See Future Movies for Free!

By Chris Dato  •  September 30, 2014

Going to the movies is a pastime as American as baseball or apple pie. However, the increasingly absurd ticket price at movie theaters has somewhat tarnished it’s nostalgic Americana. Combine that with the ever growing number of available alternatives such as streaming or downloading, and it is easy to see why the current generation feels less compelled by the draw of the multiplex than its predecessors. Still, they offer a uniquely immersive movie going experience that is impossible to duplicate at home.  So how can you enjoy the engaging, cinematic atmosphere of the theater without going broke? My recommendation: Free Movie Screenings!


Movie studios always need test audiences to screen upcoming movies, and provide feedback. Your feedback is so valuable to them, in fact, that they are willing to let you see the movie for free in exchange for it! You just need to know where to look. coordinates the screenings for most upcoming major motion pictures. To find a screening, go to and enter your zip code for a list of scheduled screenings in your area. Some screenings are open invitation, for which all you have to do is register. Others require an RSVP code, which you can get by signing up for the websites email list. Otherwise, these RSVP codes are given out by local newspapers, radio stations, and at college campuses.


The Screening Exchange and See It First are two other great resources for finding out about upcoming test screening in your area. To use these services, you have to go to the website and register. You will be asked for some basic demographic information, as well as about your specific taste in movies. The company then adds your information to their database, and sends you screening invitations via email based on your locations and movie preferences. Unlike however, these sites do not give you the ability to browse through a schedule of upcoming screenings.


If you are worried about finding out where and when screenings are being held, we have got you covered. Sites like and lets you search for screenings in your area by zip code. Keep in mind that while screenings take place all over the country, they tend to happen more in major cities, since they represent a larger test market.


For those of you who are local to Southern California, there are also resources that will provide you with information on screenings in Los Angeles. These sites, like and, are more likely to have screenings for smaller, independent movies.


At the end, you will be asked to fill out a brief comment card about your thoughts on the movie. Some projects will even offer you a pass for another free movie for your participation. That means two movies for the price of none! Every invitation gives you the option of adding a guest as well, so keep these in mind when you are planning an evening with your significant other. Movie screenings are a unique spin on a classic date outing. Plus, you will earn points when your date is bragging to her friends that you took her to see a movie that won’t be out for months. Keep in mind that seating (even after you RSVP) is first come and limited, so getting there early is a good idea. Check out this article for more tips for having a classy date on the cheap.


As a complete mediaphile, this tip is one that I use all of the time. Even if you are not someone who sees the merit in viewing a movie as it was intended to be viewed, going to a screening is a unique and worthwhile experience. 


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Chris Dato Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'

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