How Much Do Matinee Movie Tickets Cost?

Last Updated on April 20, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Matinee showtimes at movie theaters, typically scheduled early afternoon before evening hours, offer specially discounted ticket pricing compared to primetime night showings. But how much can you actually expect to save off regular adult admission by attending movies during matinee times?

This guide dives into all the pricing factors impacting matinee movie ticket costs, comparisons of matinee and evening show savings in detail, insider tips for finding the very best matinee deals, other benefits beyond just cost savings to matinee screenings, and big picture budget cinema strategies that maximize savings and value from theater experiences. Let’s explore matinee movie ticket pricing intricacies.

How Much Do Matinee Movie Tickets Cost?

Depending on location, discounts can range from 25-40% or more off evening prices. In absolute dollar terms, matinee tickets average $6 to $10 compared to $12 to $16 for adult evening show tickets in most domestic theaters. Significant savings families and deal-seekers can realize by carefully choosing matinee showtimes.

Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s offer discounted movie tickets, sometimes in the form of gift cards for major movie theater chains. Local grocery stores or gas stations may also provide cheap movie tickets.

AAA members can save up to 40%, senior citizens up to 35%, and children, students, and military members often receive discounted tickets. Credit cards like the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offer 5% cash back at movie theaters when activated as one of your Cash+ Categories.

The Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts, offers matinee prices for the first showing of feature films before 3 pm, which are $14.25 for adults, $13.25 for Coolidge Members, $14.25 for children (12 or under), $14.25 for senior (62 plus), and $14.25 for disabled patrons with T.A.P. card2.

A Reddit user mentioned that the price of a regular screening adult ticket for the weekend at a Cineplex theatre is $14.50 before tax, with cheaper prices on Tuesdays3.

Showcase Cinemas offers a subscription service called Showcase Subscribe, which starts at $9.50 per month and allows you to watch movies without blackout days, flexible format options, and save 15% on concessions purchased on the Showcase Subscribe App. Starpass members earn a 10% reward on their subscription fee and any additional purchases on the app5.

Factors Impacting Matinee Movie Ticket Pricing

Matinee discounts were originally introduced to boost attendance during typically slow early daytime hours at theaters. The exact price reduction amount is influenced by several factors:

  • Theater Location – Major metropolitan areas with high costs of living and operating cinemas have higher base adult evening ticket prices, so the matinee discounts off those amounts can also be greater in cities. Smaller town cinemas with lower baseline costs offer smaller absolute price drops.
  • Standard vs. Premium Movie Format – Basic 2D matinee showings are the most heavily discounted versus evening listings. But premium 3D, IMAX, and specialty presentation matinee screenings have higher base prices closer to evening 2D, so the matinee discount amount is larger.
  • Day of the Week – Monday through Thursday matinee showtimes typically see lower base pricing than Friday through Sunday matinees since weekends have higher attendance overall.
  • Matinee Start Time – The earliest matinee screenings offered, like 10 AM or 11 AM on weekdays, sometimes get discounted slightly more than matinees starting later in the afternoon around 1 PM to capitalize on even lower early turnout.
  • Cinema Chain Promotions – Some chains like AMC and Regal offer special discounted matinee pricing exclusively to members of their free loyalty programs to incentivize joining. Others have family or student matinee deals.

Evaluating these contributing variables allows moviegoers to strategically plan cost-effective matinee outings timed to maximize potential savings off common evening show prices in their area based on theater locations, formats, and days. Understanding the pricing factors pays off.

Matinee vs Evening Ticket Price

Based on industry-wide theater pricing analyses, the typical matinee discount amount represents savings of 25-40% or more off full adult evening ticket prices:

  • Adult Evening Primetime Show Price Range – $12 to $16 for adult tickets at nighttime and evening shows between 6 PM and close.
  • Adult Matinee Pricing – $6 to $10 for adult matinee tickets to shows starting before noon to as late as 6 PM depending on theater.

A few other insightful comparisons:

  • Senior citizen ticket pricing sees a smaller gap, with evening tickets averaging around $7 and matinees around $6.
  • Children’s pricing has the least variance, with $8 evenings and $6 matinees common.
  • For premium formats like IMAX and 3D, matinee savings percentages widen due to high evening costs.

