How to get free and cheap cinema tickets

If the Bank Holiday weekend is a washout, here's how to catch a new release at the cinema without spending a fortune.

Bag a family deal

Odeon currently has a great offer which allows a family of four to enjoy a movie, snacks and a drink for just £30.

The deal includes four tickets (only one needs to be for an adult) for a standard 2D movie, one regular popcorn, two regular soft drinks and two Kid’s Mix options, which includes kid’s-size drinks, snacks or popcorn.

You can also go as a family of three for £26. The deal is available until September 8.

Sadly certain Odeon venues aren’t participating in the offer. These include Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Panton Street, Tottenham Court Road and the Lounge at Whiteleys.

Go off-peak on weekdays

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.

Some Cineworld cinemas have Bargain Tuesdays which offers cheaper tickets (discounts vary) all day.

Empire Cinemas also offer cheap tickets on a Tuesday from £4.50 each as part of its Sav£rday Tuesday deal. 

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. 

It also offers discounts on some films that are coming to the end of their run on Last Chance To See Thursdays.

Odeon offers Supersaver tickets Monday to Thursday before 5pm

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

Kids and teen tickets

Most major cinemas offer discounts for children at specific times. 

Cineworld has £2 tickets (£3.50 for £D films) for both adults and kids on selected Saturday and Sunday morning screenings through its Movies for Juniors programme.

Empire runs Junior screenings on Saturday and Sundays at ‘pocket money prices’ for both adults and children.

Odeon screens discounted Kids movies at certain cinemas on Saturday and Sunday mornings and through the school summer holidays with tickets at £2.50. Check your local cinema listings for more details. Adult tickets for 13 to 17-year-olds at Odeon cinemas also have money knocked off. Those buying family entry will also get all their tickets at child prices.

Vue has £1.99 tickets (£3.29 for 3D) for both kids and accompanying adults on selected weekend mornings and throughout school holidays. Head to the Mini Mornings offer page for further details.

Certain Vue venues also offer 20% off adult tickets for teens aged 13-18 years old. While with a family ticket, everyone pays the child ticket price (four people, with a minimum of two children in a group).

Discount tickets and membership schemes

Cineworld offers an Unlimited card which gets you access to as many movies as you like from £16.90 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.

Odeon has also launched a new membership card, Odeon Limitless, which offers cinema goers the chance to see any film they want, as often as they want to in Odeon cinemas across the UK and Ireland. The launch of this new card offers film fans the opportunity to visit Odeon cinemas as many times as they like for a monthly fee of £17.99 in almost all cinemas, and a monthly fee of £19.99 for central London cinemas.

Membership of Picturehouse cinemas will give you four free tickets, up to £2 off tickets for a year, 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 £15 and £55. Joint membership (two people at one address) costs between £90 and £95. What’s more, you’ll get three months free if you renew by direct debit.

Showcase has the Insider Club, which offers £6.50 (£8.50 for 3D films) 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 regularly has offers for new releases. Go to its latest offers page for more information.

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 Cinema Club, Empire has Empire Seniors on Wednesday mornings and Odeon has Silver Cinema with tickets for £3 (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.

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 Show Film First, the Total Film ClubParamount Previews 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

Earn rewards

With the free Cinetreats app (available for Android) you can earn rewards called ‘stubs’ for doing simple tasks like doing a survey or downloading new apps firms want to try out.

The stubs can then be exchanged for free cinema tickets at your local theatre.

How to get cheap and free cinema tickets

Use Nectar or Clubcard points

You can use Nectar points to save money on cinema tickets at Vue. With 5000 points you can get a £2.50 discount on the cost of your tickets.

Meanwhile Tesco Clubcard holders can use boost the value of their vouchers to save at certain cinemas. You can exchange £3.50 worth of vouchers for a child’s ticket or £4.50 worth of vouchers for an adult’s ticket at Odeon or Cineworld.

Money off passes for carers

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.

Local deals

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

Use a cashback website

Cashback websites like TopCashback and Quidco often have amazing deals at cinemas.

At the moment Quidco is offering £8.10 cashback while TopCashback is offering £9.13 cashback on the Cineworld Unlimited card subscription, which costs £16.90 a month.

Voucher codes

Watch out for voucher code offers on sites like VoucherCodes.co.uk and MyVoucherCodes.

Daily deals sites

Check out daily deals sites like Groupon, which may feature discount offers on cinema tickets.

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