Here’s today’s word, and it’s a funny one: gofobo. (Try saying it five times, fast.) This movie-mad site offers access to free screenings, contests and events.
I’d been planning to write about free movies but my daughter beat me to it. Well, at least she got me off my dime. Which, of course, means saving you some dimes. Lots of them. I’ve paid as much as $10.25 for a matinee ticket in Seattle.
As Abby notes in the blog post linked above, gofobo is chronically last-minute; you might have 24 hours or less to respond.
“Still, what’s the worst that happens? You get an offer on a movie you can’t go to,” she writes. “I’d say that’s one of the smaller tragedies in life.”
About that $10.25 ticket: It was a business expense. Otherwise I would have used a freebie. Here are some other ways to get them.
Save those bottle caps
Tickets to AMC Theatres are among the premiums offered in the My Coke Rewards program. I’m lucky enough to live two blocks away from an AMC theater here in Seattle, and a short bus ride away from two others, including a Cinerama.
It costs 485 points to get a single AMC ticket plus a free fountain drink; for 900 points you’ll get two tickets and one fountain drink. Points are found on bottle caps and multipacks of Coke products, which include Minute Maid bottled juices, Powerade and flavored Dasani water.
(You also get 10 points for every new member you refer, so anyone who wants to sign up can feel free to e-mail me at SurvivingAndThriving@live.com.)
For more details on the MCR program – including tips on collecting extra points – see my previous post, “You just gonna toss that bottle cap?”
MyPoints, my tickets
I’m also a fan of MyPoints, a gift card rewards program that gives 5 to 25 points for clicking on e-mails, filling out surveys, signing up for online newsletters, joining book clubs or using services like discount airfare search engines. Buying from MyPoints partners can earn you hundreds of points per transaction.
One of the rewards offered is the Regal Entertainment Group, aka Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres and United Artists Theatres. Movie gift cards cost 1,550 points ($10 card), 3,600 points ($25) or 6,750 points ($50).
To increase your totals, go to the MyPoints home page and look for “Tell Us & Earn Points.” Each one-question survey gets you 5 points. The program also gives points for referrals, so feel free to e-mail me if you want to join. (After that, you can refer your own friends.)
A caveat: Start a new e-mail address for this, because there will be spam.
More freebie strategies
Some pharmacies (including those in supermarkets) give gift cards in exchange for transferring a prescription. Use it to buy a movie theater gift card in the “gift card mall” that just about every store has these days.
If your store doesn’t? Check out the secondary market. Probably someone wants to trade a movie card for your drugstore or supermarket model.
Those who live in or near metropolitan areas: Stay alert for advance screenings. Radio stations often partner with movie studios to stir up pre-release buzz. Two alternative newspapers here in Seattle, The Stranger and the Seattle Weekly, regularly run ads for free screenings. Watch for ads in your own area newspapers, both alternative and mainstream.
Free screenings may beget more free screenings. One Seattle publicist sends e-mail invitations to those who match a particular demographic (e.g., librarians and English teachers for literary films). Another one has a screening “club” that offers free passes to fans, but only if they use them; after three no-shows, you’re kicked off the list.
Although I like the idea of a film club, I’m usually too busy to commit myself to regular attendance. For true cinephiles, regular attendance sounds like heaven. Those of you who are somewhere in between should begin saving rewards points, listening to the radio and reading the paper.
I’ve had great luck in particular with getting those newspaper tickets, incidentally. In recent memory, the only one I sent away for and didn’t get was for a screening of the first “Sex and the City” movie. I wound up seeing it anyway, though, with a My Coke Rewards freebie. I certainly wouldn’t have paid $10.25.