It’s official – Canadians can’t get enough of the big screen. According to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada, movie-going is our favourite form of entertainment outside the home, with more than two thirds of the population catching a flick at least once a year.
In fact, despite access to cheap content streaming sites and downloads, we’re heading to the movies more often – the Motion Picture Association of America found the number of movie-goers is rising in every demographic, with 57 per cent going monthly or more. Box office totals raked in $10.8 billion in 2012 – a 12 per cent increase over the past five years.
But that doesn’t mean ticket prices have gotten any cheaper; expect a night at the movies for two (including a popcorn combo) to total $42.95. That’s hardly a cost-effective date night, or cheap way to keep the kids entertained a few hours.
The good news – there are plenty of discounts and hacks to be had at the box office. Check out these ways to make movie entertainment far less expensive.
1: Earn Points Toward Your Entertainment Costs
Hey, we all deserve to have a little fun – but coughing up $50 for a few hours of entertainment can be tough on a constrained budget. With a little savvy credit card use, though, the silver screen experience can be had for less!
A great option is the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card, which earns points toward free movies. Right off the bat, you’ll score 4,000 sign up points (the equivalent of four free movies – a $51.80-dollar value), and you’ll earn one point on the dollar with every purchase you make (including those necessary grocery trips).
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The card also earns five points on the dollar when used at Cineplex locations, earns 140 points per movie, and earns a free movie for every 1,000 points. Oh, and it packs a 10 per cent discount for those who just can’t resist that concession stand.
2: Say No To Super-Pricey Snacks
Wonder how theatres justify charging three times the price for popcorn and candy? The truth is, hungry viewers are bearing the brunt for the theatre’s revenue recouping efforts. While concession purchases count for only 20 per cent of a theatre’s sales (according to a Stanford University study), they account for 40 per cent of its revenue.
This price-setting scheme is a result of the steep payouts theatres must pay to movie distributors (up to 70 per cent of ticket sales), along with overhead costs such as employee payroll and maintenance. Paying for new technologies, such as retrofitting theatres for 3D movies, also eats into the bottom line.
Theatres are loathe to hike ticket prices, which is why popcorn has been the subject of hot air inflation. In fact, the price of the popular movie snack has inflated 666 per cent since 1929!
3: Bide Your Time
They say patience is a virtue – and, when it comes to movie prices, it certainly pays to wait. Lining up for opening night won’t do you any favours when most theaters offer a discount day on all screenings (Cineplex charges $8 instead of $12.50 per adult ticket on Tuesdays).
If you can stand waiting until the buzz dies down, many major movie titles can also be caught at discount movie theaters for a fraction of the ticket price (Rainbow Cinemas and Magic Lantern Theatres are famous for their $2 tickets).