“When I was a kid, a ticket to the movies cost only ... [insert small amount of money].” So goes the familiar tale told by grandparents to kids the world over.
The reason movie ticket prices are used to benchmark how much times have changed is because a trip to the movie theater continues to be a treat after so many decades — a timeless outing in the always-changing world of entertainment.
Despite the allure of video games and the latest social media app, sitting in the dark, air-conditioned cave of a movie theater has never gone out of style. This summer, you and your family can once again enjoy this big-screen tradition, at some very retro prices.
One note: Do carefully confirm on each theater’s website the time and ticket price for the movie you want to see and buy your tickets online.
Regal Summer Movie Express, various Puget Sound locations: $2 morning matinees
Regal Entertainment Group runs a weekday family matinee series all summer long, taking place locally June 20–Sept. 6 in 2023. Tickets cost $2 for select showings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The same movies will play at all participating locations in the Puget Sound area, which include Regal theaters in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Tukwila, Lynnwood, Issaquah, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Lakewood and other locations. Note: Check the Regal website for exact dates and locations; some Regal theaters in the area do not participate in Summer Movie Express.
Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse, Kirkland and Olympia: $1.50 morning matinees
The Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse series consists of a different G- or PG-rated movie showing each week for eight weeks. Tickets cost $1.50 for adults and children, and can be purchased online, in advance. The two participating theaters in our area are Cinemark Totem Lake and Century Olympia. As an added bonus, get $1 off kids’ snack packs or any size popcorn and drink combos during Summer Movie Clubhouse showtimes. Showings are Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
Details: Cinemark Totem Lake, 12600 120th Ave NE, Kirkland; 425-821-0511. Century Olympia, 625 Black Lake Blvd. S.W., Olympia; 360-943-0769
North Bend Theatre summer matinees, North Bend: free
North Bend Theatre and Si View Metro Parks partner up to offer free summer matinees for kids each week of summer break, Wednesday–Friday at noon, June 28–Aug. 25. Check the website for series schedule and show times.
Details: 125 Bendigo Blvd. N., North Bend; 425-888-1232
Blue Mouse Theatre, Tacoma: $6 Monday screenings; $6–$8 matinees
A century-old independent movie theater, the Blue Mouse has appealing prices all the time, but particularly on Mondays, with a bargain deal of only $6 per ticket. Matinee tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children. Evening showings still offer a pretty good deal — $10 tickets for adults and $8 tickets for kids. Showings are Friday through Sunday and Monday evenings at 7 p.m., and matinees are on Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Blue Mouse plays a mix of family, art-house, independent and mainstream movies, so check the listings online before you go.
Details: 2611 N. Proctor St., Tacoma; 253-752-9500
Crest Cinema Center, Shoreline: $6 Tuesday screenings; $9 afternoon matinees
Shoreline’s beloved discount theater now offers a mix of first-run features, independent films and world cinema. All showings on Tuesday are a mere $6. Regular matinees, which are midday showings Wednesday through Monday, are $9. Evening tickets are $9 for kids and $11–$12 for adults (weekends cost more). Check the schedule and book tickets online. (Bonus for adults: The Crest serves beer and wine.)
Details: 16505 5th Ave. N.E., Shoreline; 206-363-6339
Majestic Bay Theatres, Seattle: $6 Tuesday screenings
Ballard’s longtime neighborhood movie house continues its $6 Tuesdays special, where tickets for all screenings and all ages cost just $6.
Details: 2044 N.W. Market St., Seattle; 206-781-2229
The Edmonds Theater, Edmonds: $7 matinees and children’s tickets
While it’s a tad pricier than other bargains on this list, the independent Edmonds Theater — in a restored vintage building — plays first-run movies on its single screen for less than you’ll pay at the cineplex. Matinees are $7. For evening showings, general admission is $9; children ages 11 and younger pay $7.
Details: 415 Main St., Edmonds. 425-778-4554 (showtimes); 425-672-9366 (office)
Ark Lodge Cinema, Seattle: $10 for matinees
This one is also not a huge saving over regular multi-plex prices, but it’s a bit less expensive and you get to support Columbia City’s vintage independent theater. Rates are for both adults and children and are $12 in the evening. Seniors rates run a dollar less. Ark Lodge is currently screening movies Thursday through Sunday. Book tickets online, and note that kids and teens under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Details: 4816 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; 206-972-4763
More ways to enjoy family movies
Editor’s note: This article was originally published several years ago and updated most recently for 2023.