Santa Barbara
81° F
Santa Maria
78° F
San Luis Obispo
79° F
74° F

5 frugal ways to boost summer movie fun

By Robert Elsenpeter, Contributing writer
Published On: Jun 10 2011 02:26:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 07:37:05 AM CDT
Movie tickets, popcorn

iStock / YinYang

Summertime is when Hollywood hits us with its biggest and best movies -- at least the blockbuster special effects powerhouses.

Yes, with its rich history of giving us both barrels this time of year, summer has indeed become a time for movies.

But beyond just going to the movie theater, you can turn the act of going to a summer movie into an event in and of itself. The movie you see needn't be at the top of the summer movie charts.

You can do something very simple and easy, or you can make it an extravagant affair. There are a lot of ways you can make your summer movie viewing a memorable event. The important thing is that you make it a fun occasion for you, your family and friends.

Is movie fun on a budget even possible?

Movie ticket, money

No. 5: Go cheap

Going to the movies isn't cheap. By the time you pay $9 to get in and then get hit with another $15 for popcorn, candy and pop, you've already burned through your entertainment budget for the year.

But you can still get the theater experience without going broke.

Discount (or second-run) theaters can help you catch up on the world of cinema -- but to get that discount you usually have to wait a few weeks.

Normally, a movie gets shown at first-run theaters, where you pay big bucks to see it. But after it's had its run in "regular" theaters, it trickles down to the discount theaters where sometimes you only pay a dollar to see it.

If you're looking for quantity to your summer movies, discount theaters can help you get your fill.

What if it's too nice to go inside?

Movies in the park at Brooklyn Bridge

No. 4: Take in a movie in the park

Many cities and their parks departments have movies in the park.

True, it won't be the theater experience with 3D zombies coming through the screen or surround sound or any of the other technological bells and whistles that we get at the theater, but movies in the park give you a chance to watch an old favorite in a mellow, comfortable environment.

Plus, if the kids get bored, they can run off and start their own de facto soccer game in a nearby field.

The movie is usually shown on the side of a building or on a screen erected for the event. If you pay anything for it, it'll be cheap, but you can bring a cooler, throw down a blanket and enjoy an old classic.

But why even leave home?

Popcorn, DVD, home theater movie remote

No. 3: Theme a party around your movie

The great thing about technology these days is that more and more of us have kicked-up home theaters. Giant plasma TVs and Blu-ray players are pretty common, so why not invite your friends and family over for a party?

You can go all Martha Stewart and base a party theme on the movie you select -- dress up in your '60s or '70s finery, serve chocolates and shrimp and have a "Forrest Gump" party.

If you want to make your kids happy, get them dressed up as their favorite toy and have a "Toy Story" themed party.

If you were really adventurous, you could turn the themed party into a festival: Rather than just watch one movie, why not watch all the "Star Wars" movies? If you have some especially geeky friends, the costumes alone will be priceless.

Wanna go for a drive?

Drive-in movie theater

No. 2: Go to a drive-in movie

In the late 1950s, drive-in movie theaters were everywhere. But, so were guys putting grease in their hair and women wearing poodle skirts. While we don't need to bring back everything from the '50s, some of it is still fun.

They are few and far between, but if you look around, you might find a drive-in nearby. And if that's the case, you can put your friends in the car -- don't forget to sneak in a couple your smallest passengers in the trunk just for old time's sake -- load up a cooler and make tracks to the drive-in.

Need a break between any of the three movies? A lot of them have playgrounds for the kids (assuming they are still awake past the first movie) and their snack bars are nothing short of awesome.

Sounds good, but how can I save on gas?

Woman wearing 3-D movie glasses

No. 1: Create your own drive-in

Regrettably, not every park department is going to offer movies in the park, and drive-ins may not be an option. In that case, why not combine all these ideas -- drive-in, movie in the park and theme party -- into one and make your own?

If you own a video projector (or know someone who owns one), you can have your own hybrid party right on the side of your house. There are even companies that will rent you a projector.

Set up the projector, throw out blankets, fire up the grill, and have some sweet summer fun.

For instance, one film enthusiast with a freeway noise barrier wall behind his house broke out his video projector and showed Pink Floyd's "The Wall" on said wall.

You may have noise laws that you have to work within, but it can be a great way to get in some summer movie fun in a creative way.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Body of Isaiah Sanchez Recovered at Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Ellwood Fire

    Explosion at Goleta Apartment Complex Leaves One Man Hospitalized

    Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded to an explosion and fire at an apartment complex on 447 Ellwood Drive in Goleta.   Fire officials received the call at around 7:00 p.m. One person was injured and taken to the hospital with severe burns.  The apartment manager helped put out a small fire that broke out after the blast. The explosion and fire are still under investigation.  The fire did not spread to any adjoining apartments.

  • Santa Paula Reserve Police Officer Resigns After Posting Video About Bicyclists

    Volunteer posted a YouTube video joking about running over bicyclists.

  • dangerous dogs

    Orcutt Family Starts Petition to Change County Ordinance

    An Orcutt family is fighting to keep their dogs from being euthanized, and is now trying to change a county ordinance on aggressive dogs. The family has an online petition spreading their message on the internet in an effort to get the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's attention.

    Peggy Henning remembers the day her family welcomed Daisy and Duke into their family like it was yesterday.

    "They immediately just became part of the family," said Henning. "They were very friendly with all the guests we had coming over."

    But things changed when Daisy and Duke got loose. They liked chasing cats.

    "Dogs are pack animals and that is their default instinct," said Henning. "If they are bonded or litter mates, it intensifies that. They would get out of the confines of our house or yard and this instinct would come to the surface."

  • Juvenile Hall Court to Host Gang-related Murder Trial

    The so-called "U-Haul murder trial" is expected to be another high security, gang-related trial that requires extra time and money to make it work at the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall courtroom which is seen as the most practical venue.

  • inspection_report_public_health_notice

    Health Inspectors Look Into Restaurant Bug

    Old Town Mexican Café in Old Orcutt has never failed an inspection in the past according to the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services Department. On satruday several diners spotted bugs at the restaurant

  • Roundbout Giving Drivers in the Santa Ynez Valley a New Way Around

    An intersection that's become very busy because of its location near wine country and the Chumash Casino is now expected to be much safer.  The final phases of work on the roundabout in the Santa Ynez Valley are taking place.

  • JT Stone Will Serve as Interim Head Football Coach at Santa Barbara High School

    Stone has 14 years of coaching experience at the youth and high school level.

  • Slideshow: Rescue Crews Find Body In Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Slideshow: Blondes VS Brunettes Charity Football Game

    A charity football game at the Polo fields in Carpinteria pits the Blondes vs Brunettes. The all-women football teams duked it out on Saturday to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. Both teams fought fiercely but in the end, only one came out the victor.

    Photography by Oscar Flores.