Drive-ins and Second-run Theaters
Back in the 1970s, most towns had at least one drive-in theater; bigger cities boasted several. You'd buy your ticket, "drive in" to a marked parking spot, clip an audio speaker to your car window and kick back in your car to enjoy the show.
Today, there are still a few of these Americana treasures left. Some drive-ins dedicate themselves to showing B-Movie classics. Others show popular movies a month or two after they're released in first-run theaters. Ticket prices at large drive-in theaters can still be pretty pricy (tickets to the Starlight Six in Atlanta, Ga., for example, run about $7 for adults), but most drive-ins offer coupons, substantial discounts for kids and family fun nights when tickets are priced lower. Visit sites like DriveIns.com, DriveInMovie.com and CinemaTreasures.org to find a drive-in near you.
CinemaTreasures.org is also building a comprehensive list of second-run theaters. These theaters (sometimes called "dollar theaters") are usually smaller and somewhat humbler than modern multiplexes. They generally show a mix of art house films, cult classics and month-old first-run films. Companies like Cinemark, who operate theaters like the Dollar Cinema in Corpus Christi, TX, also offer value specials, including discounts for seniors, students, the military and families.
We have one more trick up our sleeve. Find out how to see movies on the big screen for free next.