Some theaters show upcoming movies to preview audiences before general release for research or promotional purposes, especially in big cities. Finding out about these screenings takes some sleuthing, but the effort can pay off in free movies, according to Janet Alvarez, a movie fan in Long Beach, Calif., who frequently attends free screenings and concerts throughout the Los Angeles area.
The secret to finding out about these events is signing up for email alerts and newsletters from local theater chains, newspapers and event websites, Alvarez says.
There are some caveats. You'll need to fill out the forms properly to indicate which lists you want to join, exercise due diligence in quickly reading and responding to alerts and show up at venues at least one to two hours early because screening passes typically don't guarantee a seat but operate on a first-in-line, first-seated basis.
Alvarez says some local shopping malls, beach communities and public libraries offer free movie screenings during the summer months. Look for fliers, websites, newsletters and email alerts to find out about these events. The movies shown typically are not current releases but rather popular favorites. Again, seats may be limited.