Back in the old days, before most of us (including me) remember, people had to go out to see a movie. It was an experience, and a common form of entertainment. Do that today, and it could end up being a costly experience.
At the local theatres, it’s about $10 a ticket for going out to the movies at night. Let’s say there are two of you going out – that makes it $20 just on tickets. While you’re there, you might get tempted to get a bag of popcorn, candy, or a soft drink. Each of those will likely set you back another $2 to $5, based on what you’re buying. All told, it’s easy to spend $25 for two people to go out to the movies, at many theatres.
Admittedly, I do like to go out to the movies. It’s fun to go out and get a real theatre experience, with the requisite big screen and high quality sound. I don’t go very often these days, maybe a few times a year. It’s enjoyable to go, but there are other options for watching movies, and I’ve taken to a few of them.
Here are some lower cost alternatives to paying full price at the movies:
That same $10 full-price movie might be, oh, say $7.50 for a matinee showing. Sure, you’ll have to go earlier in the day, thus taking away from the traditional “night out at the movies” experience. But hey, for two of you that’s $5 saved. The way my mind works, is taking that $5, multiplying it by an annual rate of return of 8%, and you will have an extra $34 after 25 years. So see, it can be worth it to see a matinee! 🙂
Sometimes, you can go see movies for less money by going to a low budget place. Some of these are actually pretty decent. I recently went to a place that offered new releases, for much lower price. I believe we paid $6 per ticket for a prime time show. Now, the theatre is much older, without many of the niceties of more modern venues. However, it’s a good option for going out to see a newer movie while paying less.
I know there’s a place within a 30 minute drive from where I live that offers $2 movies. Haven’t been there, but someone who has told me that it was totally worth it. For many of us, these options do exist. We just have to seek them out – and many times, be pleasantly surprised!
If you really want to go old school, you could do this. Aside from theatres, this was another venue of several generations ago. Not far from where I live, there’s a drive-in that offers showings for less than what you’d pay at a traditional indoor venue. I believe they’re in the $5 to $8 range. Anyway, it’s a way to save a few bucks and more importantly get a different experience.
Speaking to the streaming plan, for $8 you can watch unlimited movies. Clearly, despite recent controversy, this option is very popular. Netflix accounts for a staggering percentage of internet bandwith, recently noted at 32% of U.S. downstream traffic at peak times. I’ve enjoyed the unlimited option with Netflix to some extent, as it’s convenient and super low cost. However, you likely won’t be getting the newest, most popular current movies with this plan from what I’ve experienced. Something to consider.
With my provider, newer movies cost about $5 to watch. It’s convenient, as you just push a few buttons and you get to watch a movie. That seems too high to me, and I’d say that there are better alternatives. However, it’s clearly cheaper than going out to the movies.
Around here, these kiosks are seemingly everywhere. At $1 per day for a regular DVD rental – or $1.50 per day for BluRay – this is a good, low cost option for people who are on the go. I’ve enjoyed Redbox, and it’s a good way to get a movie for a very low cost. As long as you know you can return it the next day, and don’t have to go out of the way to visit the kiosk, it seems like a good alternative.
Purchasing DVDs Online
I, for one, love thriller movies and when I find a good one, I like to watch it numerous times. As a result, I find that purchasing DVDs online makes sense, since I can often find much lower prices than traditional retailers. Of course, this is also much cheaper than going to the movies, so I can simply invite friends or my date over to my house to enjoy a selection from my DVD collection. Having these DVDs on hand at all times means that I can watch my favorite movies without having to leave the house.
This is my current favorite alternative. For the cost of – well, nothing – you can check out a movie for up to a week at the local library here. The selection is actually pretty good. Of course the free concept is hard to beat, but I also like that you generally have some time to watch the movie. One downside is that the movies get viewed quite a bit, so the DVDs might not always operate perfectly. Or, at least one recent one I rented skipped a couple times. But most of the time, they’re totally fine – and all of the time, they’re free! As long as they’re not overdue, anyway! 🙂
There are plenty of other options: Amazon, Apple iTunes, Vudu, and Blockbuster. With the latter, they’re still around with some varied options, though I think it’s interesting how Blockbuster might have been the first option if an article like this would have been written a decade ago. Now, it’s almost a footnote here.
My Questions for You
What’s your current favorite way to watch movies?
How often do you go out to a theatre to see movies?