How to get free tickets to advanced movie screenings

I love advance movie screenings!! Not only do you get to see the movie for FREE before most people, they can also be really fun when there’s a special screening and the cast or director is present for a Q&A. One time, I went to a screening for The Maze Runner and got to see Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, and Kaya Scodelario in person. Awesome.

While many advance screenings are exclusively for press, I’ve attended some free movie screenings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I continue to get invites or opportunities for several of them every month. I don’t usually go, since the scheduling doesn’t always work out for me, but if I wanted to I could see almost every new major movie release for free and in advance.

How do I get these invites? Well, it really comes down to getting involved in the local film community, or at least being in the know. If you’re interested in getting free tickets to movie screenings, I’ve got 5 ways you can score tickets.

How to get free tickets to advance movie screenings

1. Search

You can find screening info pretty easily just by searching Google. Try searching “_____ movie screenings” (insert your city and state). For example, when I search “Dallas movie screenings” I get several websites that list screening info for my area. There’s even a Twitter account I can follow for screening news. I also recommend searching directly on screening sites like Gofobo, Advance Screenings, and Get Screening.

2. Sign up for mailing lists

I get a ton of screening invites sent straight to my email, because of the mailing lists that I’m subscribed to. You can start by signing up for the mailing lists for your local movie theaters. Near me, I have several movie theaters that have screenings and events including Cinemark, Alamo Drafthouse, Studio Movie Grill, and more. If you live in a small town you may have to look to the nearest big city. Fandango also sends out movie screening invites.

You can also try joining a reward or loyalty program for your local movie theaters. When you sign up, make sure you provide your location info so that you can get the inside scoop. For example, Cinemark is a national chain but I receive emails from them every week about upcoming screenings in my area, all because I provided my location info.

3. Enter contests and giveaways

I’ve never personally won a contest or giveaway for a movie screening (because I never enter), but I know people who have. It’s pretty simple: look out for opportunities to win tickets to exclusive screenings from local TV and radio stations and PR companies.

4. Follow along on social media

I follow several movie studios, local PR companies, entertainment blogs, and industry people on Twitter and I often see screening announcements in my feed.

5. Network locally

Join a local movie club, organization, or meetup group to network with other film fans and be in the loop about upcoming events. Depending on the size of the group, they’ll often have exclusive screenings that you can attend as a member. If you get involved enough with the local film scene, you could end up receiving invites directly.

Some helpful tips:

Just a few helpful tips for getting tickets and attending screenings:

  • Follow instructions. Sometimes you’ll just need to print your email invite and bring it, but sometimes you’ll need to secure an actual ticket online first.
  • If you’re going to a screening where admission is not guaranteed, make sure you arrive EARLY and be prepared to wait in line!
  • Cell phones and mobile devices are not allowed at some screenings, so don’t be surprised if you can’t bring it in or if you have to turn it off and put it away in order to stay.

Have you ever been to a free movie screening?

This post has been edited and re-published.

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