Go to the movies for free
A website called Gofobo gives out passes in many major cities. Here's how to claim yours.
No, I didn't sneak in.
I got a free ticket to a preview and enjoyed the stomach-knotting thriller with about a hundred other frugal film aficionados. Since the movie hadn't opened yet, we were all insiders together. (Post continues after video.)
The preview was organized by Gofobo, a website that specializes in movie screenings, contests and special events. Gofobo organizes previews in nearly 150 U.S. and Canadian cities; in the past four years, the company has handed out 6 million passes for some 10,000 screenings.
That's an average of 600 tickets per showing. The overbooking is intentional, since some people print the passes but don't bother attending. But enough of us love free movies that there's always a line at these things, so don't wait until the last minute to show up.
Bring a book, play games on your smartphone or talk with your friends. Gofobo lets you print out one extra pass for a pal; get other peers in on the deal, and you can go as a group.
How to get tickets
Create an account at Gofobo, then type in your ZIP code on the site's "screenings" page. If a preview is marked "open," simply request and print your pass.
The "private" previews require a bit of sleuthing on your part. Gofobo teams up newspapers, colleges, and radio and TV stations to promote the screenings. Ask friends if they know which of those local entities tend to give away passes, then watch/listen for opportunities.
While a midlife student at the University of Washington, I'd get them through the student union. These days I check the movie ads in Seattle's two alternative newspapers. (The only radio station I listen to rarely participates in giveaways.)
If your screening does fill up, get your pass scanned by the folks running the preview. Studio publicists tend to email "turn-aways" to let them RSVP for future screenings.
Gofobo may also contact you separately about upcoming events. In fact, I got an email invite yesterday to "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen." If it's free, it's for me.
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Looking forward to reading more ideas! Best wishes.
YMMV, but this is a great deal for plenty of people.
Thanks for your kind words, and for reading Frugal Cool.
Wait 90 minutes at the theater? Bring a book to read to kill the time?
Hell, by then, I'd rather just finish the book than watch the movie. So why not just stay at home and read the book since you clearly have nothing better to do?? That will definitely save money.
90 minutes is mostly for bigger movies like Harry Potter, Twilight, Dark Knight, where lines are usually long. It would be the same for a screening. For movies with little marketing or lower budget (documentaries, indies, b-list) maybe 30 minutes to an hour. I usually go to the movie theatre half an hour in advance if I go on weekends and 15-20 minutes for discounted weekdays. For Harry Potter DH2 and Toy Story 3 I went 45 minutes in advanced on the Saturday evening after its release date.
This is a great tip. Thank you for the article!
Hehe, been doing that for awhile. I usually just get there 10 min before it starts. Sometimes I get in, sometimes I don’t. People have better things to do instead of arriving 90 minutes early. For example, how much does 90 minutes worth to you? The answer will be vary due to how people view time spent. In any case, free is always good. ^_^
FYI - If you have a AAA membership and a AAA store nearby you can get the tickets for $6 each.
It would be fun if they got Depp to make a cameo.
wow.more bs .is this news ? these idiots must be board if this is all they can come up with.whos the hired help ? MONKIES ?
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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
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