Movie tickets - like gas, food, rent, etc. - used to be reasonably priced. While NATO (the other one -- National Association of Theater Owners) thinks the average price for a movie ticket is $6.88, the reality is they are a heck of a lot closer to $12. And for an assistant in Hollywood, that's equal to an hour of browbeating because you couldn't get your boss rezzies at Newsroom Cafe ("I don't care if they've been closed by the health department!! Just get me in there!!").
But this is the industry we've chosen. So if you want to research what's selling, get inspired to write your screenplay or find out what you missed at the premiere you coordinated (but weren't invited to), here's some ways to see new releases on the cheap:
Weekend Matinee (AMC Theaters and probably others) -- Get rid of that hangover while watching a "pre-noon" flick for the retro price of $6. For extra fun, wear parachute pants and pretend it's 1985 all over again.
TIP: This is when families take their kids to movies, so be smart and watch something rated R. It'll be a lot quieter.
Test Screenings -- Do you like talking to marketing execs? Wanna see a movie before they've tacked on the "Hollywood ending?" Then this might be the thing for you. Sure the movie might not be in its final form, but it's either that or pay full price. And when you're done filling out the evaluation forms, you and your friends can wonder if the marketing guys will be too chicken to tell the producers that you think the film sucked. Sign up at http://www.movie-view.com/
DVD Pirates (Various Street Corners) -- Love new movies but hate movie theaters? Then get yourself a pirated copy of new releases like Sex and the City, Indiana Jones 4 or Hancock. Just look for the over-sized rug and a man with a backpack; that's where you'll find every blockbuster from Summer 2008. If you're having trouble finding a vendor, follow the scent of fried hot dogs wrapped in bacon. The DVDs are at the next "storefront."
Note: The video might be interrupted when the person holding the Handi-cam has to go to the bathroom.
Studio Lots (All the majors) -- Step #1 - Get a temp gig at a studio. Step #2 - Make friends with someone who can get you into a studio screening. Step #3 - Go to the screening. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds. Heck, if the anti-social Temp X can get invites to screenings of The Simpsons, Jackass 2 and Reno 911 -- anyone can do it. Movies are free, parking is easy and there aren't any previews. Cinematic nirvana.
Theater Hopping (Various Locations) -- Oh the conundrum! You've got $12 in your pocket and have a Sophie's Choice of Space Chimps or Meet Dave. Well get to your favorite multiplex where you can have your metaphor and eat it too with 2 for 1 pricing. Just don't get caught, or they'll have you cleaning up theaters the rest of the day.