In Phoenix, sometimes we need to get out of the sun and enjoy someone else’s air conditioning. Movies are an entertainment that has something for everyone – from a distracting action film to a quiet romance, or a fun animated movie for the youngest family members. It’s an art form that many of us love, but spending an afternoon or evening at the movies with a partner or the kids is not easy to do “on the cheap.”
These days it’s tempting to save money by waiting until the movie comes to Netflix, but nothing beats seeing them on the big screen. There are deals that can help you.
FREE Outdoor Movies
Many places around the valley offer FREE movies outdoors, regularly. Why pay anything at all when you can enjoy the evening air, let the kids run roll in the grass, and see a movie you love? Click here for some options.
Cheap Movies Every Day
Maybe seeing a movie outside just isn’t your thing, and you really want to enjoy the quiet, with that digital projection and massive theater sound system. You still don’t have to spend a lot. Here are some ideas that can help you get out to enjoy the cinema.
Super Saver Cinemas
Located right off I-17 on Bell Road in North Phoenix, Super Saver Cinemas offers a great bargain (and delicious popcorn, besides). It’s a multiplex that shows eight movies at a time, at the low price of $3 a ticket. On Tuesday, there’s an even bigger discount, when the price drops to $1.50 a ticket. It’s also helpful when you somehow missed the big opening weekend, and just realized that this is a movie that really needs to be seen on the big screen, because they’re showing movies that might have just left some of the first-run theaters.
- Regular movie ticket price $3.00
- Tuesday movie ticket price $1.50
Pollack Tempe Cinemas
For those in the East Valley, this is a more convenient option for very low-priced movies. Pollack Tempe Cinemas is located off Elliot and McClintock, about a mile west of the 101. The usual price per ticket is a low $3.50, with another discount on Tuesday taking it down to only $2.50. On Tuesday, in addition to the low movie ticket prices, small sodas and small popcorn are available at the discounted price of $2.50 each.
- Regular movie ticket price $3.50
- Tuesday movie ticket price $2.50
Pollack Tempe Cinemas also offers the chance to catch classic movies on the big screen at their usual discounted price of $3.50, with their Tempe Cinemas Classics program. Movies change each week and show at 5 pm every other Sunday, and noon and 7 pm every other Wednesday. Here is the upcoming schedule:
- The Burbs, February 17 and 20, 2019
- The Godfather, March 3 and 6, 2019
- The Outsiders, March 17 and 20, 2019
Drive-in Movie Deals
A date night doesn’t have to mean getting all dressed up. Maybe you’re so in love you can see past the sweatpants and slippers and still want to to enjoy a movie together, but you couldn’t be seen in public. Or maybe your kids are at That Age when trying to spend two hours in a quiet dark theater is just asking for trouble. A drive-in movie is the solution to these problems.
West Wind Drive-In
For a real cheap treat, check out the West Wind Glendale Drive-in movie theater. Their website says, “The atmosphere at West Wind is best described as relaxed family fun with a mix of old-school drive-in vibe combined with the latest technology. Toss a Frisbee or football around before the show or bring the wee ones to our play structure near the snack bar before you settle back for a one of a kind movie presentation.”
No need to buy snacks, although, they are available at their snackbar,with treats like fresh-baked pizza and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. You can also follow them to get discount coupons.
For just $7.75 per adult (12 and up), you can watch first-run movies from the comfort of your car. Kid prices are even better, at $1.50 for kids 5 – 11, and kids 4 and under are always FREE.
Even cheaper? Visit the West Wind on Tuesdays, when admission for those 12 and up is just $5.50 per adult.
- Regular movie ticket price $7.75 (age 12+)
- Tuesday movie ticket price $5.50 (age 12+)
- Every day, movie ticket price $1.50 (age 5-11)
Discounted Tickets and Deals
The Harkins chain of theaters has a long history in the Phoenix area. It begins with the opening of an outdoor theater by Red Harkins at Tempe Beach Park in 1934, which, sadly, only lasted for one summer. In 1940, he built the College Theater on Mill Avenue in Tempe, which is still in existence today as Harkins Valley Art. They also have Arizona’s only full-sized IMAX screen, at Arizona Mills.
