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Cutting movie costs

The Academy Awards always sets off a rush of movie watching, whether you're catching up on the winning films you missed, or pledging to catch next year's contenders in theaters. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, tells how to slash your movie bill.


Buy bulk passes can save you money. Daily deal sites like Groupon and warehouse clubs like Costco offer packs of passes to big theater chains. You'll save 35% to 50% off box-office prices. But there's usually a surcharge of a few dollars on 3D and IMAX titles.

Check out on-demand deals. Cable companies and sites that offer streaming video rentals often offer steep discounts on a rotating selection of films. Apple's 99-cent weekly special is 75% off its usual prices for recent releases. Make sure your Internet connection is fast enough to avoid lags and other problems.

Skip the big theaters. At independent theaters and so-called dollar chains, tickets can start at just 75 cents. You'll have to wait to see big hits, though. Most show movies that first arrived in theaters two or three months ago.

Grab those discount codes. Movie rental stores and kiosks regularly offer deals for a free night's rental. Get on their email lists, and hunt coupon code sites before you head to the kiosk. Just make sure you return the movie by the next day's deadline or you'll be charged for an extra night.

Pick up secondhand gift cards online. Sites like eBay and PlasticJungle.com often have cards for movie theaters and movie rental chains. You can save up to 30% off the face value of the card. You can also sell unwanted cards in exchange for Amazon credit, which works for renting streaming video titles.

For more information on movie deals and other consumer tips click here.