Christian Budgeting, Finances, Savings

Where to Find Free or Nearly-Free Kids’ Movies This Summer

  • Matt Bell
  • 2011 27 May
Where to Find Free or Nearly-Free Kids’ Movies This Summer

With the school season coming to an end, a parent’s thoughts quickly turn to, “what are we going to do with the kids all summer?”

Fortunately, lots of movie theaters offer discounted tickets to G- and PG-rated movies.  There used to be a tradition of offering free kids’ movies in the summer, with theaters trying to drive traffic during typically slow times, figuring they’d make their money where they’ve always made their money – on the $10 buckets of popcorn and foot-long candy bars.  But alas, inflation has hit the kids’ movie circuit, so now, in most cases, tickets are merely cheap.

Here’s where you’ll find them, starting with the chains that operate in the most states.  There may be smaller chains or independent theaters near you that offer deals as well.

Regal Cinemas, which has theaters in all 50 states, is charging just $1 for the 10 a.m. showing of select G- and PG-rated movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 9 weeks starting in mid June.

Cinemarkoperates in 32 states and is showing G- or PG-rated movies for $1 per ticket weekday mornings for 10 weeks starting in mid June.  Or, buy all 10 weeks’ worth of movies in advance for just $5.

AMC Theatres, which has screens in 31 states plus the District of Columbia, is offering G- and PG-rated movies at discounted prices if you go before noon on any of 9 Fridays beginning on May 27th.

Carmike Cinemas, a 30-state chain, is offering Thursday 10 a.m. kid flicks for $1 starting in early June.

Rave Motion Pictures, with theaters in 20 states, is offering free kids’ movies Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. for 8 weeks this summer.

Marquee Cinemas, a 10-state operator (Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), offers discounted summer movies for kids, but has not yet posted its schedule.

Southern Theaters, which has locations in 9 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas), is offering $3 kids’ movies (including popcorn and a drink) at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer.

Dickinson Theatres, an 8-state (Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas) chain, is offering G- and PG-rated movies this summer for $2.50 per show or $13 for 8.  Click on a theater in your state and look for the “S.V.M.S.” ad, which stands for Summer Vacation Movie Series.  The movies begin in mid June.

Marcus Theatresis a 7-state (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin) chain that’s offering $2 family films on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10 a.m. from mid June to mid August.

National Amusement Theaters, which operates in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island, is offering $3.50 G-rated movies on Saturday and Sunday mornings beginning in mid June.

Bow-Tie Cinemas, which has theaters in Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, is showing free kids’ movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from mid June to mid August.

Harkins Theatres, which operates mostly in the Phoenix area, but also has a small number of theatres in other parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas, is offering 10 weeks of G- and PG-rated movies for $2 per ticket or the whole season for less than $10 per person.  The tickets are for weekday 9:45 a.m. shows starting at the end of May.

Malco Theatres, which operates in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, is offering $2 kids’ films at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during June and July.

Clearview  Cinemas, with locations in New York and New Jersey, is offering free kids’ movies at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays for 8 weeks starting on July 6th.

Lots of towns offer free movies in parks, libraries, and other venues throughout the summer as well.  And, of course, there are always free DVDs to be checked out at the library.

We’ve turned most Sunday nights into movie night at our house, watching classics with the kids like the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Dr. Doolittle, and more.

What free or inexpensive kid-friendly activities do you plan to take part in this summer?


Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, including the brand new "Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples."  He teaches a wide variety of workshops, including MoneySmart Marriage, at churches, conferences, universities, and other venues throughout the country.  To learn more about his work and subscribe to his blog, go to: