Essential Cinema Saving Tips

How to enjoy films without going bankrupt.

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I tend to talk about films a lot; a conversation that usually ends with “I really want to see that! Let’s go next week.” Especially after the Oscars and BAFTAS and all the current hype over The Hunger Games, you begin to realise how many outstanding films there actually are. After all, the experience of seeing a film on the big screen isn’t just a social activity; it’s a form of art. So then why haven’t I set foot in a cinema for about 5 months? Well, because I can’t afford it; even with my student discount. I can’t afford to spend £10 on a ticket for a film I could watch in my bed, on my laptop and £8.99 for a pathetically sized bucket of popcorn which I could have microwaved in my halls for 70p. London cinemas are statistically three times more expensive than Europe, but before you hastily hop on the ferry, let The Buzz show you the hidden, cheaper options this city has to offer to ensure that you’re no longer missing out on the wonders of the cinematic world.

1. Avoid the big chains (unless it’s Wednesday)

Although you know where the nearest Vue is, don’t put your wallet through such trauma. It might be worth it on 2-for-1 Orange Wednesdays, but generally avoid these cinematic houses of extortion.

2. Membership

£10 annual membership at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square will open the door to £1.50 tickets for matinee screenings. A complete steal. And if you’d prefer something even closer to home, the Cineaste Membership available at Renoir in The Brunswick provides £5.00 early bird tickets, as well as two free tickets on joining.

3. Broaden your cinematic horizons

At UCL, we like to think we’re oh so cultured that even though we like our blockbusters, of course we'll want to see that new-alternative-edgy film with [insert pretentious foreign actor]. I hate to break it to you but The Artist, with its Oscars and what not, is pretty mainstream. So why not try something truly different? Especially since independent cinemas tend to be a lot cheaper. How about Roxy Bar and Screen? No, not The Roxy. This one’s a classier affair, without a sticky area of glass-covered floor in sight. £3 cover charge gets you into what can only be described as events, since they host quizzes, a range of indie films as well as showing the occasional Premiere League match. And if you completely love it, £30 annual membership gets you free entry to all their screenings. You can even book a sofa. Do with that what you will.

4. Happy Days

If you are set on going to a conventional cinema chain, then fine, go. But at least don’t submit yourself to the torture of soaring cinema price-tags. Daily discounts aren’t just for the (few) people on Orange. O2 customers can enjoy 40% off every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at the Odeon with Priority Moments. Also, the ingeniously named Cheap day Tuesday from the Vue means £4 tickets for all. So technically, you’ll never have to pay more than a fiver for a movie again if you avoid the Friday and Saturday price hikes.

5. Free Screenings

See Film First is the hidden gem of the cinema world. Register with them and they’ll email you when there are free screenings to preview new films in your area. But if spontaneity isn’t your thing, The Scoop will be doing free outdoor film screenings of major blockbusters (including The King's Speech and Alice in Wonderland) near London Bridge throughout September. If that seems too long to wait however, round the corner from us is the mysterious, unspoken of, Birkbeck University; which we should perhaps pay more attention to since it houses its own cinema. Also, its screenings are often free if you register via email. Now there’s an idea…