With the rise of Paramount theatres and movie ticket prices, finding cheap places and ways to see films is important.

I was a student at Carleton University in Ottawa and the first film I saw at a second-run theatre was Kafka. The theatre experience was just as thrilling as the first time I went to see Star Wars. The screen was huge, the seats were plush and comfortable and the popcorn had real butter. The film was cheap, much cheaper than I would have paid to view it at Cineplex Odeon or Paramount.

I live in Toronto where there are many second-run theatres to choose from. I saw the 2004 Oscar award-winning Million Dollar Baby at the Revue theatre for $3 CDN. Can you believe it? It was $3. It’s true.

Even at some of the mainstream cinemas are trying to make sure that they can compete with the second-run theatres. Paramount is now the price of inexpensive monthly website hosting. Rainbow Cinemas is the price of a small plant. Catching matinees are always a great way to reduce on the cost of a film.

Festivals are a good way to see the kind of films you won’t see commercials about on TV. One time when I was in Ottawa, I saw a great film at the Museum of Civilization called Jit. It was an African movie that inspired me to change my hairstyle at the time.

As well, shops from different ethnicities are a great way to see films from all around the world. Many of these films are dubbed and sold and you can get them at good prices. Yes, you’re not supposed to do it – but many, many, many, many people do.

In terms of buying and renting films, well just about everyone under the sun knows that Blockbuster has no late fees anymore. This doesn’t mean you keep a film as long as you want; of course you need to read the fine print. However, it does mean you can enjoy a film for a longer period of time.

Blockbuster also sells second-hand DVDs. My old friend Greg was kind enough to buy Sideways for me for $10 CDN.

There are also many second-hand entertainment stores like CD Replay in Toronto which sells second-hand DVDs. Garage sales are great ways to pick up VHS if you’re one of the dinosaurs like me that still has a VCR machine.

If you’re one of those people who truly enjoy the Paramount experience, and I don’t blame you, bring your own crunchies and chewables. Many times the big cost happens at the concession stand and you can save a lot by brown bagging your food experience at the movies.

Enjoy your film, and remember to turn off anything audio-visual.

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