Cheap movie tricks: How to afford to see a movie in Brooklyn

Photo via Nitehawk Cinema's Facebook
Photo via Nitehawk Cinema’s Facebook

Seeing a movie in a theater has become ridiculously expensive. Even if you don’t spring for 3D or IMAX, you’re likely paying close to $20 for a film you’re not even sure you’ll enjoy. It’s an event, and the experience usually involves coordinating with friends or partners to find an acceptable showtime and seats that are next to each other (if you’re in one of these newfangled assigned-seating theaters). Shows under $10 are rare, and not every theater has good matinee deals.

So if you’re new to Brooklyn, or you’ve been here for years but generally avoid theaters because of the cost, here is the rundown on current ticket prices. Use this handy guide the next time you need something to do on a random weekday afternoon, or if you’re looking for budget dates. And as we head into warmer weather, you may need to use one of these theaters to duck into when your air conditioner breaks down. And now we present the main attraction:


RIP Pavilion. You were the grodiest of the grody, and the only business that could give us bed bugs and somehow have us keep coming back. Photo by Steven M. via Yelp
RIP Pavilion. You were the grodiest of the grody, and the only business that could give us bed bugs and somehow have us keep coming back. Photo by Steven M. / Yelp

Alamo Drafthouse
445 Albee Square West, Downtown Brooklyn

The Alamo is shiny and new and appeals to those willing to shell out extra bucks for a luxury screening. No, it’s not cheap, exactly—a prime time evening ticket costs $15.10. But if you go to a matinee (perfect for freelancers or those who work evening shifts), a ticket is a mere $11.10. It’s worth that cost for probably the most comfortable movie theater seats in the borough and access to alcoholic milkshakes (which are overpriced but very delicious). Tip: If you join Alamo’s Victory rewards program, which is free, you’ll receive a free ticket on your birthday. Alamo also gives out “rain check” tickets for various reasons that you may use on a future film (for example, I was given one when the fire alarms accidentally went off in the theater, delaying the start of a film). It’s little things like that that make going to the Alamo worth it for those on a budget—as long as you don’t blow your entire paycheck on food and drinks.

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene

The BAM theaters are kind of deceiving. The Peter Jay Sharp Building, where they are located, is beautiful and ornate, but the seats in the theaters suck. They offer zero neck and head support. So while the experience of seeing a film here is easy (no complicated check-in procedures, no super strict rules), you may leave clutching the back of your neck. However, this is the place to go to see a new documentary or indie film. Tickets are $14, but members can see films for half off, or $7. Memberships can be purchased at varying levels, but the cheapest non-senior membership goes for $85, which also gives you access to advance screenings and discounts on live performances.

United Artists Court Street
106 Court St., Brooklyn Heights

The many levels on this theater almost make it not worth seeing a movie here. Once you pay for your ticket, and get your bag checked (yep, it’s one of those theaters), you must take an elevator for several floors or spend 15 minutes on escalators. (Choose your own adventure.) I’ve also had to sit through more previews in this theater than any other theater in Brooklyn. So, knowing those details, here’s the deal on tickets: it’s very similar in range to Alamo. A matinee will cost you $11.70, $4 less than the evening price. The theater is part of the Regal Entertainment Group, and you definitely feel like you’re in a big chain theater. But it’s very close to the Borough Hall subway station and centrally located, so it is relatively convenient to catch a new film here.


Photo by Jordan O. / Yelp
Photo by Jordan O. / Yelp

Williamsburg Cinemas
217 Grand St., Williamsburg

For those who live in Williamsburg, this is probably your closest movie theater. And it offers many discounts. A regular, 2D film will cost you $12, while 3D films are $14. But on Tuesdays and Thursdays, films are only $9 at all times. The theater offers the same rate for showings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before 5 pm and on weekends before 2 pm Yet the company’s listed policies state that the bargain price won’t be offered “for the first 2 weeks of Paramount and Sony pictures.” So before you roll up to the theater expecting to see a brand new movie for $9, you have to check the distributor. A little annoying, but hey, a deal is a deal.

Cobble Hill Cinemas
265 Court St., Cobble Hill

Like the Williamsburg Cinemas, this theater also offers $9 tickets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the same deals for M-W-F and the weekend. And, like the Williamsburg Cinemas, it also excludes the first two weeks for Sony and Paramount films. (Hint: it’s the same owner for both theaters.) This is another option on Court Street if the UA theater is too crowded.

Nitehawk Cinemas
136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg

Another option convenient for those in Williamsburg or Greenpoint, this theater on Metropolitan Ave. also serves food and alcoholic beverages, just like Alamo (but Nitehawk was here first). General admission is $12 and there are no matinee shows. Screenings that feature live music or other entertainment go for $16. Taking into account other theaters’ discounts and special memberships, Nitehawk is probably one of the priciest theaters on this list. But in comparison to Alamo Drafthouse, the other theater in Brooklyn with table service, Nitehawk offers very reasonably-priced evening shows. And if you’re a film buff, you’ll love the atmosphere.


Photo via Wikipedia

Kent Theater
1170 Coney Island Ave., Midwood

In a recent New York Times story, filmgoers said they chose Kent for its cheap prices. Movies are $5 on so-called “Wacky Wednesdays” and regular admission for adults is $9. It might be the best deal in Brooklyn. However, you get what you pay for. Multiple recent reviews on Yelp reported mice and broken seats. You also probably won’t find an indie film here; the current selection is all big-budget family films. And Woody Allen is a fan of the theater, if that sways you in any direction.

Alpine Cinema
6817 5th Ave., Bay Ridge

Like Kent, attendees took to Yelp to rant about the allegedly poor conditions of the theater. Located in Bay Ridge, this theater does offer cheap tickets. On Wednesday, films are $6, and adults can see matinees for $7. Regular admission is $10, still cheaper than the matinee price at fancier theaters. And they also seem to focus on family-friendly blockbuster films.

Follow me on Twitter for occasional rants and raves about films @tiffmkelly

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