Movie Gift Certificates

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Nearly all the major movie chains such as AMC, Loews, and United Artists offer gift certificates to their theaters all across the country. Moviegoers may order these passes as individual coupons or as books of two or more. These certificates may come as general admittance tickets that look just like box office-issued passes that are turned in at the theater, or they may come as plastic credit cards that carry balances.

One reason these coupons remain so popular is that the cinema business has grown more consolidated and, consequently, led to a proliferation of a few deep-pocketed chains. Those exhibitors who have managed to stay in business have done so primarily by expanding their holdings (and, of course, by raising ticket and concession stand prices). The positive side of this is that a handful of theaters now have nationwide reach. A Regal pass, for example, that's purchased in Florida also works in New York, Texas, and California as well.

There's No Accounting for Taste

Movie tastes are every bit as individual as food, clothing, and musical choices. A campy zombie flick may qualify as high art to some cinephiles while only subtitled black-and-white movies make the grade for others. Unless you're familiar with your recipients' pop-culture sensibilities, trying to predict titles they'll embrace can be a risky business. It's therefore best to skip the DVD you found on sale for $9.99 at Best Buy and give them something with greater flexibility instead.

One bonus of giving movie gift certificates as presents is that the holidays tend to bring out the best in first-run releases. The studios know that this is the time when families flock to theaters and spend their hard-earned dollars on entertainment. While you're always free to hold onto your passes for as long as you want (within the issuer's guidelines), there tend to be more choices around Christmas and New Year's than there are after the Academy Awards in March.

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