So first things first, let’s discuss what the dictionary defines a matinee as, just so that we are all on the same page.
A matinee is a performance in a theater or a showing of a movie that takes place in the daytime. Now daytime is a little bit subjective.
You could open your eyes from a long night’s sleep and argue it’s daytime. You could be up for several hours and sit down for lunch and say that it’s daytime.
You may even argue that any time before dark is daytime. So when exactly do these matinee shows take place? That’s what we will discuss in this article.
Throughout this article, we’ll take a look at movie theatre matinee times for several different theaters, as well as discuss the history of the matinee and much more.
So without further ado, let’s jump straight into it.
So what are movie matinee times? Why are they in place? What’s their purpose?
Essentially, movie matinee times are put in place in movie theaters to encourage visitors to come to the movie theatre more regularly.
Particularly, throughout off-peak times. You’ll usually notice that these times are during what you would expect to be the quietest time for the theaters.
They tend to be between 9 am-12 pm or 3.30 pm – 6 pm. So the times when people are usually at work or school.
Or the times when people are returning from work and school.
Offering movies with matinee showings, that are usually much cheaper than peak movie times, are usually done with the intention of increasing their customer base and thus their revenues.
People aren’t visiting much at a particular time, and so deals and promotions for those times are introduced to entice you in.
Matinee times are consistently used by many different cinema chains throughout the US.
The advantage of this is that it allows movie lovers who may not regularly be able to afford to go, to be able to see their favorite movies.
The disadvantage is that there isn’t a standardized time throughout the chains and so these ‘discount’ times will vary from theater to theater.
Please be aware that these are general guidelines, you should always double-check with the theater before purchasing your tickets.
- AMC – 12:00 pm – 3:55 pm
- Cinemark – 11:00 am – 3:50 pm
- Carmike – 12:00 pm – 3:55pm
- Harkins – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Regal – 11:00am – 4:00 pm
Matinee Movie History
So where did matinee movies originate from? The French, we believe. Matinee has french origins.
The French word for Matin translates to morning while Matinee translates to morning performance.
As is often the case with languages, this word has then been adopted into the English language with a new transformed, although fairly similar, meaning.
Now, in the USA, if you were to hear this word you’d probably automatically think about an afternoon or daytime performance at either the cinema, theater, or broadway.
However, back in the 1930s -1960s in France, it always referred to their ultimate pastime – the Opera.
You know how when you go to a concert there is usually a warm-up act that comes on first to stir up the crowd and gets you stimulated and hyped for the main event?
Well, the exact same thing would happen at the Opera. Before the Opera would begin, they would show movies to liven up the crowd.
These movies would often star devilishly handsome men which is where the term matinee idol comes from.
So these pre-Opera movies are where the term for matinee movies comes from.
So next time you go to a matinee showing, impress your friends with your new-found knowledge.
Surprisingly though, matinee times are not really used universally around the world.
It’s really only the United States and Canada that refers to these discounted movie times as matinee movie times.
Most other countries just refer to them as discounted times such as early-bird tickets or morning tickets.
Though I suppose the intention, to draw in customers at off-peak times, remains the same.
When Are Matinee Times?
As is highlighted in the table above, most matinee movie times are between early morning and mid-afternoon.
This can vary slightly depending on the movie theater, some start their matinee times much earlier while others will extend them further into the early evening.
Above, I detailed some of the more popular theater chains and when their matinee times tend to be, but of course, I cannot detail every theater.
There are thousands upon thousands of movie theaters across the United States, and it simply wouldn’t be possible to document all of their matinee times.
If you need to find the times for a particular movie theater, it’s not difficult to find this information.
You can usually check online and most discount options will be highlighted on the website, or alternatively, you can contact the theater and ask for their matinee times.
Which Tickets Are Discounted For Matinee?
Typically, you’ll find that it is only general admission tickets or adult tickets that receive any discount during the cinema’s matinee hours.
This is because child tickets, senior tickets, and student and military tickets are already discounted, and movie theaters already make more money off concessions than they do their tickets.
Essentially, only these tickets are discounted because they are the only tickets the theater can afford to discount.
Again, this can sometimes change from theater to theater so you are always best checking the policy of the theater you are attending to ensure that the tickets will be at your expected budget.
So, from this article, you should have now learned that matinee movie times are basically just discounted movie tickets at particular times.
You should now be well aware of when those times are – typically between 11 am – 4 pm.
You should also know which tickets are discounted during these times as well as some history on how matinee movies came to be.
Please keep in mind that each and every theater will be slightly different, so you may need to double-check the prices and times of your local theater.
But now that you know, it’s time to go!
Grab yourself a big tub of popcorn with the money that you’ve saved on that daytime ticket, settle down, and get ready to be completely immersed in a whole new world.
Whichever movie you go to see, enjoy!
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post, ‘List Of IMAX Theatres In The US‘.