There’s no better place than the City of Angels to see the newest, hippest and most critically acclaimed movies. LA is also an incredibly expensive city, and theater tickets are no exception. As a proud Letterboxd nerd, I made it my mission in coming to UCLA to hack the movie scene. With two years and dozens of theater experiences under my belt, I’m going to teach all of you how to see films in theaters for a fraction of their regular price — and oftentimes, free.
- Melnitz Movies
This recommendation specifically goes out to my fellow Bruins, but the screenings are open to the public. UCLA’s very own James Bridges Theater hosts numerous screenings — often earlier than their actual release date — for free! Follow the Instagram account @gsamelnitzmovies to see which films are going to be featured in upcoming screenings and for the RSVP link. The parking garage right behind the theater makes these screenings particularly accessible.
- American Cinematheque
The American Cinematheque is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing your favorite new and old films to life in all forms. Whether it’s a 35mm oldie or an advanced screening and Q&A, this org has got you covered. Subscribe to their newsletter for frequent movie updates, and becoming a member gets you huge discounts and special movie access!
- Test Audience
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of several test screening experiences in LA. They’re unique, free and the ultimate bragging rights. I saw A24 movies BEFORE they were cool. Or even heard about, really. I wrote a more detailed article about how to secure your seat in a test audience, which you can read here!
- $5 Tuesdays at AMC
The only thing better than mouthing along to the poetry of Nicole Kidman’s iconic AMC commercial is doing so for $5. AMC lets its members see anything they want for a 75% discount on Tuesdays, and all you have to do is make an account on their website (completely free and painless). Compared to the typical $20 AMC ticket, this weekly discount is massive.
With the Hollywood sign guarding the Santa Monica mountains and movie sets on almost every street corner, LA is brimming with film potential. Even for us constantly stressed college students there are opportunities to sit back, relax and embrace the pleasures of cinema. The LA movie scene is like no place else.