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How to get free and cheap cinema tickets

lovemoney staff
by Lovemoney Staff lovemoney staff on 03 March 2014  |  Comments 13 comments

Here are some ways you can save money on seeing movies on the big screen.

How to get free and cheap cinema tickets

From Oscar winners to arthouse films, there are plenty of ways to get free or cheap cinema tickets. Lights, camera, action...

Free preview screenings

Free tickets are often given away to promote new films. However only selected titles are previewed so you’ll need to sign up to specific sites to get hold of screening codes as they are released. Try See Film First, Show Film First, the Total Film Club and Disney Screenings. The Free Movies UK forum is also worth registering for, as members share details of the latest free screenings.

Students can get hold of tickets to free screenings at Picturehouse cinemas by joining the E4 Slackers Club via Facebook.

Virgin Media customers

Virgin Media customers get the chance to attend free film screenings once a month via Movies First. You can get two tickets per household.

Cheap weekdays

Some Cineworld cinemas have Bargain Tuesdays with a third off ticket prices all day.

Empire Cinemas also offer cheap tickets on a Tuesday. Prices range between £3.25 and £4 each. The offer excludes Bank Holidays, Impact, Luxury and VIP seating, opera, 3D and special presentations. The chain’s Leicester Square venue is also exempt from the offer. However that cinema does offer £9.95 tickets across all screens, all day on Tuesdays – relatively cheap for London’s West End. It also offers discounts on some films that are coming to the end of their run on Last Chance To See Thursdays – check the website for details.

Odeon gives all Premiere Club cardholders 25% off every Monday.

Vue has Super Saver Tuesdays at most of its cinemas, which offers up to a third off all day on a Tuesday. You need to sign up for a free membership card to get the discount.

Discount tickets and membership schemes

Cineworld has the My Cineworld scheme, which gets you 10% off when you book online. It also offers an Unlimited card which gets you access to as many movies as you like from £15.90 a month. This is a great deal if you watch several films each month and have a local Cineworld.

The Odeon Premiere Club allows you to earn 10 points for every £1 you spend in the cinema. These points can then be spent on tickets, food or drink. There are also regular points offers and special members' discounts. The club does cost to join, with membership options starting from £1.99, but you get some free points to start you off when you sign up. Head to the Odeon website for more details.

Membership of Picturehouse cinemas will give you three free tickets, £2 off tickets for a year with further discounts after this, 10% off food and drink at the cinema, priority booking and a host of other discounts at restaurants and cafes such as Strada and GBK. The Picturehouse website has full details. A single membership costs between £27 and £40. Joint membership (two people at one address) costs between £49 and £75. What’s more, you’ll get three months free if you renew by direct debit.

Showcase has the Insider Club, which offers £5 tickets on Sundays after 7pm, and all day Mondays and Tuesdays. You'll also get money off food and drink and the chance to win tickets to free preview screenings.

Vue offers two-for-one tickets for selected films. Go to its latest offers page for more information.

Orange Wednesdays

Orange customers can get two-for-one on cinema tickets every Wednesday – there's more info on the Orange website.

O2 Priority Moments

O2 often has cinema deals through its Priority Moments scheme. Keep checking the website and phone app for new updates and discounts.

Nectar card

You can redeem your Nectar points at Vue cinemas. 500 points will knock £2.50 off your ticket.

Tesco Clubcard

Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for admission tokens at three cinema chains: Cineworld, Odeon and Movie House.

Kids and teen tickets

Most major cinemas offer discounts for children at specific times. 

Cineworld has £1 tickets for both adults and kids on selected Saturday and Sunday morning screenings through its Movies for Juniors programme. You can also save 10% if you register for a My Cineworld account online and book through that.

Empire runs Junior screenings on Saturday and Sundays costing £1 each (£1.50 in central London) for both adults and children.

Odeon screens discounted Kids movies at certain cinemas on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Accompanying adults go free, while kids pay between £1 and £3. Check your local cinema listings for more details. Adult tickets for 13-17-year-olds at Odeon cinemas also have 15% knocked off. Those buying family entry will also get all their tickets at child prices.

Vue has £1.75 tickets for both kids and accompanying adults on selected weekend mornings and throughout school holidays. Head to the Kids AM offer page for further details. Vue also offers a deal for families whereby everyone pays the price of a kid’s ticket when you buy a family ticket (based on four people).

Senior tickets

Most cinemas offer discounted tickets for seniors.

A couple of chains also run senior screenings and throw in a free hot drink and biscuit for you to enjoy while you watch the film.

Vue has the Seniors Club, Empire has seniors screenings on Wednesdays for £3 a ticket, and Odeon has Senior Screen (check your local listings).

Student tickets

If you’re a student you’ll be able to get hold of discounted tickets at most cinemas. But make sure you have your ID to hand.

Carer passes

If you are receiving Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or are registered blind you can apply for a CEA card that allows a carer (parent, family member, worker etc.) to enter the cinema for free when you buy a full-price ticket.

Go off-peak if you can

If you can, going to the cinema in off-peak times (weekdays before 5pm) will slash pounds off your ticket price. Predictably, evenings and weekends cost the most.

Local deals

Keep an eye out for local deals and offers at independent cinemas. 

Voucher codes

Watch out for voucher code and cashback deals on sites like VoucherCodes.co.uk, MyVoucherCodes, Quidco and TopCashback. And like the lovemoney.com Facebook page to stay up to date with any new deals, discounts and offers.

3D specs

Most cinemas will charge you for 3D glasses. So make sure you hold on to them and bring them back next you watch a 3D film.

Your tips

How do you save money at the cinema? Let us know using the Comments box below.

Love film? Then have a read of Where to watch free movies legally online.

This is a classic lovemoney article that is regularly updated

More money-saving tips:

Where to find voucher codes

Cut the cost of theatre tickets

Cheap and free days out

Cheap nights out

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Comments (13)

  • sprog34
    Love rating 13
    sprog34 said

    Is sngle57 still alive ?. No decent films to see,what a stupid comment. I am 79 years old and I have,in the last three months seen Blue Jasmine,Gravity,Philomena,Capt.Phillips,All is Lost,Nebraska,Journal De France,The Railwayman,12 Years a Slave and Mandela,Long walk to freedom. 10 great films.I am of an age where I can remember films of the 40`s and thereafter and most of my family make the same comments about today`s films similar to single57.However not one of them ever goes to the cinema.They make comments such as there are no great stars like there used to be.Yes they were great stars,but,there are great stars today as well.

    Report on 03 March 2014  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • hushhush
    Love rating 3
    hushhush said

    Just wanted to say thanks to sprog34 for a refreshingly positive comment and impressive cinematic appetite.

    Also echoing the comments of others about snacks. While you can get good discounts on tickets, refreshments can cost as much as the price of admission and are rarely discounted. I also take my own snacks, but having had my bag searched in the past (really), you need to be careful.

    Report on 09 March 2014  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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