Hi! Gwilym’s gone, so this week I’m taking you through the best of new pop culture, cult classics, and readers’ picks.
Before: Going to the cinema is a popular pastime for many, but – like so many things these days – it can also put a strain on the bank account. Last week we told you about some streaming services worth checking out, and this week we’re sharing six ways to catch movies for cheap, or better yet, for free.
Become a paying member
Cinema memberships may sound expensive – Odeon’s, for example, costs £179.88 a year (£14.99 a month) and £203.88 (£16.99) if you want access to the screens in London’s West End. However, if you go every week for a whole year, that’s only £3.92 per ticket. Excluding the West End this drops to £3.46. And if you can top up 12 months in advance for £119.00, it drops further to £2.29 per weekly visit.
Yes, that’s a lot of admissions, but if you’re sure you’re sticking with the same chain, it might be worth it. And it also gives you 10% off food and drinks, for those of you with a popcorn habit.
Play the meerkat
If you’ve owned a TV at any point in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of Compare the Market and with it its two-for-one ticket offer to Meerkat Movies, the spiritual successor to the old Orange Wednesdays lyrics. Call Martin Lewis and his gang for their tip on getting the deal for just £1. It can also be combined with certain cinema memberships, such as B. the Unlimited Pass from Cineworld.
Increase savings in the market
If you’re a fan of swanky reclining art-house cinema (so you read the Guardian…perhaps?), then you might have thought about joining the likes of Everyman or Curzon. Everyman’s basic membership costs £95 a year and includes seven free passes which – depending on where you live – could be almost what you would have paid anyway, and it offers discounts on groceries and lets you bring a friend with you for free Monday. If you split the cost with a friend upfront, and then bring them along as your +1 each week, you’d both save quite a bit while still having quality time together… in silence, in a dark room.
The £600 (gulp) Everywhere membership might sound like too much of a commitment, but it comes with a year of unlimited film for two. A ticket to David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future at Everyman’s Screen on the Green in London is £12.95 today, but if you’d already paid for this tasty double membership and were using it every week it would only be £6.25. Similarly, Curzon’s Cult membership is priced at a whopping £285, but if used weekly, tickets would drop to £4.75. Even if you’ve only been there twice a month you’ll probably save too, but it’s worth checking prices at your local cinemas – there’s a £2.50 price difference between showings of See How They Run in Ripon, Yorkshire, and Hoxton, London example.
Streaming site Mubi is offering a great deal: £14.99 a month for their ever-changing art house catalog to enjoy at home, and a free cinema ticket each week to a carefully chosen film to get you out of the house . Sure, some releases are obscure, but there are also often big names like Nope (above) and Elvis. Be warned: you’ll probably have to live in or near a big city to get these deals, but if you can, they’re a steal. Your local independent cinema (shout out to mine – Rich Mix in London’s Bethnal Green!) may also have its own membership and are likely to offer event invitations and discounts to local businesses.
To keep calm
Our fifth tip — and no, it doesn’t say “move to Ripon,” although I hear it’s very nice — is to sign up for research screenings. They’re a great way to see movies before they release in exchange for your honest thoughts. You’ll probably have to sign an NDA so you can’t reveal all your thoughts on Twitter, and you’re not eligible if you work in the media or film industries, but if you’re good at keeping secrets then sites like ShowFilmFirst are for you could be. Similarly, events like Odeon’s Screen Unseen offer previews of hot films for as little as £6, so long as you’re okay with not knowing which film is on offer until you get to the cinema.
And if all else fails…
If you’re really committed to free film life, YouTube has an extensive catalog of works now in the public domain, from Night of the Living Dead to the original 1937 version of A Star Is Born. If you happen to be in the US , YouTube has an entire section that’s free to watch, including Legally Blonde and the Nic Cage/Angelina Jolie heist film Gone in 60 Seconds, both ideal for stepping back in time to the early ’00s.
If you would like to read the full version of this newsletter, please subscribe to The Guide in your inbox every Friday.