Harkins Theaters offer several ways to help make movie-going affordable, and if you don’t want to have to worry about arriving early, many of the theaters also offer reserved seating.
Food and Drink Savings
To keep the price of sodas down, you can purchase a reusable loyalty cup for $6.50, which allows you to buy a 32-oz soda for only $1.50 each visit for the rest of the year (as long as you bring the cup). It’s practically a Valley of the Sun tradition to keep your previous years’ cups to show how long you’ve been around. (Mine go back to 2006.)
Popcorn Perks is a program where you can get a free medium-sized popcorn 36 times during the year for the cost of only $30. The initial outlay of $30 may not feel cheap, but it brings the overall price down to 83 cents per popcorn if you get all 36 over the year. As an added bonus, for each Popcorn Perk sold, $1 goes to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Many Harkins theaters have a bar, and you can save $2 off the price of cocktails, Monday through Thursday, 3 pm to 6 pm.
Save on the price of a babysitter for that romantic evening out. Many Harkins theaters offer a PlayCenter with professional, reliable childcare, for kids aged 3 to 8, and they even offer complementary popcorn to the kids while they’re there. It’s recommended that you call the theater for reservations. There is a cost, but it’s minimal (it was $6 per child the last time I checked).
If you aren’t quite comfortable leaving your child at home while you go out, bringing them with you is a great compromise, and they even give you a pager to bring into the theater so they can contact you in the unlikely case of an emergency.
Harkins Tuesday Night Classics are only $5 a ticket. This offers an opportunity to see classic movies that you may have only heard about, or remember from your childhood, on the big screen, for a low price. Relive your favorite films the way they were meant to be seen. Each movie plays at Harkins theaters across the valley on Tuesdays at 7 pm. Movies with asterisks will also be shown in the larger Cine Capri or Cine 1 theaters.
Here’s what’s coming up:
- Top Gun, April 23, 2019*
- A Streetcar Named Desire, April 30, 2019
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, May 7, 2019
- The Fast and the Furious, May 14, 2019*
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail, May 21, 2019
- Superman (1978), May 28, 2019*
- More showtimes
Kids Movies Summer Deal
There is also a Summer Movie Fun special were you can bring your kids to see a movie a week for 10 weeks, at a cost of less than $1 per ticket. (Adults must be accompanied by children.) The 2019 schedule isn’t available yet but you can find out more here.
Harkins Theaters Savings Recap
To recap the discounts:
- Discount sodas for $1.50 (after the purchase of a $6.50 loyalty cup, good for the calendar year)
- Popcorn Perks for as low as 83 cents each (one-time cost of $30 for 36 medium-sized popcorn in a year)
- PlayCenter babysitting option for much less than you’d pay at home
- Tuesday Night Classics for $5 a ticket
- Summer Movie Fun (for kids) for less than $1 per ticket
Cheap doesn’t always mean a reduced price – sometimes it means getting something extra for the price you’d have already paid. Alamo Drafthouse in Tempe, Chandler, and Gilbert (coming soon) have events that may cost the same as other movies, but include extras like interviews with professionals in the industry or great deals on meals. And, you get to reserve your seat, so you don’t need to worry about getting there early.
Here are some upcoming examples:
- John Wick triple feature ($18.00), May 16, 2019
- May 2019 specialty programming including 9 to 5, Dirty Dancing, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Rebel Without a Cause, and Road House 30th Anniversary
Don’t want to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday? Don’t want to drive to one of the discount theaters? Want to see first-run movies, in IMAX, 3D, and more? AMC Theaters has you covered.
The AMC Stubs A-List is a program where you can pay a set price, and see 3 first-run movies each week. The subscription fee varies by area, and in Phoenix it’s currently $19.95. It is a subscription membership so if you don’t use it, you won’t save money, but it could bring your cost per ticket to only about $1.50 per movie. Click here for more information about the program.
Tempe, AZ 85284
Phoenix, AZ 85023
Tempe, AZ 85284
Tempe, AZ 85284
Tempe, AZ 85284