Not everyone wants to–or can–spend the holidays next to a fire or gorging on fowl and carbs. Some people (read: us) see holidays as a chance to catch up on movies and gorge on popcorn and Starburst.
Luckily for those folks, there are a lot of good movies in theaters right now–and even more ways to see them. But going to the movies can be stressful. There are lines, jockeying for good seats, and the high prices of concessions to worry about with every trip to the multiplex.
With that in mind, we wanted to give you a few pointers for how to have the best day at the movies possible. Here are seven simple things you can do to make your movie marathon go smoothly.
Whether you’re sneaking out solo, or coercing your parents to see the new Jennifer Lawrence movie (a Watercutter family tradition since 2013!), it’s important that you have a game plan. Look at movie times, decide on your film(s) early, and make sure appropriate departure and arrival times are set.
Get Tickets Online
There are service fees involved, yes, but ordering tickets from Fandango or MovieTickets.com is the easiest way to make sure you get in to the show you want. Also, many theaters offer assigned seating, so you can find out if you’re going to be able to have optimal seating before you even decide to walk out the door.
Make Concession Concessions
Popcorn and sodas at multiplexes can be expensive. Hit up a drug store, bodega, or Target to grab a few snacks before heading to the theater. Your wallet will thank you, and if you stock up on healthy options (behold: fruit!), your body will too.
Go on Off Days
Lots of folks hit the movies on Christmas Day. Avoid them by going on New Year’s Day, or one of the other days in between the holidays. Seeing Passengers on a Tuesday afternoon is a much safer bet than trying to see it Christmas night.
Always Consider Matinees
Speaking of afternoons, don’t be afraid of matinees. They’re often cheaper–and easier to get into.
Give Indies a Chance
Is the Rogue One screening sold out? Don’t lose heart. There are a lot of great smaller movies in theaters right now. Might we suggest La La Land or Fences? You might be able to catch Loving or Moonlight as well.
When in Doubt, Go Art House
If you’re heading to the multiplex, you’re likely going to encounter large groups with kids. If a quieter, more low-key experience is more your speed, hit up a small independent theater. Alamo Drafthouse now has locations nationwide (and they serve food and booze!) and even if you’re not near one of those, there are plenty of art house theaters that would love to spend the holidays with you. Pay them a visit.