFoot.com, The Street.com, and GoBanking Rates.com. Connect with Linda on Twitter or Facebook at Frugalinda or LindaWriteNow.
Andrew Tavin is a writer, comedian, and a full-time content manager for OppLoans. He graduated with a BFA in TV Writing from Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, worked as a writer for BrainPOP, and created a branded comedy video series for the National Retail Federation called “Interview Day.” He performs around the country and his writing has also appeared on Collegehumor, Funny or Die, and Sparklife.
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