As a service and in response to a few conversations, I decided to list film theater admission price discounts in the Bay Area.
The 4 Star sells six film discount cards for $40 which works out to $6.67 per admission. That compares to their regular admission price of $10 and $8 for bargain matinees, seniors and children. The discount card can only be used for one admission at a time. Also, it is supposed to be used only once per day but I've used mine twice in a day. I cannot recall if the card expires and I don't have it near me. The card is good for all shows. The 4 Star discount card cannot be used at the Marina or Presidio theaters which are also owned by the Lee family. I know the Presidio has its own discount card (5 films for $40). I've never been to the Marina Theater and cannot tell from the website if there is a Marina discount card. I'm certain the 4 Star is cash only; not sure about the Presidio or Marina.
The Balboa sells a five film discount card for $37.50 which is $7.50 per admission. That compares to their regular admission price of $10 regular admission and $7.50 for bargain matinees, seniors and children. The discount card can be used for two admissions at a time. The card is good for all showings. The discount cards can also be used for the ballets and operas the Balboa broadcasts. However, the ballet & opera admission requires two punches on the discount card which is a $5 saving to the $20 admission price. Also, the Balboa allows free admission on your birthday. The discount card expires six months after purchase. The Balboa is cash only.
The Camera Cinemas in San Jose and Los Gatos sells a ten film discount card for $60.00 which is $6 per admission. That compares to a regular admission price of $10.50 (Camera 12/Camera 7) or $10 (Camera 3/Los Gatos), student/senior/children/matinee admission price of $7.50 (Camera 12/Camera 7) or $7 (Camera 3/Los Gatos) and a bargain matinee price of $5 (all locations). The discount card is good for all Camera locations and all showings except after 6 PM on Saturdays. The discount card can be used for two admissions at a time. There is no expiration date on the discount card. The Camera Cinemas accept credit cards so if you have a cashback credit card, you can get further savings.
The Roxie Theater does not sell a discount card. It used to but does not anymore (presumably after the Stattons took over management). On Mondays, the admission price is $6.50 which compares to their admission price of $10 regular admission, $7 for bargain matinee and $6.50 for seniors and children. The Roxie is cash only although you can buy tickets on-line through their website with a credit card for a $2 service fee.
The Stanford Theater sells a 4 film discount card for $24.00 which is $6 per admission. There is no expiration date on the discount card. That compares to their regular admission price of $7 regular admission and $5 for seniors and children. The Stanford is cash only.
The New People (Viz)/San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) Screen does not sell a discount card. You can purchases an annual SFFS membership for as little as $60 (not tax deductible). At higher membership levels, SFFS membership is partially tax deductible. Membership entitles you to a $2 discount on admission. The general admission price is $11 vs. the member admission price of $9. Seniors/Students/Disabled are charged $10 admission. SFFS membership also gives discounts for tickets to the San Francisco International Film Festival and the SFFS Fall Season Film Series. The discount varies depending on the screening; most are a $2 discount vs. general admission but the discount is larger for opening night and special screenings which cost more.
The SFFS also sells a 10 film Cinevoucher which is can be redeemed for tickets to most festival screenings and regular screenings at the SFFS Screen at New People. The general price for a Cinevoucher is $125; the member price is $105. At first look that doesn't make sense for SFFS screenings. If the member admission is $9; why use a Cinevoucher if the effective cost is $10.50 per admission? The answer is service fees. If you buy on-line, you are assessed a service fee or ticketing fee of $1.50 per ticket. The member on-line purchase price is $9 + $1.50 = $10.50. The Cinevoucher redemptions are exempt from service fees. The Cinevouchers do not expire. SFFS accepts credit cards.
My strategy for SFFS is to flash my membership card at the box office to get the discount when I go to their regular screenings which rarely sell out. I redeem Cinevouchers on-line for the applicable festival screenings (which frequently sell out or go to rush). If you are hard core about optimizing your costs, I recommend loading up on Cinevouchers as your membership expires. You can buy up to 10 Cinevouchers (100 admission vouchers) per transaction. Let the membership lapse and remain inactive until you run out of Cinevouchers at which time you renew your membership.