The key takeaway is matinee times translate to significant savings, especially for adult tickets which see the highest regular evening prices. Attending just 1-2 hours earlier makes a measurable dollar difference per cinema outing.

The Best Matinee Movie Ticket Deals

Savvy moviegoers can maximize their matinee ticket savings by strategically timing their cinema outings around these insider tips:

  • Proactively check individual cinema company websites for their exact matinee times – pricing often starts discounted as early 10 AM on weekdays.
  • Monday through Thursday matinees before 6 PM offer the lowest minimum pricing due to lower demand compared to weekends.
  • Thursdays often have special matinee deals on new major release films that theaters are promoting.
  • Smaller independent and arthouse cinemas frequently have bargain regular promotions like $5 matinees every Tuesday.
  • Several chains including Cinemark and Marcus offer reduced $5 – $6 matinee prices for students, military, and kids during select matinee windows.
  • Weekends usually see lowest children’s matinee prices on Saturdays and Sundays before noon to drive family attendance.

Putting in small amounts of initial research to surface and capitalize on matinee promotions for a given theater chain amplifies available discounts dramatically and puts moviegoing within most entertainment budgets.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a movie theater birthday party, movie theater rental, or making a low budget movie.

Additional Benefits of Matinee Films

Aside from the considerable pricing discounts compared to evening shows, matinee showtimes provide some other desirable advantages as well:

  • Less Crowded Theaters – More open seats and shorter lines make for a less hectic moviegoing experience.
  • Easier Parking/Seating Access – Better availability of prime center seats and handicapped parking right up front.
  • Wider Open Seating Selection – Groups can sit together more easily with vacant adjacent seats.
  • More Relaxed Pace – No need to rush, which caters better to families with small kids and seniors.
  • Quieter Audiences – Less disruptive noise allows deeper immersion in the movie.
  • Daytime Schedule Synergies – Conveniently coordinated with errands, shopping, and dining out.

While matinees trade off the energetic primetime evening experience to some degree, the pricing discounts coupled with low-key conveniences can prove advantageous for many.

Overall Budget Moviegoing Tips

Matinee MoviesAside from matinee planning, movie lovers have many additional strategies to economize on cinema experiences:

  • Compare ticket prices and loyalty programs between local theater chains using online ticketing – significant variances exist.
  • Check if cinema mobile apps offer exclusive matinee deals or lower concession coupons to members.
  • Avoid splurging on pricier combo deals, premium concessions items, and snacks inside to control costs.
  • Enroll in discounted membership programs like AARP Movies for Grownups that email additional matinee promotions.
  • For families, split large popcorn and combo meals and sneak in your own cheaper bottled drinks and candy from outside instead.
  • Carefully weigh if the added fees for 3D, IMAX or similar premium formats really enhance enjoyment versus just increasing pricing.

With flexible timing choices, savvy pre-planning, and prudent selective spending, attending matinee showtimes makes catching the newest cinema releases comfortably affordable within most entertainment budgets.

Final Words

Attending matinee movie showtimes allows significant per-ticket savings of 25% or more compared to full-price adult evening shows for cost-conscious audiences.

Thoughtfully researching and planning strategic discounted matinee showtimes around the lowest-priced days, theater chains, films, and promotions can maximize savings potential even further.

While trading off some conveniences of primetime night outings, budget-focused moviegoers find matinee screenings stretch entertainment dollars while still providing the full cinematic experience at off-peak daytime hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of matinee pricing?

Matinee pricing refers to specially discounted ticket rates 25-40% or more below regular evening adult prices for shows starting between 10am and 2pm typically before evening hours begin. Family-friendly midday moviegoing.

What days are movie tickets cheapest?

Monday through Thursday matinees tend to have the lowest base ticket prices due to lower demand midweek. Many cinemas also offer extra discounts on traditionally slower Tuesdays or have special student and military matinee deals certain midweek days only.

Is it cheaper to see a movie during the day?

Absolutely, the per-ticket savings are substantial, especially on adult tickets which see the highest regular evening prices. Matinee discounts frequently save $4 to over $6+ per ticket compared to prime 7pm and later evening shows. Those savings truly add up for families or frequent moviegoers.

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