Now that you’re all grown up and in college, your life is going to becoming a hectic, stressful, fun mess. Between parties you think you should be going to (you really shouldn’t unless you want to), 10-week terms, exams from week two to week nine and co-op stuff, it can all get a little overwhelming. One way to get away and let yourself relax if just for a little bit is to make an outing to one of the many movie theaters that Philadelphia has to offer. But movies are pricey, and when you add on popcorn, snacks and the rest of the accoutrements of a night out at the theater, it can add up. Here is a guide to most everything you need to know about the silver screen in Philadelphia.
First things first, where can you see movies? What kind of movies can you see there? Are there recliners? Is there food? Can I reserve a seat?
For the purpose of clarity, I’ll answer all these questions and break it up into a list:
University City Penn 6 — This Cinemark theater is the go-to for a lazy day or late-night plan. The theater is located on 40th and Walnut, just outside Penn’s campus, so it’s a quick walk for a usually wide variety of big box-office movies. In terms of discounts, if you expect to be going here a lot, it might be worth investing in the Cinemark Movie Club, which costs $8.99 a month. It provides one 2-D ticket per month, 20 percent off concessions and no online fees. It has discounted matinee and morning ticket prices as well, and every Tuesday is “Discount Day,” when tickets are $5.50 each. They also offer student discounts for students who bring their ID;s to the theater. No recliners but reserved seating.
AMC Broadstreet 7 / The PFS Theater at the Roxy / Prince Theater — These are the theaters scattered around Center City; if you’re planning a night at the Franklin Institute or El Vez, you can hop over to one of these theaters with ease and catch a bigger film. Each offers a unique experience though. The AMC is your classic big movie theater. It offers the AMC Stubs A-List program which costs $19.95 a month for three tickets a week, as well as the free AMC Stubs Insider program that gives you free refills on large popcorns and $5 Ticket Tuesdays. You can reserve and recline here. The PFS Roxy is the small independent Philadelphia Film Society that shows a mix of current films and does occasional screenings of older, classic titles. It also has BYO Nights every Wednesday. The Prince Theater, also a live entertainment venue, is a small theater that screens a mix of new and old films as well as a variety of special event screenings. There is a bar located in the lobby so you can kick back with a drink if you’re over 21. You can neither reserve nor recline at the PFS or Prince.
The Ritzs — Scattered throughout Old City are the three Landmark Ritz theaters: The Ritz East, The Ritz Bourse and the Ritz V. These are the go-to theaters for your indie movie needs. Each is slightly different but they offer a pretty uniform experience. These are some of my favorite theaters in the city because of the atmosphere of Old City and the intimate vibe of small theaters. Also, supporting smaller or independent movies is great! They offer a $7.75 ticket discount to students (with a valid ID) on Saturdays and holidays and offer e-ticketing with MoviePass, which I will get to soon.
UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17 RPX & IMAX / Studio Movie Grill Upper Darby — Last but not least we have these two maverick bad boys. I grouped these together because they’re both hikes to get to. The UA Riverview plaza is a Regal theater on the east side of the city. It offers the classic big theater experience but it’s a pain to get to. The Market- Frankford Line doesn’t run close to it and taking Ubers can add up. It’s a nice theater despite offering neither reserved seating or recliners. Regal also has its Crown club rewards membership that can be used at this theater. The Studio Movie Grill is a pretty great theater as well, despite the distance. If you ride the El all the way to 69th Street it’s just a two-block walk to the theater. It screens your typical big movies. The big thing that sets it apart is the bar and food service it offers. It offers a variety of grill and bar food, as well as drinks, to accompany your movie-going experience. It can make for a fun night out. The prices can add up with the food, but there is a $8.75 ticket for matinee showings.
On top of all that, I have one more recommendation: MoviePass. If you don’t already know, MoviePass is a card you can buy with a $9.95 monthly subscription that allows you to see three movies a month, with each additional ticket being discounted $5. It used to be a movie a day, every day, but the company was bleeding money so it was forced to switch up the business model. That said, three movies a month and the following discount still make it a deal worth getting in on, especially as a broke college student. All of the theaters listed above accept MoviePass and the Ritzs, as well as the Studio Movie Grill, offer e-ticketing so you can order your ticket before you arrive at the theater.
I hope this helps you on your journey to watch all the movies you possibly can by spending as little money as you possibly can. Enjoy the popcorn!