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Bargain Blockbusters: How to Get More Movie for Your Money

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By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch

RISMEDIA, June 19, 2007-(MarketWatch)-It used to be that going to the movies was an affordable option for people seeking refuge from the blistering summer sun. Not anymore.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, an adult ticket can run you as much as $10.50. Bring a date and buy some popcorn and you’ll find the bill inching towards $40! But don’t start compiling your summer reading list just yet. Here are four ways film buffs can enjoy the show without breaking the bank:

- AAA membership really does have its privileges. Members of the big auto club are entitled to a variety of discounts on hotels, theme parks and — that’s right — movie tickets. If you’re willing to wait until two weeks after a movie has premiered, you can save up to 40% by purchasing movie tickets from AAA’s Web site ( www.aaa.com).

- Warehouse clubs have thought of everything! Wholesale outlets, like Sam’s Club, don’t just sell bulk paper towels and socks anymore — they also hawk cut-rate movie vouchers. Right now, Costco it is offering five Regal Entertainment tickets for $37.50. They can used for any movie at any time and never expire.

- Theater deals and discounts. If you’re a regular patron of a multiplex, such as AMC or United Artists, find out if they have a discount program. A number of chains now offer club cards. Membership usually doesn’t cost anything and you can earn free tickets and other goodies if you go often enough. Many theatre Web sites also offer bulk rates to people buying large numbers of tickets.

- Check online. If you aren’t a certified movie hound prepared to buy your tickets in bulk, consider checking out eBay. People often use the online auction house to offload extra tickets for upcoming shows at deeply discounted rates. You can also buy bargain priced movie-ticket books from Web sites such as Entertainment.com and Eversave.com.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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