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Sunday, 9 January 2011

The UK Movie Money Guide

The joy of cinema
I love movies. I love going to the cinema; sitting in those cosy furnished seats, popcorn on my lap, friends either side and somebody gorgeous like Gerard Butler on a giant screen in front of me acting his cute little bum off. However, I don’t know about you, maybe I’m just a bit poor, but I think charging £8.40 for this experience is extortionate. For that same amount I could get eight items in Poundland, two DVDs in the HMV January sale, a main and dessert in Weatherspoons or a bundle of classic movies to rent from Blockbuster. Yet at my local cinema, £8.40 will get you just one movie and then you’ll have to pay another extortionate amount for your drink and popcorn. God forbid you want a bag of Minstrels as well. So the way I see it, I have a few options left and I thought I might share them in case you too need eight things in Poundland.

Get a cinema card
If you have a Cineworld nearby then you can pay a direct debit of £13.50 per month to see as many films as you want. Without the cinema card, you couldn’t see two movies for that amount at a Cineworld. However, with the card you could see every current film three times if you wanted to, all for only £13.50 per month. This must be why they’ve named it the Unlimited Card.
Now, as with everything in life, there are a few catches. First of all, you have to have your photo on the card which means no your friends can’t use it too. Not to mention, you still have to pay for movies that you pre-book, it will cost you £1.50 for 3D movies and the card excludes London’s West End cinemas. On the bright side, you get access to exclusive competitions, advanced screenings, festivals and events, as well as film updates and deals on confectionaries. See: http://www.cineworld.co.uk/unlimited.
Other cinemas also offer similar deals such as ODEON’s Premi√®re Club Scheme which works on a points system. See: http://www.odeon.co.uk/fanatic/scheme-summary/ but make sure you read the small print. And don’t forget Vue Cinemas which may not have an overall cinema card but instead offer different deals for different groups of people, such as specific deals for kids, teens or families. See: http://www.myvue.com/value/.
Student discounts
Are you a student? Brilliant! Get yourself an NUS card (National Union of Students). See: http://www.nus.org.uk/. This will reduce you cinema fare dramatically. Another option is to visit the Student Beans website which sometimes has 2 for 1 cinema deals. See: http://www.studentbeans.com/
Try different venues
See movies at local public halls and theatres. They aren’t usually as modern as a chain cinema but they can have other perks such as cheaper tickets, cheaper confectionaries and sometimes between the trailers and the main feature you get someone come into the screening with a little ice cream tray!
Try a different viewing time
Going to the cinema at different times or on different days can often work out cheaper. Depending on the cinema, weekdays are sometimes cheaper than weekends. Also, morning and daytime films sometimes cost less than evening films. For example, you can currently save 25% at Vue Cinemas if you attend a pre-5pm viewing Monday to Thursday. See: http://www.myvue.com/value/.
Be a bit naughty
Smuggle in your own food and drink. Admittedly shop bought popcorn isn’t the same as cinema popcorn but it is about a quarter of the price.
Make a request
When people ask you what you want your birthday/Christmas/graduation and so on, ask for cinema vouchers. And don’t forget to suggest the same thing to a mate so you have someone who can go with you on film day.
Be a film critic
Find a company or media source that offers free cinema screenings in return for movie reviews. Try your local newspaper as a starting point and go from there. You could get to see films for free, before anyone else and have reviews published under your name. Brilliant!
Attend a film festival
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the movie world for film rumours, reviews, specific film genres and cultures and free screenings. See: http://www.britfilms.com/festivals/.
'You should have gone to Specsavers’ becomes ‘You should have brought 3D glasses with you’
Bring your own 3D glasses. Buy your specs instead of renting them each time. Once you have a pair you will be able to use them time and time again which will save you money in the long term.
Try fancy dress
Dress up as the characters from the film you’re going to see. This probably won’t get you in for free but if you’re lucky you might manage to swindle some better seats. If not, at least it will be a good laugh!
Shop around
Check if tickets can be cheaper by buying from the cinema’s ticket machine, from a box office or by using deals online. If there’s a group of you, try and get a group deal, but this would depend on the cinema. If you type ‘Cinema Deals’ into your search engine so many offers appear. Just be careful you don’t get scammed by any dodgy sites out there. Always do your research first before parting with your money.
A fruit and a colour meets a mid-week day...
And surely you must have heard of Orange Wednesdays?! Need I say more?

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