How to get cheap cinema tickets and discounts
Here are some ways you can save money on seeing movies on the big screen.
Love to go to the movies? There are plenty of ways you can 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, Disney Screenings and Momentum Pictures. 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.
Sky customers can get tickets for £3 every Monday for films at the O2 Cineworld in North Greenwich, London (two per household).
The broadcaster also runs national screenings at various locations for Sky Movies customers giving them the chance to see new movies before anyone else. You can get two tickets per household. Keep checking the Sky Rewards site for film details.
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 Tuesdays and Thursdays
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 £2.95 and £3.50 each. The offer excludes Bank Holidays, Impact, Luxury and VIP seating, opera, 3D and special presentations. The chain’s Leicester Square branch is also exempt from the offer. However the cinema does offer £9.95 tickets across all screens, all day – 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 Tuesday, but you must book in the cinema.
Vue has Super Saver Tuesdays at most of its cinemas, which offers seats from just £5.75 each 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 £14.99 a month. This is a great deal if you watch several films each month, and have a local Cineworld of course.
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. You’ll need 800 points for a standard cinema ticket, 400 for a small portion of popcorn or 300 for a small drink. There are also regular points offers and special members' discounts. The club does cost to join, with membership options starting from £1.99 with 100 introductory points. Pay £4.99 and you’ll get 500 points or £9.99 for 1,000 points. 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 phone customers can get two for one on cinema tickets every Wednesday; just text ‘FILM’ to 241 to receive your offer code.
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.
You can redeem your Nectar points at Vue cinemas. 500 points will knock £2.50 off your ticket.
Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for admission tokens at three cinema chains. At Cineworld, it will cost you £4-worth of vouchers for an adult token and £3 for a child. At Odeon, it's £4.50 for an adult and £3.50 for a child, while at Movie House cinemas in Northern Ireland it's £3.50 for an adult and £2.50 for a child.
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.
Selected weekend and school holiday screenings at Odeon cinemas are also discounted. Accompanying adults go free, while kids pay between £1 and £2.50. 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).
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.
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.
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 possible, 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.
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.
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.
How do you save money at the cinema? Let us know using the Comments box below.
This is a classic lovemoney article that is regularly updated