Going to the cinema: The impact on household budgets

Cinema expense refers to money spent on watching movies at multiplexes, independent cinemas, art house cinemas, or any of the major chains such as Cineworld, Everyman and Reel. Cinema expenses can also include live performances, operas, ballets, concerts and comedy shows.

Cinema expense in detail

In the UK, the average person goes to a cinema at least 2.5 times in a year. As per the cinema exhibitors' association limited, the average ticket price in the UK was £6.53 in 2013. This means a family of four spends around £65.3 on cinema each year (4 x 2.5 x average ticket price of £6.53).

Cinema Deals

It is a good idea to check online deals before visiting a cinema. The savings can help you cover the expenses on snacks and soft drinks. You can check cinema deals on sites such as Groupon, Money Saving Expert, and on the websites of the leading cinema chains.

Example 1:

As of September 2014, Odeon is offering a 40% discount on all tickets, including 3D movies, for a limited period. Note the discount is not applicable on live performances, special seats like its D-box seats and special screens such as IMAX and Odeon Senior screen.

Let's assume you live in Derby, and you want to watch the evening show of Guardians of the Galaxy on a Sunday. An adult ticket at Odeon Derby costs £8.60 and the ticket for a child under 12 costs £7.05. So if you want tickets for two adults and two children, the total cost will be £31.3. However, under the discounted scheme you can save £12.52, and have to pay only £18.78. Note you cannot get this discount if you want to opt for a family 2 ticket which costs £6.90 each for 2 adults and 2 children under 12.

Example 2:

Cineworld and Vue Cinema are offering special prices for kids during mornings of school holidays and weekends.

Cineworld is providing tickets at £1.50 per person for both kids and adults on select kids' movies or, as it calls, Movies for Juniors. These movies include the 3D comedy Free Birds, an animation movie Tinker Bell and The Pirate Fairy, and the Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent.

Under its Kids AM offer, Vue Cinema is offering tickets of some movies at £1.75 for both kids and adults. Movies include Maleficent, and Pudsey the Dog: Movie, which features Pudsey the dog, the 2012 winner of Britain's Got Talent. The list also includes the sci-fi adventure Earth to Echo, and the animation movie The House of Magic.

iCalculator Tip

While cinema used to be a relatively small expense, these days a family trip to the cinema can easily shoot past £50.00. It is worth making enquiries at your cinema to see what offers they have, many cinemas now offer films from as little as £1.00 at off peak times, typically Saturday and Sunday mornings. This can be a cheap way of entertaining the family, as long as you don't mind the early rise on the weekend. It is always good to keep a check on how much it is taking up from your household budget. You can check this with our household budget calculator.