The original release of James Cameron’s epic film Titanic was a blockbuster hit 15 years ago. Despite being over a decade old, the re-release of Titanic 3D will undoubtedly move millions of Americans to dip into their savings to relive Jack and Rose’s story and pay tribute to the 100th year anniversary of the fallen Titanic.
While the plot of Titanic 3D hasn’t changed over the years, the cost of going to the movies has. The resurgence of 3D films and ballooning movie theater concessions can make it difficult for financially-strapped moviegoers to shoulder the expense of visiting the big screen.
According to the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA), 2011 U.S. box office sales were at $10.2 billion — up 6 percent from five years ago — and 50 percent of all Americans who went to movie theaters last year viewed at least one 3D feature.
Movie theaters are the leading form of entertainment in the United States, outselling sporting events and theme parks combined. The MPAA suggests that this fact is due to the affordability that going to the movies provides. However, as costs continue to rise viewers will need to seek out ways to save money at the movies and keep to a budget.
How to Watch Titanic 3D on the Cheap
A bit of advanced planning is really the only thing movie buffs need to reduce the cost of going to the movies. These movie theater deals, steals and tips can get you into your local Titanic 3D showing at a fraction of the price.
1. The Matinee Method
Most theaters offer matinees for early bird customers. Tickets for matinees are typically reduced, as movie theaters don’t hit their peak period until after 4 pm.
My favorite neighborhood theater offers $3 off admission costs for the first film showing of the day — that’s $6.50 for a feature premiere like Titanic 3D, a huge monetary relief for savings accounts compared to the $12.50 per ticket at my local AMC megaplex.
As an added benefit, theaters are less crowded earlier in the day, providing consumers with a more pleasant viewing experience (i.e. no obnoxious patrons kicking your chair, more available parking and less disruptions during the movie).
2. Group Affiliations
A few places to find these type of discounts include:
- Costco or other warehouse club: Club memberships offer discounted admission to major movie theaters like AMC, Pacific Theatres and Regal. At Costco, two AMC tickets sell for $15 ($7.50 per ticket) with no showtime restrictions. Moviegoers are already paying for club membership fees, so why not take advantage of its benefits?
- Employer’s HR department: Major corporations often have reduced movie tickets as part of their benefits package.
- University’s Associated Students: Some college organizations like Associated Students or the Student Union provide students with lower ticket prices compared to the regular box office. My alma mater sells AMC and Pacific Theatre tickets at $7 each. Make sure to check for restrictions on new releases as you may have to wait 1-2 weeks to see Titanic 3D with these tickets.
3. Get Social
Big-name films like The Hunger Games and the Titanic 3D release date create a lot of buzz among fans leading up to opening night, and companies like Fandango are riding the blockbuster wave with giveaways.
For a chance at watching the next box office smash for free, visit Fandango’s Facebook page, click “like” and follow their Twitter feed for the latest updates on fun contests, prizes, complimentary tickets and Fandango bucks that can be used toward a future show.
Fans can even go to the film’s dedicated Facebook page for more ways to win cinema goodies and free tickets.
4. Theater Loyalty Program
AMC and Regal theaters are just a few companies that manage a loyalty program for their regular customers. Most loyalty programs are free of charge, but some programs are paid services like AMC’s Stubs card, which requires a $12 annual fee. Patrons who frequent the movies regularly can earn reward points for discounted or free food and beverages and rack up points for free admission.
5. Skip Film and Sound Enhancements
An appeal of Titanic 3D is the visual prospects of watching the cruise liner sail out of the screen for a life-like simulation. However, special film enhancements like IMAX screenings and 3D movie versions can blow budgets before patrons even take their seats.
3D and IMAX films require special projectors to show the movie in theaters and installing this high-tech equipment permanently into each theater is not cost effective for theater owners. As a result, movie theaters require that customers pay a surcharge of $3-4 per ticket to offset the cost of renting 3D and IMAX devices.
To avoid having these charges passed onto you, determine whether the movie is really worth paying for the better visual and sound quality.
6. Avoid the Concession Counter
Concession sales account for 85 percent of movie theater sales, according to TIME Moneyland. When standing in the long lines for your popcorn and soda, take a moment to really evaluate the menu prices.
What is typically a $0.60 bag of popcorn at the grocery store is marked up to about $7 at the theaters. The same inflated prices are strewn across every time sold at the snack counter, including the $8 nachos, $5 boxes of candy and $5 beverages.
An effective way to cut the cost of going to the movies is to plan for your movie-time cravings ahead of time.
- Eat outside the theater: Instead of waiting for your stomach to grumble or succumbing to the temptation of buttery popcorn, eat at a restaurant before (or after) the movie. The portions and food quality will tremendously outweigh what is sold inside theaters and for equal or lesser price.
- Tote your own snacks: Most movie theaters have a no-outside food policy, but there usually aren’t any pat down procedures in place to enforce this rule. At their own discretion, gutsy moviegoers can save about $20 just by packing market-bought candy, snacks and soda before stepping foot in the theater.
- Share the wealth: Concession snacks cost a fortune, so those who must have the theater-going experience with a bag of fresh popcorn can share the wealth by sharing a large bag of popcorn and divvying-up candy with friends and family.
- Avoid kid’s combos: If your little one has an insatiable appetite when watching movies, stay away from kid’s combo packs at the concession stand. These money-wasters offer miniature portions of popcorn, candy and a drink, but at about $6.75 — almost the cost of a large popcorn. Wallets are better off when parents share snacks and beverages with their kids.
Set Sail and Save Money at the Movies
Unless you decide to wait for a film’s DVD release or next Netflix availability, chances are you’ll have to sacrifice a some of your spending budget for cinema entertainment — but why spend premium dollars on a movie that you’re likely seeing the second time around? Save money at the movies with these tips and shave off the cost of watching Titanic 3D on the big screen.