What's a Matinee Movie Ticket? Cheaper Prices & More

Going to the movies can be an expensive night out, especially if you’re bringing the whole family. But there’s a secret weapon that budget-conscious movie lovers use to save money at the theater – the matinee movie ticket. But what exactly is a matinee showing and what makes matinee tickets so affordable?

A matinee movie ticket refers to a discounted daytime screening, typically before 6 pm. By attending a matinee rather than an evening showing, you can save a few dollars per ticket while still enjoying the latest films.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about matinee movie tickets, including:

  • What time matinee showings are offered
  • The benefits of choosing a matinee over a nighttime movie
  • Who takes advantage of cheaper matinee pricing
  • Where to find matinee movie deals near you
  • How much a matinee ticket usually costs
  • Matinee discounts and promotions offered by theaters
  • The best day to see a cheap matinee
  • When you should arrive for a matinee showtime
  • What types of movies play during matinees
  • Tips for buying matinee tickets online

So grab your popcorn and let’s dive into the wonderful world of matinee movie tickets!

What Time are Matinee Movie Showings Typically Offered?

The exact matinee times offered will vary from cinema to cinema based on their schedules and popularity of time slots. However, most theaters show matinee films earlier in the day when attendance tends to be slower than peak evening hours.

On weekdays, you can usually find matinee showtimes scheduled in the early afternoon such as between 9 am to 12 pm. Some cinemas have matinees in the mid-afternoon like 2 pm or 3 pm as well.

Weekend matinee times may start a bit earlier. For instance, some theaters offer Saturday and Sunday matinee showings beginning around 10 am or 11 am in the morning. Others have matinee screenings in the early afternoon such as 12 pm or 1 pm.

The best advice is to check your local movie theater listings to confirm the exact matinee showtimes they offer. But as a rule of thumb, if the movie starts before 6 pm, it will typically be considered a matinee showing.

Key Takeaway: Matinee movie showtimes are usually between 9am to 8pm, with exact times varying by day and by the theater. But the films screen earlier than evening showings when ticket prices go up.

What are the Benefits of Attending a Matinee Movie?

Wondering why you should consider taking advantage of a matinee ticket over other showtimes? Here are some of the best benefits matinee screenings offer:

Cheaper Ticket Prices

The #1 reason moviegoers opt for matinees is to enjoy films at a discounted price. Most movie theaters reduce pricing substantially on tickets for showtimes earlier in the day in order to incentivize attendance when crowds are smaller. In some cases, matinee movie tickets may be $2 to $5 cheaper than seeing the same film in the evening. Over an entire family, those savings can really add up!

Avoid Crowded Theaters

In addition to cheaper admission, matinee showings tend to be less crowded than primetime slots. Since many people are working or in school during the day, you’ll have a better selection of seats to choose from. The smaller crowds also mean shorter lines at the concession stand when you want to grab a soft drink and popcorn.

More Schedule Flexibility

For people with flexible schedules, jobs with non-traditional hours, or stay-at-home parents, matinee screenings are much more convenient. You can catch a movie after running your morning errands or during kids’ naptime instead of arranging a babysitter for an evening out. Retirees also may prefer matinees over late shows.

So in summary – matinee movie tickets offer discounts, fewer crowds, and better schedule flexibility in most cases. It’s an unbeatable combination!

Who Takes Advantage of Matinee Pricing and Why?

Given the perks mentioned above, there are a few key demographics that commonly take advantage of matinee discounts:

Movie Lovers on a Budget

For budget-conscious individuals and families, matinee movie tickets are very appealing. The cheaper prices allow frequent moviegoers to indulge in more films without breaking the bank. Matinees make theater-going more affordable whether you’re paying your own way or treating kids.


Since retirement frees up more time during the day, matinee showings are a natural fit for retirees. The senior discount on matinee tickets at most theaters provides extra motivation. Matinees showings get retirees out of the house to enjoy cinema at a discounted senior rate.

College Students

College students with gaps between classes often duck into matinee showings to catch a movie. The cheaper admission price is extra appealing for this cash-strapped demographic trying to balance books, food, and entertainment on a tight budget.

Parents of Young Kids

For parents who need to work around nap schedules or avoid late nights out, matinee times allow them to catch a film with kids in tow. Kids’ movies in particular are hits with the matinee crowds. The earlier shows work well with family schedules and budgets.

Where Can I Find Matinee Movie Deals Near Me?

Nearly any movie theater in your area should offer cheaper matinee pricing before evening shows. Here are some tips on finding prime deals though:

Check Theater Websites

Your best bet is to visit the official website for theaters like AMC and Regal Cinemas near you. They should clearly list matinee showtimes and related ticket deals online. Most post matinee times under each film or have a dedicated matinee section.

Search Deal Sites

You can also browse daily deals and movie ticket discounts on sites like Fandango or Groupon. They often promote matinee ticket specials and codes across major theater chains.