The PFA does not sell discount cards. You can buy a $50 annual membership which entitles you to a $4 discount on one screening per day. The regular price is $9.50 and the member price is $5.50. There are a bunch of other discounts for Cal students, Cal staff & faculty, seniors, disabled, non-Cal students, etc. If you buy a ticket, you can buy another ticket to the second half of the double feature (if it is a double feature) for $4. Everyone pays $4 for the 2nd film so there is no discount or benefit for being a member w.r.t the 2nd film admission price. The PFA accepts credit cards.
The $50 membership is tax deductible. In addition, the membership entitles one to free admission at the Berkeley Art Museum, discounts at the museum store and free admission at a number of reciprocal university art museums including the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. Recently, members began receiving discounts through the PFA's East Bay Discount Club. All the participating retailers are located in the East Bay.
Last year, PFA had a membership sale where they allowed members to extend their membership for $40 per year. I took them up on that so my two year membership which expires in July 2012 was $90. I wish I would have bought two or three additional years because they didn't repeat that promotion this year.
The YBCA does not sell discount cards, per se. They sell annual membership for as little as $65 (fully tax deductible). General admission is $8 and the member price is $6. YBCA membership also includes discounts to gallery admission and other performances. The YBCA accepts credit cards.
The YBCA does have what they call "discount cards" which is more like a rewards card. At no cost, you can ask for a discount card (no expiration date) which you present each time you purchase a ticket. They punch a hole in the card for each ticket purchase. After six punches, your next purchase is free. I'm not sure if they punch the card when you buy on-line. On several occasions, they were out of the cards at the box office.
I previously mentioned the Landmark Theaters' discounted tickets. Summarizing the two types of discounted tickets:
1) Gold Book or Gold Cards which are sold in increments of 25 admissions for $193.75 or $7.75 per admission. There are no restrictions on time of use or expiration date. They can be used in any increment; i.e. one to 25 admissions at the time of redemption.
2) Discount Cards which are sold in increments of 5 admissions for $40 or $8 per admission. The Landmark Discount Cards are on good all day on Sundays through Thursdays and before 6 PM on Fridays & Saturdays. The Discount Card can only be redeemed at one or two admissions at a time. In other words, if there were three people, you would need two Discount Cards to cover the three people. Also, the Discount Cards expire six months after purchase.
The Gold Book and Discount Cards compare to a regular admission price of $10.50 general admission and $8 for matinees, seniors, children and students. The student discount is only good for Monday through Thursday. Landmark Theaters accept credit cards. The Gold Book and Discount Cards are redeemable at all Bay Area Landmark Theaters. I don't think they are valid nationwide as Landmark ticket prices vary among different markets.
Separate from this discount system, Landmark Theaters offers a free Film Club Rewards Card. You present the card prior to ticket purchase or Gold Book/Discount Card redemption. The cashier scans it and your account is credited with the number of admissions you purchased or redeemed. For every nine admissions credited to your Film Club Rewards account, you receive a free admission which is equivalent to a 10% discount. Combined with the Gold Book, if you are diligent about presenting your Film Club Rewards Card, you receive at least 27 admissions for $193.75 or $7.18 per admission. You have to spread it out over 9 Gold Books to realize the full 10% discount.
The nice part of Landmark Theaters Film Club Rewards Card is that if you forget to or cannot give the cashier the card at the time of purchase, you go on-line to credit your account. Each ticket issued by Landmark has a unique ID code which you enter to credit your account if needed. Each month there is a concession reward as well which entitles the card holder to discounted or free concessions.
Similar to the Gold Book and Discount Cards, the Landmark Theaters Film Club Rewards Card is not accepted at all locations nationwide.
That only leaves the major chains such as AMC, Cinemark and Regal which are the three largest. All of them sell discounted tickets and have rewards clubs. I've never availed myself to them because I go so infrequently. I do have a Regal Crown Club Reward Card because the nearest movie theater to my father's house is a Regal. However, on recent visits we've been going to a Century Cinema which I haven't bothered to get a rewards card for. Having never reached a rewards level at Regal, I cannot recall what the rewards are. The first few rewards levels are for concessions; it's not until later that a free admission is part of the reward.
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