Thursday, May 19, 2011

Free Movies!

People always seem to think that in order to have a good time, you have to spend money.  The more money you spend, the more fun you will have.  I think exactly the opposite.  I get a kick out of spending next to nothing for my fun.  If you think about it, it makes everything, even the less fun stuff, more fun because it didn't cost you anything!

Take movies for example.  Would you have fun if you spent $12 ($25 if you got popcorn and sodas) for a mediocre movie?  No.  You'd be upset that you spent so much and didn't get an adequate FROI (Fun Return On Investment).  Now if you went to see that same mediocre movie for free, would you be upset?  Of course not!  Because you had a fun, free evening with your friends and now you have a laughably bad movie to make fun of!  See how not spending money automatically makes everything more fun?

Did you know that you can get free tickets to many upcoming movies?

I stumbled upon a website called not too long ago.  Their sole purpose is to give out free tickets to advance screenings of movies that are about to be released.  Their services are nationwide, so punch in your zip code and see if there are any free screenings near you!

Here's my first experience with GOFOBO:

I picked up a pair of free tickets for a movie called "The Losers" via GOFOBO after googling the phrase "free movies" (yes, I blatantly search for freebies).  I left earlier than I normally would for a movie to fight my way from the South Bay to Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  As we got closer to Hollywood Blvd, traffic started getting really bad.  "Why is there so much traffic on a Tuesday evening?!  I bet there's a stupid movie premiere that's blocking the road!" I exclaimed to my girlfriend, upset that we might miss the movie after having driven all this way.

We eventually made it into the Hollywood & Highland parking structure and started Olympic speed-walking to the movie theater.  As we came up to the theater box office, another barrier (literally) was placed in front of me as the entire sidewalk was closed for a movie premiere!  I found a security person and politely informed him that I was trying to attend a screening for "The Losers".  He looked at my ticket and told me to line up on the other side of Hollywood Blvd.  "That's weird," I thought to myself, "Why go through all the trouble to make the line on the other side of the street for a simple movie?"

As my girlfriend and I navigated through the sea of celebrity gawkers, I sneaked peaks between people's heads to see which movie was having a premiere on the same night that I was trying to enjoy a free movie. (Ugh! How rude!)  I managed to catch a glimpse of some posters for "The Losers" on the red carpet.  "How cool," I said to my girlfriend, "we're watching the movie on the same night as the premiere, in the same building."  (Feel free to sigh, shake your head and/or laugh here)

We finally made it to the opposite corner of the street, traded in our printed paper tickets for some postcard sized tickets, and were quickly ushered back across the street, right past the red carpet.  Of course I took the opportunity to snap a quick picture with my cell phone of Zoe Saldana, whose star was still hot having just come off of "Avatar".  We continued to be herded into the main lobby of the theater.  We were then told to grab a large bag of popcorn, a soda of our choice and find our seats quickly.  "Wait a minute, free snacks?  What's happening here?" I asked my girlfriend, "Are we attending the actual premiere of 'The Losers'?"  "Looks like it," she replied, as we both looked at our ultra casual clothes against a backdrop of suits and evening dresses.

We found our seats in the main theater and started to watch the celebrities and studio execs pour into the theater.  The movie started right away without any trailers and it hit me:  I'd just attended my first Hollywood movie premiere!

I always thought that the movie premieres were only for celebrities and movie studio people.  It turns out that 50% of the people at ALL movie premieres are just seat fillers, having gotten free tickets from a place like

While GOFOBO is a great resource, there is a slight catch:  you're not the only one that knows about the website.  The free tickets that are offered are usually snatched up within the hour, if not sooner, depending on how popular the movie is.  If you're lucky enough to get a ticket, it's still a first come, first served scenario.  The ticket recommends showing up 30 minutes before the show time, but I've found that in order to guarantee you'll get into the screening, you need to show up 1.5 to 2 hours ahead of time.  Yes, there are some hardcore movie goers that will show up 4 hours ahead of time, but I've found that 1.5 hours is about the maximum time that most people are willing to wait for a free movie.  Just make sure you show up before the masses.

So there you go!  Go out and enjoy some free movies!  Free makes everything more fun!  Now if I could only figure out how to not pay rent...

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