Loyalty Programs

Don’t forget about theater loyalty programs like Regal Crown Club and AMC Stubs. Members can earn rewards points and unlock matinee discounts in addition to the normal price breaks.

Discount Days

Certain days of the week may feature dynamic matinee pricing at your local cinema. For instance, some have $5 matinees all day Tuesdays. Check their website under matinee times for any weekly promotions.

How Much Does a Matinee Movie Ticket Usually Cost?

There is no universal matinee movie ticket price across all movie theaters. Discounts compared to evening shows vary by cinema and by region. However, here are some typical matinee deals you can expect:

  • Weekday matinees may be $2 to $5 cheaper than evening shows
  • Kids, teen, and senior matinee tickets see slightly bigger discounts usually
  • Special matinee deals can offer 50%+ off or tickets under $10
  • Premium screens like IMAX may still carry a surcharge

To gauge pricing and discounts at theaters near your location, visit their website or box office. Expect some fluctuation in exact matinee ticket prices by day and by film as well.

Do Movie Theaters Offer Any Matinee Discounts or Promotions?

Absolutely! Movie theaters run a variety of matinee movie ticket discounts and promotions to drive attendance during slower daylight hours.

Here are some examples of special matinee offers you may find:

  • Reduced matinee pricing during the week
  • Free size upgrades on popcorn or drinks
  • Weekend matinee rewards programs
  • B1G1 free tickets with matinee purchase
  • Special matinee coupons and codes
  • Cheap tickets for students or military with matinee shows

Check the matinee section of your favorite theater’s website to uncover any limited time matinee promotions. You may score extra perks like concessions deals that make matinees even more worthwhile!

Key Insight: Take advantage of theaters trying to incentivize daytime attendance by mixing matinee movie ticket discounts with other perks like free snacks.

What is the Best Day of the Week to See a Cheap Matinee?

While most theaters offer some level of matinee discounts daily, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to have the best matinee movie ticket prices.

Since weekend evenings are peak times, theaters slash matinee prices most heavily early in the week to boost sales when attendance is usually light. Discounts may get a bit smaller heading into the weekend.

So if scoring the absolute cheapest seats is your top priority, matinee times on Tuesdays or Wednesdays are your best bet. Thursdays are also strong for bargain matinees in many locations.

How Early Should I Arrive for a Matinee Showtime?

To secure good seats and concessions without rushing, try to arrive at the theater about 30 minutes prior to showtime.

While matinee crowds are smaller overall, popular kids’ movies or releases generating buzz online may still fill up. Arriving early guarantees you get comfortably situated before the trailers run.

You’ll also beat the last minute pre-show rush at the concession counter so you don’t end up juggling drinks and popcorn as the movie starts.

Pro Tip: For reserved luxury seating, you only need to arrive 10-15 minutes early. But for general admission, target 30 minutes so you get the best matinee seats.

What Kind of Movies Are Typically Playing During Matinees?

Theaters exhibit all types of films during matinee showtimes, from blockbusters to indie flicks. However, matinees do attract certain genres more than others:

  • Animated movies
  • Family films
  • Action-packed superhero movies
  • Comedies
  • Cult classics and flashback features

Essentially, the most popular matinee screenings reflect films that appeal to parents with younger kids, teenagers skipping school, or nostalgic adults reliving old favorites. Matinees can be the perfect environment to enjoy those types of movies.

What Do I Need to Know About Buying Matinee Tickets Online?

Purchasing matinee movie tickets online in advance is super convenient. Most theater chain websites like Regal or AMC make it simple to:

  • Browse matinee movie showtimes
  • Select seats if available
  • Pre-order concessions for express pickup
  • Take advantage of matinee promo codes

However, a few things to keep in mind when ordering matinee tickets online:

  • Fees may apply to online orders
  • Earlier shows may open for online sales just 1-2 days in advance
  • Discount restrictions may require in-person matinee purchase

Check the fine print when buying matinee tickets online regarding any usage stipulations. And consider grabbing them in person to avoid fees – just arrive 30 minutes early as mentioned.

In Summary: Matinee Movie Tickets Offer Big Perks on a Budget

Instead of paying full evening ticket prices, matinee movie screenings let you enjoy films on the cheap if you can arrange your schedule accordingly. Matinees make movie-going more budget-friendly thanks to discounted pricing, smaller crowds, and concessions deals from theaters trying to fill more seats when attendance is usually slower.

So next time you want to catch a hot movie release without staying up late or blowing your budget, seek out matinee showtimes. Finding matinee movie ticket discounts is incredibly easy thanks to online resources and promotions from all the major cinema chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark.

Just use the handy tips in this guide to identify the best matinee times, pricing, and perks at a movie theater near you. With the right strategy, you can save a bundle on tickets and enjoy hit movies for nearly half off!

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