Going to the movies continues to be "the least expensive form of out-of-home entertainment," according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. Although it is significantly cheaper than a Major League Baseball game or a Broadway show, a trip to the movies, as you moviegoers can probably attest, is not as light on the pocket as it used to be.
Movie admission -- not to mention the bag of buttery popcorn and 16-ounce soda that so nicely accompany it -- costs more and more every year in the United States, as the theater owners group's statistics show, with ticket prices averaging $7.89 in 2010, about a 5 percent increase from 2009. Ticket prices on Long Island tend to be higher, falling mostly in the $8 to $10 range.
On a brighter note, movie theaters across Long Island offer deals throughout the week, ranging from Senior Tuesdays to Student Thursdays to “early bird” cinema everyday, but the deals don’t stop there. Those who are members in groups such as the following can save on movie tickets any day, any time.
AAA: Members can get 40 percent off regular box-office prices for four- to 10-ticket books at participating AMC Theaters, Clearview Cinemas, National Amusements Theaters and Regal Theaters. For example, the AAA member price for a book of four AMC Theater Gold Tickets is $33, saving members $9. Tickets may be purchased at the AAA branch offices in Garden City (229 Seventh St.) and Smithtown (729 Route 347) or online at aaany.com.
Optimum Rewards: Cablevision subscribers who enroll in the company's free Optimum Rewards program can get two free movie tickets on Tuesdays at Clearview Cinemas locations (there are eight on Long Island) by showing their membership card at the box office. Any other day of the week, members can purchase up to four discounted movie tickets-- $7 adults, $5 younger than 12-- for the screening of their choice. (Note: Newsday is owned by Cablevision).
BJ’s: Members save up to 34 percent off via the AMC Theatre Ticket Program, which includes four tickets and a popcorn voucher. Tickets may be purchased in BJ’s retail stores or online at bjs.com.
Costco: Members save up to 35 percent on movie tickets and packages. Tickets may be purchased in packs of four or 10, and are redeemable at AMC Theatres and Regal Theaters. In addition, Costco offers deals on the AMC Movie Bundle (two movie tickets, two small drink vouchers and one small popcorn voucher), as well as the Regal Theaters Ultimate Movie Pack (two Premiere Super Saver tickets and a $10 concession gift card). Movie tickets may be purchased in Costco stores or online at costco.com.
Borders Rewards Perks: With a minimum purchase of eight tickets, members can save up to 35 percent on Regal Theaters tickets and the AMC Theatres’ Special Concessions Package. Tickets may be purchased online at bordersrewardsperks.com.
MasterCard: Cardholders get the same deal as Borders Rewards Perks. Tickets may be purchased online at marketplace.mastercard.com.
Visa: Using your Visa Signature card, get 20 percent off every $25 movie ticket purchase made at Fandango.com.
Working Advantage: If you are employed by a corporation that belongs to the Working Advantage, you can save up to 36 percent on AMC movie tickets. Members pay $8 per ticket, which are sold individually and in packs of eight, 16, 24, 32 and 40. A 50-cent service fee per ticket also applies. Tickets may be redeemed by calling Customer Service at 800-565-3712, or online at workingadvantage.com.
So take advantage of your membership benefits to put some extra cash in your pocket … or maybe toward a nice dinner to go along with that movie night.