Reminder: Discount movie tickets through Rec

Above:  Discount tickets to the movies are sold by Southborough Recreation. The “unrestricted tickets” can offer savings, but pay attention to theater details before you decide if they are right for you or as gifts.

Maybe you’re psyched to see the new Star Wars movie or another December release. Or maybe you’re planning on giving out movie tickets for Christmas presents. Either way, you should keep in mind that our Town offers a way to pick tickets up at a discount.

Southborough Recreation sells discount tickets to AMC Theater and Regal Cinemas. Each is available for $10.50

To buy tickets, head over to the Rec Dept anytime between 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Thursday or 8:30 am – 12:30 pm on Friday. (And bring cash or your checkbook.) The department’s office is located in the South Union Building at 21 Highland Street.

But first, you should decide which, or if either, makes sense for you. I was “analyzing” the tickets for my own uses. So, I’ll  share my learnings with you.

Both are marketed as having “no restrictions”, and that’s mostly true, with a few caveats. These tickets are good for opening weeks of Star Wars and other big films – even though the theaters state “no passes”. (I checked directly with the chains to make sure. The “unrestricted tickets” aren’t treated as passes.)

The only movies you can’t use them for are special events (e.g., AMC Opening “Fan Events”, double features, and marathons). For either chain ticket holders can see regular/digital movies for free. But, moviegoers will be charged the difference if they want to upgrade to 3D screenings.

Here are the main differences between the chain choices. (The most important takeaway is that the tickets for AMC aren’t always a discount.)

Regal Cinemas

The nearyby Regal is at Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough. (The Westborough site closed this fall.*) There are also locations in Bellingham and many other locales across the state and country.

At the Marlborough location, the discount tickets can shave $3.20 off regular adult admission. But they probably aren’t worth the hassle for children, seniors, or matinees. Kids and seniors regular tickets only cost 20 cents more, any time of day. And its only a 70 cent savings off adult admission to a matinee (any show starting before 4:00 pm).

AMC Theaters

The nearby AMC is in Framingham, near the Natick border, with many other locations around the state and country.

For AMC, you’re probably better off buying a gift card from the chain than getting the Gold tickets sold by Rec.

The ticket option is dicey if you are giving them as gifts and more expensive than some admission prices. But, depending on how you plan to use them, you could scrape some savings from them. 

Unlike Regal, AMC offers specific seat reservations in advance online in many theaters, including Framingham. Local moviegoers tend to select their seats in advance at that theater – sometimes by days. The website doesn’t appear to offer a way to use discount tickets for the advanced online purchases. (AMC gift cards can be used.)

So if ticket holders show up to a semi-popular movie on the weekend, even well before it starts, they might not be able to get seats together. And no one wants to sit halfway across the theater from their date or their kids. (Well, maybe some parents kind-of-wish they could sit across the theater from their kids. But they’d probably prefer it to be at their option instead of forced!) 

And even if you do get seats together, you might get a crick in your neck when you’re forced to sit right in front of the screen.

But if you are going to see movies that have been out for a while, or at less popular showing times, you might be able to save by using them.

To help you decide, here is what AMC is currently charging for 2D admissions in Framingham:

  • Morning matinees (starting before noon) – all ages $6.29
  • Children (ages 2-12) admission to afternoon and night screenings – $9.49
  • Early afternoon matinees (starting noon – before 4:00 pm) – seniors $9.49 and adults $10.99
  • Evening screenings (4:00 pm and later) – seniors $10.99 and $12.49

*The sudden closing of Regal Westborough is actually a fascinating story. The theater didn’t close to cut losses. The landlord/owner of the $9.3 million property at the intersection of routes 9 and 135 apparently vanished, making it impossible for the movie chain to renew its lease. You can read about it through Westborough Wicked Local here.



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